Monday, April 20, 2009

it's a mad mad mad mad blog post

Director Stanley Kramer set out to make an epic comedy. It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963) was released in a time when Hollywood was in competition with television. Epic movies were all the rage in the sixties - big movies with big sound with a big cast. This movie casted dozens of well know comedic actors with plenty of quick cameos by a dozen other comedians. If you liked the movie Rat Race - you'll like this old show. It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World was made with the intention of luring people away from their televisions sets and back into the cinemas.

Brook had seen this movie before I did. I guess he wanted to share the experience with someone - so he took his little brother down to the Pitman Theater to watch it again. He excited me prior to going and on the way down there by recounting scenes from the movie. Back in the day, the Pitman theater would bring popular movies back to show over and over again. Ten Commandments and Gone With The Wind were two of the movies that I remember returning annually to the big screen. It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World was a movie that the Pitman would often resurrect. I guess Brook took me to see the movie in 68 or 69. I think I was ten or eleven years old at the time.

It was a long movie. Stanley Kramer cut the movie down from his five hours running time to 192 minutes for the premiere release. Unknown to Kramer - United Artist studio execs hacked the film down to 162 minutes in order to get more showings within a day. Some of the footage has been found but much was lost. Most of the found footage has been added but not all of the found footage has been properly restored. There are several versions and lengths out there.

Stanley Kramer before his death approved of the production of a sequel to his original. Sid Caesar and Johnathan Winter's have been rumored to make an appearance. The basic concept of the new movie is that the original fortune found and lost was counterfeit. Who knows if this is going to be good or not. There are not that many great comedies out there today - most are disappointing. Not many remakes of original classic are worth the ticket. I know - I will probably go and see it nevertheless.
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