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The Busy Body

13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

A star-studded comedy classic! Screen legend Sid Caesar teams up with Robert Ryan and the beautiful Anne Baxter in this fast paced, laugh-a-minute farce. Caesar is a bumbling gopher to a mob boss who must recover a fortune in cash stowed in the suit of a corpse! Directed by master showman William Castle, and featuring the first big screen performance of the late, great Richard Pryor.

Review

On some weekend nights in my youth, or on some lazy afternoons, I'd flip through the television channels on my family's 13-inch Sears television. Under the guise of "the late movie," or "the million dollar movie," movies shown during those channel surfing days and nights were usually not very good. And yet there was something kind of fun about watching obscure flicks. I don't remember seeing Sid Ceaser in the William Castle movie, The Busy Body (1967), but it certainly qualifies as a candidate for those "million dollar movies."

Director William Castle helmed this production. He was most known for his showmanship on the cheap during the 1950s and 1960s. He directed The House on Haunted Hill (1959), and The Tingler (1960). The latter gave select audience members an electric shock whenever the tingler showed up on screen. He also directed 13 Ghosts (1960). Some of Castle's films were remade in recent years with poor results. Bigger budgets and hipper attitudes usually don't make up for the cheap charm of Castle's movies.

The Busy Body looks like it's a bigger budget film for Castle, and an attempt to break into mainstream studio filmmaking. Having Sid Caeser, Dom DeLuise, Ann Baxter, Robert Ryan, and a young Richard Pryor aboard, you'd think that Castle would pull off a pretty good production. The production isn't too bad, and the acting and direction aren't too bad. With a stronger script, Castle and Co. might've had a farce on-par with many of the era's comedy movies. Unfortunately, the movie falls pretty flat.

The plot involves a mama's boy (Sid Caeser) who's promoted by mob boss, Robert Ryan. In a plot that's surprisingly convoluted, Ceaser finds himself in a murder whodunit. What is admirable about the production is that most of the actors give 100% to their roles. The plot and dialogue are rickety, and the cinematography is brightly lit (like many films of the day), but at least the actors seem like they're having a good time.

Watching The Busy Body isn't torture by any means. If you were around when television stations ran movies like this, you might appreciate the innocence and goofy nature of the movie. --Bill Kallay of FromScripttoDVD.com


Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Sid Caesar, Richard Pryor, Anne Baxter, Kay Medford, Jan Murray
  • Directors: William Castle
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Legend Films
  • DVD Release Date: July 1, 2008
  • Run Time: 102 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0019UGYAA
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #81,544 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Busy Body" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By John Lazar on September 4, 2008
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Despite his dazzling comedic gifts, Sid Caesar never had much luck trying to make the leap from television (where he shone brilliantly) to the big screen. THE BUSY BODY is a typical example of his cinematic output. One of the basic problems with the film is the character Caesar plays -- namely, he barely has a character to play. He simply portrays a hapless schmuck who finds himself in one tight spot after another. The whole thing might have worked better if the lead character was a wisecracking coward like Bob Hope or a nervous bungler like Don Knotts. (In fact, with a music score by Vic Mizzy, THE BUSY BODY is, conceptually, a Knotts vehicle.) But poor Sid is trapped in a bland, ill-defined role that squanders nearly every opportunity to put Caesar's flair for mimicry and pantomime or his sharp ear for dialect to good use.

While there are some amusing set pieces, director William Castle -- the genial schlockmeister who conceived publicity gimmicks such as "Emergo" (HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL) and "Percepto" (THE TINGLER) -- was hardly the ideal candidate to helm a comedy, even one with morbid overtones. (Castle's "straight" horror films are funnier than his comedies.) THE BUSY BODY is paced so s-l-o-w-l-y that you forget this is supposed to be humorous. The film fails to achieve the sort of brisk momentum that's crucial to this kind of "wacky" farce.

Taking a cue from IT'S A MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD WORLD (which Caesar appeared in), the supporting cast is loaded with funny folks: Richard Pryor (his film debut), Kay Medford, Dom DeLuise, Godfrey Cambridge, Marty Ingels, Jan Murray, Ben Blue (who appeared with Caesar in MAD MAD WORLD), Bill Dana, George Jessel, Mickey Deems. Unfortunately, just like Caesar, they're saddled with weak material. Arlene Golonka (MAYBERRY R.F.D.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By WriterGirl VINE VOICE on August 23, 2008
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I agree with the first reviewer. It isn't the funniest mob film, but it is fun. William Castle's primary goal for all his films is to provide entertainment and he succeeds in this one. The variety and diversity of the cast keeps the film going and the ending is stronger than one would suspect. I love Dom DeLuise and Robert Ryan. Richard Pryor demonstrates his comedic acting ability from the get-go. Arlene Golonka is a sexy deviation from her good girl character during her Andy of Mayberry days. Ann Baxter hangs in there as a wannabee sex kitten with a whip. I wasn't that crazy about Sid Ceaser's character, having seen him in It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. Overall, it's a good buy and worth adding to your personal library.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By anonymous on August 29, 2008
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
this isnt the funniest thing sid caesar was ever in. compared to comedies today, this classic gem deserves a place in
the laughing lounge.without giving away too much, its basically a chase case.with cash in question. mistaken identities and items and such not where they are suppose to be.
. this is a collection of comics of the day togather for one movie. not as many as in its a mad mad mad mad mad world but a few that were. the star comic sid caesar of course in his second feature that year. jan murray bill dana godfrey cambridge dom deluise george jessel marty ingels ben blue and richard pryor. sounds like a friars roast. and two great actresses very adapt to comedy arlene golonka
and kay medford, who plays a movie mother like no other.
to balance out the bananas are heavyweights robert ryan and anne baxter. another star of the film is heard and not scene. that is the score by the composer vic mizzy. his bouncy background music just adds to the fun. released in 1967 it may seem a little dated. but then when was slapstick ever not funny because of a timeframe.
this is a great little movie to relax by laugh by remember when by. and to see all those people togather is worth a buy
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The Busy Body isn't the funniest mystery-comedy but it has a lot of twists in it to keep it interesting. With some great music by Vic Mizzy (who did the theme to the Addams Family as well as many of Don Knotts films) and the first appearance of Richard Pryor in a film, this zany film will keep you entertained. The film was directed by William Castle who was known for some of his horror movies - the original 13 Ghosts and the original House on Haunted Hill with Vincent Price.
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By Al Gatti on December 27, 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
One of the better comedies out of the 60's. Lots of great comics and a funny plot. Enjoyed every minute of it. It is in my top 100 movie list. Wish you would come out with 'Fluffy' with Tony Randal, another great comedy of the 70's.
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By D. Pedersen on June 23, 2014
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Very funny. Lots of great old actors. First had it on video tape. Bought DVD to avoid having to convert to digital. Typical 70's comedy.
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A better William Castle / Sid Caesar Comedy, Seldom sean on TV but well worth buying if you like William Castle or Funny movies.
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