It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World Movie Review Summary

Actors: Spencer Tracy, Milton Berle, Sid Caesar, Buddy Hackett, Ethel Merman, Mickey Rooney

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World

A speeding car careens off a mountainous California highway, fatally injuring the driver. When a random group of people stop to help, the man (a gangster played by Jimmy Durante) tells them he was on his way to dig up a lot of stolen money he had hidden. He reveals where it is and then dies. Soon everyone is gripped by greed. They travel frantically by any means possible (cars, a plane, even by bicycle) to the cache site, sabotaging each other at every opportunity.
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Meanwhile, Police Captain Culpeper (Tracy) had been tracking the crook, though for himself, not the police department. Feeling unappreciated and nearing retirement, he has decided to take the money for himself.

Eventually, they (and some others who learn about the money along the way) all converge on the site. When they find the suitcase containing the cash, Culpeper steps in, identifies himself and confiscates it. He drives away, but the others figure out they have been conned. They take off after him, and another madcap chase ensues. Many of them end up in the hospital. The whole lot, including Culpeper, are arrested.
Best part of story, including ending: While it has a huge all-star cast, I'm not a big fan of slapstick-style humor.

Best scene in story: The single-handed demolition of a brand new gas station by an enraged Lennie (Winters) is a masterpiece of destruction.

Opinion about the main character: It's really an ensemble film. Culpeper doesn't have as much to do as the other characters, so he didn't make a big impression on me.

The review of this Movie prepared by J. Lee a Level 10 Peregrine Falcon scholar

About ten or twelve people see acar crash happen. The man in the car crash is on the brink of death and then tells them where they can find $30,000. And so the chase begins. And on the way they pickup a couple of "friends". Everyone wants that money for themselves!
The review of this Movie prepared by Cal Tormey

Fresh out of prison after serving a long sentence, Smiler Grogan (Jimmy Durante) races at high speed toward a California park where he hid $350,000 in loot from a job 15 years before. Unfortunately, his vehicle careens over a cliff and his dying words -- overheard by the occupants of four different cars who show up to help -- are that the money is hidden below a giant "W" in Santa Rosita, some 200 miles away. A short discussion reveals that none of the bystanders is willing to split the dough, and the race is on! Some borrow a plane, others suffer busted tires, a plunge into deep water, a drunken millionaire, a little girl's bicycle, a mother-in-law from hell and her imbecile son, and many other tools and impediments on the way to the big prize. This film is what they used to call "madcap" -- with almost nonstop car stunts, sight gags, and stupid jokes. Apart from the luminaries mentioned above, the cast includes Dick Shawn, Phil Silvers, Terry-Thomas, Jonathan Winters, Edie Adams, Jim Backus, Joe E. Brown, Peter Falk, Norman Fell, Stan Freburg, Buster Keaton, Sterling Holloway, Edward Everett Horton, Don Knotts, Zasu Pitts, Carl Reiner, Arnold Stang, the Three Stooges, and (uncredited!) Jack Benny, Jerry Lewis, and Doodles Weaver. At 161 minutes, it's a bit long for a comedy (the director's cut was rumored to be 5-1/2 hours!), and it's not very deep, but this 1963 show is a real hoot.
The review of this Movie prepared by David Loftus

Script Analysis of It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World

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Plot & Themes

Comedy, primarily    -   Yes Time/era of movie:    -   1960's-1970's Comedy or Parody about    -   road trip

Main Character

Identity:    -   Male Age:    -   60's-90's Ethnicity/Nationality    -   White American


United States    -   Yes The US:    -   West    -   California City?    -   Yes

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