July 15, 2011
by EH Staff
Our Friends over at Home Theater Forum are just mad over the new Blu-ray relase of “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.” Here’s some of what Matt Hough says:
“Bigger isn’t necessarily better” so the old saying goes, but in the case of Stanley Kramer’s It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, bigger is just fine and dandy. In terms of its scale, the number of stars, its epic length, and its uncanny ability to sustain the madcap farce for almost three hours, the film outstrips other big budget comedies like The Great Race, Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines, and 1941 and leaves them in the dust (though I have always been rather partial to The Great Race in a head-to-head competition for sheer belly laughs). Kramer’s nutty comedy may not be the wittiest or subtlest movie ever made, but it’s a deeply funny, genuinely riotous movie that has easily stood the test of time.
On the story and effects quality:
The script by William and Tania Rose contains only a fair degree of wit but an ample supply of slapstick farce, and the demands for death-defying stunt work especially on the roads and in the skies of California simply defy rational explanation. Among the chaotic highlights of the film are Jonathan Winters’ astounding destruction of a roadside gas station (with a terrified Marvin Kaplan and Arnold Stang helplessly trying to stay alive), Sid Caesar and Edie Adams’ lengthy series of maneuvers (involving fire extinguishers, blow torches, hundreds of cans of paint, and several sticks of dynamite) to escape from the locked basement of a hardware store, Mickey Rooney and Buddy Hackett’s frantic attempts to land an out-of-control prop plane with no flying experience (cue the billboard they fly through and Paul Ford who goes plummeting head-over-heels from the tower as they buzz past), and the series of pratfalls Ethel Merman (as the champion shrewish mother-in-law of all time) and her body double take throughout the film always to howlingly funny effect.
On the video quality:
Sharpness is stunning throughout, and color is deeply and richly saturated, so much so that everyone seems to be sporting a deep tan (just take a glance as those lush reds in Mickey Rooney’s sweater or Dick Shawn’s swim trunks). Details in facial features have rarely been so keenly delivered to a home theater audience.
To read the complete review including comments on the audio quality and bonus material, go here to Home Theater Forum.