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Christopher Ross
Christopher Ross

It's A Mad Mad Mad Mad World(1963) !FREE!

"Then what happens next? I'll tell you what happens: Then they all decide that I'm supposed to get a smaller share! That I'm somebody extra special stupid, or something! That they don't even care if it's a democracy! And in a democracy, it don't matter how stupid you are, you still get an equal share!"

It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World(1963)

Action! Comedy! Suspense! All three elements are blended well in this thrill ride of a movie. Mad World is quite infamous for it's all-star ensemble cast, which includes Sid Caesar, Mickey Rooney, Jonathan Winters, and many more. Comedy veterans like Buster Keaton and The Three Stooges have cameos in this as well. There's also a neat title sequence done by the legendary Saul Bass.

Bass' titles for It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World come in at just over four minutes – his longest sequence, second only to West Side Story in 1961. He directed it in 1963, the same year that he designed the iconic poster for Hitchcock's The Birds.Mad World is a frenetic, exhausting film, and Bass reflects this in his sequence, featuring a crudely-drawn globe subjected to an endless barrage of visual puns and sight gags, courtesy of its inhabitants. Propelled by Ernest Gold's carnival-themed score and boiled down to a thick palette of black, white, and saturated hues, Bass employs a simplistic, childlike illustration style, contrasted sharply by the heavy lines and formal typesetting of the title cards themselves.Unlike many of Bass' previous sequences, Mad World does not have an allegorical link to the film itself. Instead, it sets the tone of the film through color, tone, and character – essentially, it's a primer for director Stanley Kramer's lighthearted tryst through the universal language of greed and deception. Bass' oversimplified sight gags downplay the film's dramatic overtones, mirroring Kramer's treatment of the film itself.The animation techniques used by Bass in Mad World were heavily influenced by a new movement in the cartoon industry that favored a modern, stylized aesthetic over the then-dominant school of Disney hyper-realism. He also took advantage of a new animation technique called 'holding,' which involved splitting characters and environments up into several layers and selectively recycling them during photography. Originally used as a money and time saver at big commercial studios, it was exploited by the new school for its inherent quirkiness, with the fast turnaround as an added bonus. Bass took this one step further, playing his visual 'holds' off Gold's soundtrack, creating a tango between the audio and the visuals that gives the sequence its own distinct pulse.Among the several talented animators who contributed to the sequence was Bill Melendez, an established Disney & Warner Bros. animator who was also Charles Schultz's exclusive go-to on the Peanuts franchise until his passing in 2008.The Mad World titles saw Bass return to his earlier ventures into comedy (The Seven Year Itch, Around the World in Eighty Days) – a genre he enjoyed but had become disassociated with after his name became synonymous with Hitchcock thrillers. It is also his first collaborative project, as his design framework mainly showcased the talents of other established animation artists of the day. But it was ultimately his use of their techniques within his design framework that gave Mad World a credible tongue-in-cheek sophistication that may have otherwise been lost in the whirlwind of the film itself.

Holding the center of the mayhem is police chief Spencer Tracy, the straight-man anchor keeping Mad World from spinning off into utter incoherence. He's so desperate to escape from his hysterical wife and daughter that he's willing to commit a felony. Near retirement and in fairly frail condition, Tracy isn't called upon to leave his desk until the final act of the show. When he joins the stampede of crazy car crashes and stunt work, it's mostly through a clever trick now attributed to the legendary makeup artist Dick Smith -- Tracy and many other stars are doubled by stuntmen wearing specially-made rubber masks. Most of Tracy's running and stair climbing in the final scene is flawlessly doubled. 1

Smiler Grogan (Jimmy Durante), a crook who stole a large sum from a tuna factory years earlier, is making his break from the police and speeding along a California highway, ultimately crashing his car down a steep, craggy slope. Four vehicles stop to render aid. The first contains J. Russell Finch (Milton Berle), his wife and mother-in-law (Ethel Merman), the second has Melville Crump (Sid Caesar) and his wife, the third holds Dingy Bell (Mickey Rooney) and Benji Benjamin (Buddy Hackett), and the last contains Lennie Pike (Jonathan Winters). The five men descend the slope to look for survivors, finding Smiler near death. Smiler, realizing he is about to die, tells them of a buried treasure ("350 G's!") that's been lying under a big "W" in the Rosita Beach State Park for 15 years. The group tries to come up with a way to divide up the money, and failing that, it's every man for himself! 041b061a72


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