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mad world : greatest comedy ?


qmuddy2
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It's certainly an ambitious comedy, and one I have seen many times, especially when I was younger, but I wouldn't call it the greatest comedy.  As the OP pointed out, such things are a matter of taste.

I do recall that my father got a really big kick out of the automobiles going faster than the airplane.  😀

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For reasons I do not know--AT ALL--a culturally-amnesiac Millennial generation on the YouTube Reactor-verse has latched onto IAM4W as "hilarious" because, like, things get wrecked, and stars show up.  Lord help us, they also labor under the similar delusion that Tom Hanks in "The Money Pit" is funny for the exact same reason.  (Or, as I like to put it, "The Money Pit is the Lockdown version of IAM4W, where Hanks has to stay home and wreck his own house."

It is worth noting, however, that not all first-time viewers are immediately captivated by the charms of Sid Caesar and Ethel Merman:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ASH39dHFx-0

As for those who take the But, Like, Stars argument, the work continues to rehabilitate these poor cases, by trying to get them to watch Around the World in 80 Days (1956)  and look for all the star cameos there.  (And you have to specify the date, otherwise they go out and watch that dopey Disney version with Jackie Chan.)

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I'm Going to take the diplomatic (and possibly illegal) route and say Yes and No.

While there might be others for sure; offhand I can Only thing of Four Comedic Geniuses who were not (able to be) in this Humour Infested Film. (One of Which, Ernie Kovacs; Horrifically and Very Sadly Passed in an Auto Accident Before Filming Started.) The Others - Noticeably Sans from this Comedy Epic Are Red Skeleton, Tim Conway, Mel Brooks, Dom Deluise, and Martha Raye.

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I love It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. For me, it is The Greatest Comedy, but not because of the number of stars in it. It's the humor, plain and simple -- consummately delivered by pros -- that slays me.

I don't know the production history of IAMMMMW and why some popular comedians -- past and contemporary -- are not in it. To wit, where are:

Lucille Ball
Carol Burnett
George Burns
Charlie Chaplin
Imogene Coca
Wally Cox
Jackie Gleason
Bob Hope
Leo Gorcey has a cameo. But where is Huntz Hall?
Harold Lloyd
Groucho and Harpo Marx
Martha Raye
Soupy Sales
Red Skelton
Peter Sellers
Dick Van Dyke
Bert Wheeler

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38 minutes ago, Eucalpytus P. Millstone said:

I love It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. For me, it is The Greatest Comedy, but not because of the number of stars in it. It's the humor, plain and simple -- consummately delivered by pros -- that slays me.

I don't know the production history of IAMMMMW and why some popular comedians -- past and contemporary -- are not in it. To wit, where are:

It's the whole arguments of "But, it's got like, driving, and chaos in it!", and "Every star who was anyone was in it!" that makes me call IAM4W "the Cannonball Run of the 60's".  I challenge all comers to present a persuasive argument that it isn't. 

(And, to equivalently paraphrase Roger Ebert's famous comment on the Cannonball Run films:  Read my lips--It is not funny when a house falls in.  It is not funny when pilots have trouble with an airplane.  It is not funny when cars race on a desert highway.  It is not funny when people slip on something and end up in traction...)

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Whooo, greatest comedy EVER? That's a bold statement for any comedy. American humor has gotten significantly more sophisticated through the generations. I can be amused at some old comedies, but never do actually make me laugh. The older the comedy movie, the more "clown-like" the comedy. Clowns aren't scary, but they're not funny. There was a reason Americans laughed at France declaring Jerry Lewis a genius. He was considered quite funny in his day, but his humor is quite basic. By the time France made their declaration about him, the American audience had demanded more out their comedy. Slapstick tends to appeal to the lowest common denominator, while the high brow comedy relies almost solely on wit. We/I have moved much closer to the wit than the slapstick. The older the movie, the more exaggerated the situations, both physically & vocally, because it seems they didn't believe the audience had any patience or the intellect for subtlety. Culturally, maybe they weren't ready. I watch those shorts on do's & don't's with the "funny voiced" narrator (couldn't find his name), and I think to myself, "Is that what passed for humor back in the day?"

All that said, Mad World probably doesn't break my Top 50.

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I've always liked IAMMMMW, but have always thought it relied much too heavily on physical/slapstick comedy to get its laughs.

And so to state MY opinion of the "greatest" film comedy ever here, I'll go with what the people at the AFI have stated they think has been the "greatest" comedy for at least two decades now...Some Like It Hot

(...and perhaps followed by A Night at the OperaDr. Strangelove and The Apartment as my own secondary picks, and although knowing the last one here is more of the "bittersweet" variety than of the pure farcical kind as are the others)

 

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17 minutes ago, Eucalpytus P. Millstone said:

There ain't no such animal!

Comedy is strictly subjective. What's funny to you might not be funny to someone else.

Thus, qmuddy2's question is pointless . . . other than to spark similarly pointless discussion and debate.

Agreed, as it is with all movie genres, beauty, food, etc

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I saw Mad World when it came out, at the Warner Cinerama in NYC. I found it pretty dull. I was very young, perhaps it was too sophisticated for me. I remember wondering why it needed to be made in Cinerama, since it didn't compare in scope to  How the West Was Won, which I had seen the year before, at the Loew's Cinerama a few blocks away.

 

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Well, EricJ, let me offer this in friendly rebuttal.  My son is 29 years old, and  I guess that he falls into the rough categorization of millennial  -- though I think he denies it.  Anyway, he grew up watching old movies with his mother and me, all while we tried to instill in him an appreciation and gratitude for things that came before us.  For the most part, he has shown that our efforts were not in vain.

Once we asked him what his favorite movie was -- this was quite a few years back, mind you.  Well, he surprised us when he said "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World."  Why, we wondered.  He really liked the dialog, and to this day he quotes almost every line from the movie.  He loves Buddy Hackett, Jimmy Durante (Smiler Grogan), Spencer Tracy, and "The Old Bag" -- Ethel Merman.  Not to mention the rest of the cast.

We even once had a priest mention the movie in a homily, saying that younger people no longer know it.  We spoke with him after Mass, and he was delighted to learn that IAMMMMW is our son's favorite movie -- and our son was with us at the time to confirm it!  

No age is completely dark.  There is always light somewhere.  And it will always be so.  Be not afraid.

Brian

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1 hour ago, Swithin said:

I saw Mad World when it came out, at the Warner Cinerama in NYC. I found it pretty dull. I was very young, perhaps it was too sophisticated for me.

LOL

Excuse me for laughin' at this comment of yours here Swithin, but the reason I AM is because THIS might be the very FIRST time I've EVER heard the word "sophisticated" applied to the movie It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World!  

(...and so in essence Swithin ol' boy, what you're sayin' here is that it would be a few more years down the road before you'd really get into those Noel Coward drawing-room comedies then, right?!.. AND which was probably just about the SAME time you began spelling certain words in the Language with that OH so unnecessary letter 'u', RIGHT?!) ;)

LOL 

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