This wacky comedy classic directed by Stanley Kramer features one of the largest collections of American comedians ever brought together on celluloid, resulting in the kind of far-out comic gem that only the 1960s could dish out. Filled with sharp one-liners, plenty of pratfalls and double takes, and unstoppable slapstick humor, this film never stops entertaining. The laughs come mostly from vehicle accidents of all kinds: car crashes, bike accidents, airplane failures, and almost everything else imaginable. But a good amount of humor is also lent to major wrestling matches, terrible mix-ups and misunderstandings, and increasingly absurd personalities such as Mrs. Marcus (Ethel Merman), the screeching and impossible mother-in-law. The film even laughs at itself, showing its flimsy cardboard sets as characters punch out walls or accidentally explode whole boxes of dynamite. The cast includes such favorites as Jonathan Winters, Phil Silvers, Milton Berle, Buddy Hackett, Mickey Rooney, Sid Caesar, Spencer Tracey, Terry-Thomas, and Dick Shawn, among countless others. Brilliantly simple, the plot concerns a caravan of motorists who witness a terrible accident on a dangerously windy California highway. The auto-crash victim (Jimmy Durante) reveals in his dying words that he has hidden a fortune of stolen cash, sending the drivers on a rambunctious race to see who can claim the loot first!
Main Cast & Crew:
Stanley Kramer - Director
- Format: DVD (AFI art)
- Run Time: 175
- Color Format: Color
- UPC: 027616902740
- Genre: Comedy
- Rating: G (MPAA) (General audiences)
- Release Date: September 2001
Theatrical Release: November 7, 1963. Jerry Lewis reportedly called director Stanley Kramer and asked why he wasn't cast in the film, and Kramer in turn gave him a cameo. Cameo appearances are also made by The Three Stooges and Jack Benny, among other popular comic personalities of the time. Directing a raucous comedy was a big departure for Stanley Kramer who was known for dramas like TO SIR WITH LOVE, INHERIT THE WIND, and GUESS WHO'S COMING TO DINNER? The film is loved for its tongue-in-cheek humor such as a scene right at the start where Jimmy Durante dies while kicking a bucket. The DVD includes 30 minutes of extra material including outtakes and deleted scenes, as well as the theatrical trailer.
"...[An] all-star epic....The film is also one of the zippiest of its length ever made..." - 09/21/2001 USA Today, p.5E
"The sheer magnitude of the project lends it momentum, though, and there are enough giddy highs that it’s had a strong cult following ever since its release in 1963." - 01/22/2014 A.V. Club
"The first film shot in the single-strip Ultra Panavision format, MAD WORLD echoes the episodic travelogue structure that the film historian John Belton sees as inherent to Cinerama." - 02/06/2014 New York Times