Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum [Blu-ray]
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The widescreen format lets you see pratfalls and edge-of-scene antics that are missing in the pan and scan version. Zero Mostel was a comic genius; it's a pity that he didn't leave us more movies to enjoy. Michael Hordern is superb as Senex, as are Jack Gilford and Phil Silvers as Hysterium and Lycus. When I was a child I didn't enjoy the musical numbers, I remember fast- forwarding through to get back to the comedy. I now appreciate the songs as well; they are genuinely funny and full of double-entendres that you have to hear repeatedly to fully enjoy. The entire movie, despite its classical setting, has a swinging-sixties feel that you'll have to watch a Rat Pack film to match. You almost expect Frank Sinatra to walk into a scene, singing a song in between drags on his cigarette.
The DVD transfer is crisp and colorful with very clear audio - way better than the version shown on TCM. Artifacting is barely existent. The transfer is anamorphic widescreen though the description provided by Amazon does not note this.
For a good, though bawdy, burlesque played broadly and strictly for laughs, you can't go wrong.
That song pretty effectively sums up what to expect in this not-terribly-faithful adaptation of Stephen Sondheim's stage musical -- a complicated tangle of wacky antics, silly acting and mass confusion. It has some rough patches such as the sometimes nausea-inducing cinematography, but Zero Mostel steals the entire movie with sweaty, crazy-eyed abandon that it's impossible not to laugh your head off.
Cunning slave Pseudolus (Mostel) is always trying to get enough money to buy his freedom. When his dim master Hero (Michael Crawford) falls in love with a virginal courtesan named Philia (Annette Andre) in the house next door, Pseudolus sees the perfect opportunity. And by glorious chance, Hero's parents -- the appropriately-named Domina (Patricia Jessel) and henpecked Senex (Michael Hordern) -- are off on a visit to her mother.
But oh woe! It turns out that Philia is already sold to the bombastically boastful Roman captain Miles Gloriosus (Leon Greene). So Pseudolus tricks the slave merchant Marcus Lycus (Phil Silvers) into thinking Philia has the smiling plague, and he and Hero start gathering the ingredients for a potion so the lovers can elope.
But things inevitably get wacky when various people converge on the area -- deaths are faked, identities are mistaken, suicides are threatened, drag is worn and Pseudolus and his weary fellow slave Hysterium (Jack Gilford) soon end up this whole loony scenario up to their hears.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
“You’ll never learn. You’ll be a eunuch all your life.”
Slave Pseudolus (Zero Mostel) connives to win his freedom anyway he can. Read more
Wonderful, wonderful film. Absolutely hysterical! I would watch this again and again.Published 4 days ago by cory blankenship
If you don't laugh then you have broken your funny bone. One of my favorite plays set for the big screen. Read morePublished 16 days ago by GPS