The Great Race
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134 of 145 people found the following review helpful
on June 6, 2002
The DVD version of "The Great Race" is long overdue. It's silly and fun; reunites Lemmon & Curtis; it's an homage to all the great slapstick that EVERYONE loves. What's wrong with having fun? I truly believe that Blake Edwards deserves more consideration that he's been given. Anyone remember "Operation Petticoat" or "The Pink Panther"? We're talking about a career of almost 50 years...and Hollywood doesn't take him seriously. Anyone remember "Victor/Victoria" or "That's Life"? How about "Breakfast at Tiffany's"? These are all films that are respected and admired, but Edwards seems to be on the back-burner when awards are handed out. It's a shame; Edwards has given us no more than pure entertainment, well-presented. His most nominated film is "The Great Race", so purely devoted to period detail, though it received no Oscar nominations for sets or costumes (it was nominated for Cinematography, Sound, Music, Song, Editing, and won for Sound Effects). Indeed, Mancini's score was gorgeous; the song, "The Sweetheart Tree" has become a standard/classic. The Oscar should have gone to Peter Falk. I saw this as a kid in its initial release, and, when I told my friends how much I liked it, my teenage peers told me how shallow I was, that I should see "The Pawnbroker" or "Ship of Fools". Well, for God's sake, I was a kid (and I did see and admire those films) but the pure, grand display of craziness that Blake Edwards presented to me has never been forgotten. I've gotten older, and have been subjected to a whole bunch of stuff in the meantime, and I've waited for the DVD release of "The Great Race". Let's not forget that Blake Edwards also directed "The Days of Wine and Roses" and "Experiment in Terror". He is not frivolous nor is he simple. He does crazy comedy as well as riveting drama. His comedies are wonderful, but none as totally overwhelming and enjoyable as "The Great Race". See and enjoy!!
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72 of 76 people found the following review helpful
THE GREAT RACE is a lavishly-filmed comedy on the grandest scale. Director Blake Edwards' unmistakeable touch is all over this sprawling comedy about a long-winded race from New York to Paris, and is highlighted by Henry Mancini's delightful score.
The Great Leslie (Tony Curtis) and Professor Fate (Jack Lemmon) challenge each other to win 'the great race', a foolish flight of fancy that will take them through the Wild West, fighting off polar bears in the Artic and thwarting Royal imposters in Europe.
Coming along for the ride is feisty sufragette Maggie DuBois (Natalie Wood at her loveliest), and Fate's dimwitted assistant Max (Peter Falk). Watch the hopeless quartet as they attempt to win the greatest race of the century - with hilarious results!
Featuring Vivian Vance and Dorothy Provine (as the sexy saloon singer Lily Olay). Henry Mancini's score includes "The Sweetheart Tree" and "He Shouldn't-a, Hadn't-a, Oughn't-a Swang on Me".
The DVD presents the film in a wonderfully clean print, in its 2:35:1 cinema ratio, complete with the Overture, Intermission and Exit Music sequences. The soundtrack has been newly-remastered in dynamic 5.1 from the original session tapes.
The DVD also includes a Making-of featurette and the trailer. (Single-sided, dual-layer disc).
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43 of 44 people found the following review helpful
on September 3, 2000
Like many of the reviewers, I first saw this great film as a child with my father. We have laughed about it ever since, and my own children also know that "Fate is a fink!" The movie spoofs the old Simon Legree silent movies and combines hilarious slapstick, outrageous sight gags, the historic 1908 New York to Paris automobile race (Remember the Thomas Flyer?), incredible round the world locations, an Old West saloon fight, great old cars and props, priceless performances by Jack Lemmon (sans frozen moustache), Tony Curtis (great swordplay but, alas, no Cary Grant impersonation), Peter Falk (hilarious in goggles) and the exquisite Natalie Wood (under the Sweetheart Tree). And don't forget the sendup of the Prisoner of Zenda with the fantastic Ross Martin who was then also starring as Artemus Gordon in the Wild, Wild West television series with Robert Conrad. The music by Henry Mancini is among his best, and the soundtrack is recently available. Even the opening credits are classic, including the harried projectionist and the audience booing Professor Fate! This could be an awesome widescreen DVD with plenty of saloon fight, sword duel and pie fight outtakes; current interviews with Curtis, Lemmon, and Falk; Blake Edwards commentary;...and please, a few more stills of Natalie Wood!
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55 of 61 people found the following review helpful
on June 6, 2002
A lot of people were waiting with anticipation for the release of The Great Race on DVD. This is a very funny classic movie! The new print is GREAT!But Warner has made a huge mistake on this DVD.The problem, and it is a major one, is with the new Dolby Digital soundtrack. In some scenes in the beginning of the movie the dialogue is barely audible. And during the opening credits when everyone boos Professor Fate and cheers The Great Leslie, someone switched it to everyone cheering the villain and booing the hero. The French audio track has the original soundtrack which correctly has the boos for Fate and cheers for Leslie.This is a MAJOR mistake! Warner should recall this DVD and restore the soundtrack to the way it is supposed to be. For fans of this movie, it ruins what would otherwise be a great DVD.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on June 6, 2002
Blake Edwards "The Great Race" (1965)(was loosely based on a real 1908 auto race) is 160 minutes of WideScreen (Enhanced for WideScreen TV's) TECHNICOLOR action packed comedy staged in the 1908 world of the automobile race.
The major difference is this race is 20,000 miles in length orignating in New York City to Paris, France. The main characters & arch enemies are "The Great Leslie" (Tony Curtis) dressed always in white, driving the "Leslie Special". This customized automobile is also white!!!. His nemesis rival "Professor Fate" (Jack Lemmon) dressed entirely in black!! His auto is the "Hannible 8" also in black. The love interest & newspaper suffragette (Natalie Wood) provides the balance to this diabolical race.
This movie builds all the characters perfectly & include all of the necessary gimmicks throughout to include; a massive Western barroom brawl, elaborate Royal Ball, swash buckling sword fight, a Royal Prince coupe attempt & a 2357 pie fight to name a few.
The extras include a 45 minute behind the scenes featurette.
The picture 2001 digital transfer & the 5.1 dolby sound are the best there is!!! This movie is a true family film and is one of the all time most lavish, funniest, wildest comedies ever (If not the last from the great Warner Brothers Hollywood productions). The movie even has entrance, intermission and exit music to give the old flavor of the big Hollywood films.
This movie was dedicated to the greatest Hollywood comedy team (30 years together and 105 films) "Mr. Laurel and Mr. Hardy
Get out the popcorn and sit back & enjoy "The Great Race". Enjoy.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on March 3, 2002
This has to be one of the all time classic comedies -- chock full of yocks. The Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon, Natalie Wood combination is a real treat which stands the test of time and is as fresh today as when it was first released.

Set in the early 20th century, the flick concerns an ongoing competion of two dare-devils who continuously try to top the charts. Tony Curtis is 'The Great Leslie', who always wears white, is superbly competent in every thing he tries, and who's shining white teeth sparkle in the sun.

Jack Lemmon portrays the dastardly 'Professor Fate', who is always trying to top (or undermine) the stunts of the Great Leslie ... and who's efforts usually wind up in a farmer's mud pond with his side kick, Max (Peter Falk). "Well, there's another one the Great Leslie can try on for size! ** collapses **"

Natalie Wood is Maggie DuBois, an attractive cigar smoking suffrogette whose goal in life is to free women of 'the drugery of being either servants or saints'. "Out of the laundry rooms and off the pedestals!"

After a number of short skits where we are introduced to the players (and the hilarious results), the three become contestants in a vintage car race from New York to Paris via Alaska. One situation after another develops leaving us laughing as Professor Fate tries to win the race his way -- by cheating.

Situations develop in the American West, Alaska, the Bering Sea, Russia, Middle Europe and finally Paris -- and the pie fight has to be on of the best I've ever seen. Timing and situation development is perfect here.

The ending comes as a surprise (sort of) so I won't ruin it here -- see the movie.

This film will make a great addition to your growing library and is suitable for viewing (and enjoyable) by all ages. It's not a terribly deep movie, but it is very, very entertaining as a number of plots develop at the same time.

I haven't seen the DVD yet (as it's not yet released) but look forward to owning it. I do have the VHS version and am wearing it out thru use.

Get it. Enjoy it. "Push the button, Max!"

** Highly Recommended **

~P~
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on May 22, 2002
I have been waiting for this movie to come out on DVD. I've even written to Blake Edwards asking, "What is the hold up?"
Get ready, citizens of Boracho! Finally it's coming out!
Every time I saw Jack Lemmon in interviews I was always curious and disappointed that 'The Great Race' was never mentioned among his favorite films. Of course he made many other wonderful classic movies and I enjoyed his performance in all of them...but 'The Great Race' has been my favorite comedy for a long time. I practically can recite it along with the characters. I enjoyed some of the other reviewer's (here) favorite lines from the movie. They are my favorites too.
If you haven't seen this movie or if you haven't seen it in a long time...do yourself a favor and grab it. The laughs never stop. The casting is perfect...Tony Curtis with Keenan Wynn as his sidekick...Jack Lemmon with Peter Falk as his...Natalie Wood...Ross Martin...Vivian Vance...Larry Storch ("Now will you give me some fightin' room?!")...and many others. It doesn't get any better or funnier than this.
Hurray for the DVD. Believe me, you'll enjoy it.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on October 6, 2000
I first saw this movie in a theater as a teen with several friends. We all laughed until our sides ached. During the following few days I took everyone in my family to see it. To this day it is a favorite of all of us.
This isn't a smart or sophisticated film, but rather a slapstick romp of epic proportions. It's loaded with sight gags and funny lines and you have to keep your eyes and ears open to catch it all.
Curtis, Lemmon and Wood are excellent as the classic hero, villain, and damsel in (not so much) distress, but perhaps the most notable contributions come from some of the other players. Most notable in this regard is Peter Falk, who is outstanding as Professor Fate's (Lemmon) assistant, Max.
The beginning sets the tone. The Great Leslie (Curtis) and Fate are arch rivals, and they don't much like each other, either. Of course Fate always comes out on the short end of everything. Enter Wood as "emancipated" Maggie DuBois (the setting is the beginning of the 20th century) and the race is on.
Though it is long, the movie has lots of great sequences. The opening exhibitions by Leslie and Fate, the beginning of the race(where Max has sabotaged other cars), the saloon fight in Boracho, floating on the iceberg, the duel, and the pie fight, just to mention some of them.
Invite some friends, make lots of popcorn, slide this video into your VCR and start it up. It may be a bit corny (that's sort of the idea), but if you don't find yourself laughing out loud, your funnybone's out of whack.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on October 22, 2002
The main reason I watched the Great Race is because it had Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis in it, who starred in my favorite movie, Some Like It Hot. It also sounded like a pretty good film, so I decided to rent it. It's one of the best movies I've ever seen!
Jack Lemmon stars as Professor Fate and Tony Curtis portrays the Great Leslie, two daredevils in 1908, who enter a race to go from New York to Paris. Maggie DuBois [Natalie Wood] is a reporter/suffragette, who enters the contest herself so she can cover the race and prove that a woman can do a man's job. Peter Falk is excellent as Fate's sidekick, Max and it was also nice to see Vivian Vance, who plays Hester Goodbody.
It's wonderful to finally see this movie on DVD. The behind-the-scenes documentary is really good, plus the clarity and sound are both very clear.
The Great Race is a hilarious, slapstick comedy that everybody should see!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on March 20, 2006
And there is a reason why. In the ever growing rush to "push the envelope" and "narrow cast" a demographic, most of today's comedic directors either try to out gross their audiences or create pieces so targeted there is no appeal to the public in general.

"The Great Race" along with "It's A Mad Mad Mad Mad World", "Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines" and others from their time remind us how great comedic writing used to be.

Right from the beginning, the character establishment vignettes set the tone for the classic conflict of good and evil between Tony Curtis' "The Great Leslie" and Jack Lemon's "Professor Fate". The movie is a non-stop comedy that has some of the finest moments in comedic film. Featuring wonderful appearances by such character actors as Arthur O'Connel, Vivian Vance, Larry Storch, and Ross Martin (as the unforgettable Baron Rolfe von Stuppe); the Great Race still holds up well after 40 years.

For no other reason, buy this DVD to see THE greatest pie fight ever to be caught on celluloid.
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