Quick Hit: Featuring nearly every famous comedian of the times, this movie is one of the best comedies ever made.
Cinema has slowly moved away from being an “experience”. I don’t mean that harshly – I love watching quick, hard hitting movies in the comfort of my own home on the comfort of my own couch. But the long, three hour films that used to play on 70 mm film (like today’s IMAX) are rare today. We have lost a bit of the magic there, so it’s so great when you see a movie that captures that.
If anything, this movie brings you back to that time. The movie is so extremely full. It seems to have every famous comedian I could think of – even having a cameo by the three Stooges at one point. And accordingly, the movie is really, really funny. It’s full of slapstick, physical comedic humor, but there is also a ton of dialogue delivered and driven humor as well.
The plot is fairly simple – a man being chased by the cops goes off a cliff (as they do). Strangers come to help the man, and with his dying words he reveals the location of $350,000. After a brief discussion on how they would split the money (which is really funny and completely led by Sid Caesar), they all try to beat the others there. This involves cars, tow trucks, bicycles, and of course, planes. The characters are constantly running into problems, because, let’s be real, this is a comedy of the greatest sort. Along with this, they are consistently teaming up and splitting up, as this movie is based upon greed and greed alone.
All the different stars are terrific. Jonathan Winters stars as a lovable truck driver who you just want to succeed, and was the true stand out for me (though Mickey Rooney and Buddy Hackett make for a really good team). There is one scene where he just obliterates a gas station. I mean that literally – in a fight with the two attendants, everything becomes a weapon. Winters literally is punching through walls and diving through them as well. In the end, the gas station falls down upon itself. So great.
One of the really underrated things about this movie is just how well everything flows. The cars often move next to each other in tandem, so that the whole thing looks like a dance. Couple that with the fact that the stunts are terrific, and you get a visual quality to the movie that is rare for a film from the sixties. It’s said that at the time, there were only about 100 stunt performers working in Hollywood. This movie employed over 80 of them. So the grand magnitude of the film is always being realized on screen with the sheer action and movement.
In the end, everyone gets what they deserve, and the movie ends in the same gales of laughter that the film started with. It’s a really good movie, and one of comedies classics. I’m giving it an “A”.
For more on this movie check out IMDB.
For more like this, check out:
Little Shop of Horrors
"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy"