Sunday, December 11, 2016

It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963)

It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963)

This is one of my favorite films, and to me the funnest movie ever made. I saw this film when it first came out at the Sheridan Theater in Miami Beach on January 18, 1964. This was a big thrill for me at 11 years old. The Cinerama screen was huge. I remember how people in the theater laughed it was so funny.   

The film is about Smiler Grogan, played by Jimmy Duranty, who hid $350,000. Driving at a high speed he careens over a cliff in view of people who go down to save him. The dying Grogan tells them the money is buried under a big W. This starts a crazy chase to find the big W and get the cash. 

After adjusting for inflation the $350,000 dollar booty would today be worth $3,000,000. This was the film debut of Jonathan Winters, and one of the best parts in the film is when he destroys a gas station. During the filming of the gas station scene Winters was accidentally left on stage and completely bound in tape. Hours later when the cast returned from lunch, they found him still tied up unable to get loose. 

When this film was made, there were about 100 stunt performers in the US. About 80 of them appeared or worked in this film. The film had a cast that was right out of cinema comedy history. Spencer Tracy, Milton Berle, Cid Caesar, Buddy Hackett, Ethel Merman,  Mickey Rooney, Phil Silvers, and Jonathan Winters just to name part of the cast. Buster Keaton had a small but very funny role. Please enjoy the three movie trailers below.

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