Tag Archives: Spencer Tracy

On the soundstage with main mutineer Van Johnson during The Caine Mutiny (1954)

Edward Dmytryk: A Worthy Reexamination (Part II)

Here’s the conclusion of Dwayne Epstein’s two-part interview with director Edward Dmytryk:

Edward Dmytryk in the late 70s, moving on from directing and into teaching.

Edward Dmytryk in the late 70s, moving on from directing and into teaching.

DE: How do you tell actors that what they are doing you don’t think will work?

ED:  When you have your first rehearsal, all your actors are apt to make a mistake here or there. They don’t know exactly where they’re going and they’re feeling their way. Someone in the company will say, “Hey, he made a mistake. He didn’t say that line.” I’ll say, “Shut up,” because when I have the next rehearsal, they recognize that they made that mistake. Rather then getting bawled out like school children, they correct it themselves so you give them a little leeway. Three or four rehearsals, they’ve corrected all their mistakes. If they still have one, what you do is you take them into the dressing room and talk about it. I rarely, rarely bawled anybody out in front of anybody else.

JP: No, you never have.

ED: I wouldn’t do that. Except sometimes a guy would make a mistake for one reason or another. I didn’t have to…Tracy twice misread a line. He got a different take from that same line. I could mean one thing or it could mean another. He took one meaning, which was not very good. I let him go ahead and I printed the take with that thing. Then I called him aside and said, “Spence, there’s another thing you can do with it.” I would never read a line for him. I did that (laughs) with Monty Clift one time just by accident. It was a scene on Young Lions and he said to me, “Eddie, please don’t read lines to me. You do it so wonderfully (I laugh) that it will inhibit me.” I knew what he was talking about.

DE: He could have been a director himself. Quite a diplomat.

ED: I can’t remember an exact line from any one of my films practically because I made it a point when I read the script, no matter how many times, I went over the script not to remember the lines exactly.

DE: What do you consider somebody like Lee Marvin’s greatest strength was as an actor?

ED: Lee was a natural. We get those kinds of people and they’re easy to work with. Like kids, they’re easier to work with than theatrical actors. You get people who have never been in the theater and it’s amazing. Mary Astor is a perfect example. Wonderful actor and you never have to go through that period where you say, “Forget about the theater. Forgot about the audience and making an impression.” The one thing is people from the theater have a tendency to do is read a line. That’s where the writer, who’s always there, gets very mad and in Hollywood the writer has no say in changes. The main thing is that when we were working together on an acting book, I said this to other people and particularly to my school groups, one of the wonderful thing about Spencer Tracy, other actors, he’d play with good actors, like E.G. Marshall worked with him in one scene, top actors worked with him. They’d come to me after a scene and they’d say, “Spencer, he gives you something.” For a long time, I wondered, “What the hell does he give them?” I found out: Attention. He listens to them. He pays attention. They were somebody in that goddamned thing. It’s amazing how often you get actors who are just thinking about their own lines, they’re just another character and they’re thinking about they’re own lines and, “What am I going to say when she finishes?” He never did that. Every line from him was as spontaneous as possible…Spence had me crying more than anybody in the world and the crew. We did a scene in The Mountain (1956), at the finish there, where he brought the girl down. Did you ever see that picture?

DE: Yes I have.

With Spencer Tracy and Robert Wagner on The Mountain (1956)

With Spencer Tracy and Robert Wagner on The Mountain (1956)

ED: He brought the girl down from up top and he’s trying to say it was his fault and not his brother’s. He was at fault. He stumbles through the damned thing trying to be very real. When I was working with Tracy particularly — but I would do this with other people too — I often would start with the costar if it were an important scene. I knew I was going to be in a close shot so I’d start with that. That with be spontaneous and I’d get the longer shots later if I needed them. I was starting with a close shot and E.G. Marshall had to read a line to him that got the scene started. He was right by the camera where I wanted him. He read the line and Tracy started. After the scene — which was probably a page long, long scene — when he finished it, I said, “cut,” and I looked over and E.G. was crying and the cameraman was crying and everybody was crying. I was crying because Tracy was so wonderful. E.G. looked at me and said, “Goddamit, I wish all these method actors could see these guy act just once!” E.G. was a great actor himself….All great actors, all great actors are creators….Monty himself would do that. He had a million ideas a day. He’d say, “Hey Eddie, how about doing this?” I’d say, “No, I don’t know..” He’d say, “Okay, forget about it.” I’d say, “Wait a minute. Let’s talk about it.” He’d say, “No, no, forget about it. I’ll have another one.” ….I used to welcome them as well as from any other members of my crew. I don’t think I ever followed a suggestion just exactly. A suggestion from an actor was an idea and I’d say, “Hey,” if it were a good one I’d think what else can I do with that idea? Sometimes I could take it or change it. Like I say, actors are creators.

DE: What do you if an actor has idea and another had a completely different take on it. Obviously you’ll have the final say but where do you go with that?

ED: That doesn’t happen very often.

JP: Remember, you have a script and they read it together.

ED: That’s the other thing…

DE: I’m thinking about an actor who says, “While I’m saying this line, I push my hat back,” and the other says “Yeah, but I won’t be able to do this big take…”

ED: Well, I say, “No, don’t do that take.” (All laugh) I had only one actor that ever stopped a rehearsal and say, “Is that way you’re going to do it in the take?”

JP: Who was that?

ED: (Under his breath) Kirk.

DE: (Laughs) Gee, I wonder which Kirk.

JP: You mentioned Caine Mutiny earlier, and that was one of the most difficult films Eddie ever did. It started in Honolulu. Started in Hawaii with all that stuff on the ship. Started on location and then for them to do all that stuff on the ship ….He had 3 weeks back home in the studio and [to Dmytryk] you were remarkable with that because you had all the actors commenting on that. You reminded them of the same base.

On the soundstage with main mutineer Van Johnson during The Caine Mutiny (1954)

On the soundstage with main mutineer Van Johnson during The Caine Mutiny (1954)

ED: Part of my skill, darling. When I tell my film classes don’t storyboard, they say, “Well how am I going to remember it?” I say, “The people you work with.”

JP: Remember the monsoon or hurricane?

DE: Typhoon.

JP: Typhoon. They were doing all this stuff on the set and the problems with that, and the lines to do, and that was tough.

DE: I think you got the best performance out of Humphrey Bogart as an actor.

J: He (Bogart) thought so too. He loved doing that.

DE: You could tell. He was amazing in it. That thing he did with his eyes!

ED: I saw where he was asked who were the best directors he ever worked with…

JP: Don’t pat yourself on the back.

ED: No, I was second. John Huston was first.

DE: There’s nothing wrong with that.

ED: Yeah, John Huston was first and I was second. John Huston made three great pictures with him. There’s no doubt about it and I don’t feel bad about it.

JP: You’re lucky to be among the few.

ED: I do think, that in spite of everything, that particular performance was his performance because it gave him the best opportunities.

JP: I think that was one of Eddie’s best films, too, because he held it together. He really took along time to do that. Not as long as Young Lions, but it was a long one.

ED: As a matter of fact, we made it in 54 days.

JP: Are you still counting? How do you remember?

ED: I remember because that was the one where Kramer was in Dutch with it being the last picture for Columbia. He made a deal where he made all these pictures, 20 pictures at a certain level. He was allowed to make one at 2 million dollars. If he didn’t come in exactly on the budget or under budget within 54 days, the studio would take over. So, he was worried every damned day. Every day he was worried about this picture. That’s why I remembered it because normally I wouldn’t remember it all.

DE: What was Stanley Kramer like to work with as producer, because he was such a good filmmaker?

ED: He was a fine.

DE: Was he a hands-on producer?

ED: No, he was a hands -off producer.

JP: Back up, back up. You said he became such a great filmmaker. Okay. He’s one of the greatest producers in this town. I don’t know if you’d call him a great filmmaker.

ED: He also made some bad ones. Did you ever see the one he made with Frank Sinatra?

DE: Which one?

ED: Where they pull the cannon over the mountain?

DE: Oh, The Pride and the Passion (1957) Well, like everyone, he’s made some really bad films.

JP: We don’t talk about bad ones. (All laugh) But he really was a wonderful producer.

DE: If it comes down to whether he was a better producer than a director, I won’t argue the fact that he was probably a better producer.

ED: That’s our only point. I remember Time Magazine, on one of his pictures saying, “Kramer the director fails Kramer the producer.” The point is, sure he made some very great pictures — The Man Who Came To Dinner (1942) — what was that thing called?

DE: Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner (1967).

ED: Very, very good film. I think if he had stayed a producer and got the best directors there possibly could be he would have made more good pictures. That was his skill. He was the only producer I ever worked with who would talk. Every picture I ever made with him you could talk methods and you could talk cutting and society, which is what he was into.

JP: Did he ever use Lee Marvin?

DE: As a director he used him in Ship of Fools and he was brilliant in that, especially that one monologue he had. Kramer referred to Marvin’s talent as being able to reduce the most difficult scene to “Utter simplicity.”

ED: Tracy could do that too. He could take any line, no matter how complex it was and make it simple. Any good actor should do that. Students used to ask me, they don’t any more, thank god: “How do you talk to an actor? How do you tell them what to do, besides this business about dialogue?” The actor reads the script. He knows the part as well as I do. I assume he’s just as smart as I am and can read it just as well as I can. He can understand the part even better because it’s the one part that he’s concerned with, where I’m concerned with all the parts.

DE: I’m glad you mentioned that. On Raintree County, how much input did the actors have on their appearance?

Left-right, the gargantuan cast of the gargantuan Raintree County (1957): Rod Taylor, Nigel Patrick, Dmytryk (standing), Elizabeth Taylor,  Montgomery Clift, Eva Marie Saint, Lee Marvin, Agnes Moorehead and Walter Abel.

Left-right, the gargantuan cast of the gargantuan Raintree County (1957): Rod Taylor, Nigel Patrick, Dmytryk (standing), Elizabeth Taylor,
Montgomery Clift, Eva Marie Saint, Lee Marvin, Agnes Moorehead and Walter Abel.

ED: I don’t remember. All I can say is that as a director in those days, I was in charge of everything. Nobody could do anything without my signature. They couldn’t build a set without my signature. They couldn’t sign a dress without my signature or outfits used in the picture. Who came up with the idea of the outfit, whether it was him or me, I can’t tell you. In many cases, it was other people, wardrobe, actors, or what have you. Any director who would say, “No, don’t do that,” would be pretty silly.

DE: Well done. How long have you been married, by the way?

JP: We’ve been together almost 50 years and we’ve been married 49. No 48, we’ve been married 48 years. Is it over 50, now?

ED: Yeah, 51 in October, darling.

DE: Usually it’s the woman who remembers. Very good. Hurray for our side.

ED: How can I forget the first time I saw? Ahhh, the first time I saw her!

Dmytryk and wife Jean Porter in the early 70s, who, at the time of the 1996 interview, had celebrated more than fifty years of matrimony.

Dmytryk and wife Jean Porter in the early 70s, who, at the time of the 1996 interview, had celebrated more than fifty years of matrimony.


1:YOUNGEDITOR

Edward Dmytryk: A Worthy Reexamination

2:RKO

He was one of the true pioneers of film noir, a favorite director of Humphrey Bogart’s, the only director among The Hollywood Ten and the man responsible for helming some of Hollywood’s most heralded stars in some of their most offbeat and in some cases, best performances. In spite of all that, Edward Dmytryk has never been included in the pantheon of great directors.

Maybe it’s because he quit making gritty noir masterpieces as soon as he could, or that as an incarcerated member of The Hollywood Ten he recanted and then named names. Perhaps it was because many of the films starring the aforementioned legends received lukewarm responses when first released and have remained in movie viewing limbo ever since. When was the last time cable or Netflix offered Clark Gable in Soldier of Fortune (1955); Bogart in The Left Hand of God (1955), Sean Connery and Brigitte Bardot unlikely paired in the western Shalako (1968); or Richard Burton and a bevy of international beauties in Bluebeard (1972)? Granted, some of these titles are rather cringe-inducing but even the cringe-filled moments are at least entertaining. Whatever the reason for Dmytryk’s absence from perceived greatness, his body of work is certainly worthy of reexamination.

6:CLIFTLION

I was lucky enough to interview him as part of my ongoing research for my book, Lee Marvin: Point Blank a few years before he passed on in 1999. He and his wife, former actress Jean Porter, agreed to meet with me for lunch at the legendary Musso & Frank in Hollywood in September of 1996 and that which did not go in the book can be read below. As the reader will discover in part 1, what transpired were not the bitter rants of a disappointed old man but the fascinating reminisces of a life well lived.

Dwayne Epstein: Does your way of working vary by actor?

Edward Dmytryk: My way of working with an actor, I wasn’t…when I was a cutter on the set throughout the 1930’s, I worked with guys like George Cukor and people like that. They all worked in their own way. You give the actors…Let me put it like this, once a picture starts, they’re my closest collaborators. You see, I worked with good people. I was lucky. That’s how I looked at it. I worked with the best. I had the best people all the way around and I started that early in my career. I could do whatever I wanted to do. In other words, I sometimes would do things that would make the studio very angry. In Europe, I remember they wanted me to come home. So I said finally, “I’m tired of you asking me to come home all the time. Fire me.” I wanted to quit because I was having a terrible time in Europe with the crew, not with the actors. See, in France half of the crew was Communist and half of the crew was non-Communist. Well, to the Communists, I was an ex-communist. The Communists feel there’s nothing worse than an ex-Communist. They’re much more hated because he knows the truth. So they sent me a memo. After I sent them a wire, they sent me a 14-page telegram. I had never seen one like that before. It was apologizing, saying, “No, go right ahead and do what you want to do.” I gave them 2 or 3 opportunities to fire me and then I almost quit. In those days, particularly the studios, they hired a guy and they trusted them. They wouldn’t have let me go because they couldn’t replace me with anybody. It would have cost them a hell of a lot more money and maybe not be as good. With the actors, I worked very freely. I’m in control of the staging and the pace, particularly. Which is very important because actors really don’t understand pace. Particularly if they come from the theater.

DE: Well they can’t in terms of the film because they don’t know how it’s going to be cut.

ED: Yeah, and I cut all my own pictures. See, now as far as I expect of them…I expect Tracy, when he plays a scene, to do things with it that I had wished I had thought to do. To surprise me. That’s the wonderful part about him. … I give him a certain amount of freedom but I don’t let him wander all over. I don’t let him…we change lines all the time but the changing of the lines is under my control. In other words, I wouldn’t do what John Cassavetes did because actors would run on forever if you let them.  I never liked John Cassavetes’ pictures because they were strictly they would run on and on and on. So, if an actor wants to ad-lib I’d say, “You think you can write better than the writer did? If you can, go ahead. If you can’t, don’t mention it anymore.” But I would change it. I’d change scripts like Young Lions as much as 50%. I could have gotten real credit of it. I don’t think I ever made a picture where I didn’t change something. You got to bring a picture to life. All the writers these days write dialogue. There’s nothing there about what to do and how to do it or how a scene starts or how it ends or goes from sequence to another smoothly and continues the flow of the story, that kind of thing. I’ve had cases several times where I’d come in on a set and I’d have a rehearsal with my cast and then I’d call the art director and say, “This won’t do. I can’t shoot this scene here. I got to have another set. Have the writer write another scene,” and walk out to take the day off and rewrite.

4:8IRONMEN

DE: What do you remember most about working with Lee Marvin on Eight Iron Men (1952)?

ED: He and Bonar Colleano had been out on the town the night before while we were making that one. They got along very, very well. They came in an hour late. That’s unforgivable. I gave them hell and I’ve never seen two such penitent guys. They were like kids with their heads down. They kept saying, “I know it’s wrong, I know it’s wrong. We’ll never do it again. Never.” And they never did. I never knew he had a reputation for drinking and I know he did drink but not on the set…Lee was interesting. I had a lot of interesting characters. That’s what I liked about the pictures I was doing, good actors.

5:RAINTREE

DE: Speaking of interesting characters, how did you get along with Montgomery Clift?

ED: Well, yes and no. I got along fine with him. I had a lot of trouble with him on Raintree County (1957) because, well, after his accident he was on drugs and drinking so much he could never work an afternoon. He was in every scene so it took about 160 days on that picture. I thought I’d never use him again. Then when I got back right after that, I was sent what they had, they didn’t have a complete script yet on The Young Lions (1958). I read it and said, “Geez, there’s only one guy to play this part and that’s Monty Clift.” I called him on the phone and had sent him the script. He sent me a telegram a few days later just saying ‘yes.’ On that picture, he never indulged. He did in the evenings but he never missed an hour’s work. I was thinking last night, because I was running a scene for my class the day before yesterday, this one sequence where he brings Hope Lange home, that was the last thing we did. It was done at night, of course. Just before midnight, he started…He was little rough. I called midnight dinner and I said to him, “Monty, I don’t want to have come back tomorrow and do this again.”

DE: How did Montgomery Clift get along with the rest of the cast on Raintree County?

ED: Very well. Monty was a guy who liked everybody…. We started in New Orleans but then we filmed it in Natchez, all up and down the south. … I don’t remember Monty drinking with anybody, actually. I didn’t follow him at night. He drank. He took dope actually, first thing in the morning.

DE: He was in a lot of pain at that time, wasn’t he?

ED: Yeah, because he had his jaw broken in three places and it was wired up. The wires were out by the time we went back to work. Nevertheless, he felt a lot of pain. I think that was his excuse but I think he was drinking all of his life as far as I know. One of the things I did before the picture, because I had never worked with ever before, I didn’t know him, I got in touch with the people. What’s his name, with the Irish name?

DE: Kevin McCarthy?

ED: McCarthy was a very good friend of his. McCarthy said, “He’s a tough guy to be a friend to because he drinks so much. You just get disgusted with him. There comes a time when you have to say good bye.” So, I was warned. Strangely enough, at the beginning you don’t want to hear about this.

DE: I know it was a difficult movie to make, and the divergent cast and the accident and all, but in the scenes that Lee Marvin and Montgomery Clift had together, the characters were adversarial, I’m thinking specifically about the foot race. See, Marvin is much more physically imposing than Clift is.

ED: If it were an honest race, he could have beat Monty.

DE: When you watch it you see Marvin do the miraculous task of making Clift look like he beat him. How did he do that? Were there any little things you talked about before the shooting of it?

ED: No, he just knew that Monty had to beat him and he kept it so. As a matter of fact, for a little while, he was maybe a little bit ahead. He had a much longer stride than Monty did and he made it look like as though he was working hard. He could have slowed up his stride a little bit.

DE: In high school Lee Marvin was a track star.

ED: That I didn’t know.

Jean Porter: (Laughs) Now you find out.

DE: Do you recall when you first met him?

ED: No. But I can tell you that I would do with Lee is what I would do with all actors. People ask me about working with actors. When I first started teaching about 15 years ago at USC., one of the professors there was a professor of film but had never been on a set in his life. One of those academicians. He said, “Eddie, how do you get an actor to read a line the way you want it?’ I said, “I don’t.” He said, “What do you mean by that?” I said, “Do you think I’m going to tell Spencer Tracy how to read lines? That’s his business. That’s his art.” I’m a third-rate actor. If I told him, “This is the way to read a line,” he’d be giving a third rate performance. I never tell a good actor how to do lines, nor does any really good director that I know of.

DE: On The Caine Mutiny (1954), many of the actors are on record as saying Bogart was one of their heroes. How did they get along with Bogart on the set?

ED: Fine. I never had any trouble with anybody. Only one actor in my life I ever had any trouble with who’s name I won’t mention…We had a large cast in that picture with a very good cast right down the line. We got along like brothers and sisters. I never had any trouble. You mentioned Raintree County. Elizabeth, the only time Elizabeth was not on time is when she missed the plane for New Orleans. On the set she was always on time, she was always cooperative.

DE: Was she very protective of Montgomery Clift?

ED: They were very close. She helped him of course but he was a very, very good friend of his. Which was important. He would help her with her acting. He’d go through the script with her whenever we had rehearsals and he’d help here and there. She got a nomination for that picture, as you probably know.

DE: I’ve never been on a film set but I read that there’s a lot of hurry up and wait. What kind of things is done between set-ups?

ED: Play cards.

DE: What was the game of choice?

ED: We played poker. We played odd games. We played this one thing that sometimes I’d join them in. We played Chinese poker. It’s an interesting game.

DE: Was there a difference in rehearsal than what we would see on film?

ED: Not really. Sometimes there is. You see to me, rehearsal is where you make the thing. By the time you’re ready to photograph it, you’re just registering it, that’s all. There’s only one actor I knew who really wanted to go all out in rehearsal. You don’t encourage them to go all out because one of the things they have to do is to pace themselves. That’s another thing. When you do a scene finally, you have to be spontaneous. One of the things you don’t want to do is work too hard. That’s why I don’t mind changing lines to make it fit or for character’s purposes or anything of that sort. Take a line that’s literally in the script and make it a natural kind of thing that I guy in the street would say. I did it gradually. Sometimes I didn’t use the script but I did it rarely. You know, we’d be rehearsing and I’d say [to the actor], “Gee, you know that’s great. You did something great there. Do it again.” He’d say, “What did I do?” “Well, you took this trash here and you moved it over here.” He’d say, “Did I?” I’d say, “Sure you did. Don’t you remember?” Of course he didn’t do it. It was something I wanted him to do.

DE: That’s an interesting way to do it.

ED: Oh sure. You give them all the credit. The more credit you give them, the better they do for you, for Christ’s sake. Of course. You don’t say, “I’m the king. I’m in charge.” The auteur theory is the worst damned thing that was ever thought of.

DE: I’m in complete agreement because film is too collaborative.

ED: There’s that but you also limit yourself. I advice all my students, don’t make storyboards. A storyboard is a plot. You got it down there and once you got it down there you say, “That’s the way we’re going to do it.” Then there’s no more creativity after you’re on the set. I say, “You got to keep changing. You got to keep thinking about possible change.” You don’t necessarily change but possible changes occur right up to the time you shoot it.

Next Time: “Edward Dmytryk: A Worthy Examination” (Part 2)!


Inherit-the-Wind-poster

The Still Relevant Musings of Stanley Kramer

I always tell people that the best part of my job as a writer is talking to people whose work I admire about the work I admire. There’s no better example of that then Stanley Kramer. He agreed to meet with me in November 1994 at the legendary Sportsman’s Lodge. The interview was for my book Lee Marvin Point Blank so consequently, Marvin was the main topic of conversation. Most of Kramer’s thoughts on Marvin went into my book but the opportunity to speak with the pioneering producer/director naturally bled into other topics. That which didn’t go into the book is presented here for the first time. Sadly, he passed away in 2001 (on Lee Marvin’s birthday!) and what survives here are the opinions, anecdotes and cantankerous musings of a filmmaker whose value can never be overestimated.

Skramer

Dwayne Epstein: As a producer, you did a film in 1952 called Eight Iron Men based on a play…

Stanley Kramer: Was Lee in that?

D: Yeah, he was. Do you remember anything about it?

S: No, not very much. But he must have impressed me because I used him several times after that.

D: What would be in a script that would make you think Lee Marvin could play the part?

S: My natural sense of genius. I mean why do you cast? You cast out of ego, too. You see it that way. People say to me, “Why did you use Gene Kelly?” or “Why did you use Fred Astaire in a dramatic part?” or “Why did you make the first picture with Marlon Brando?” Because I felt that I was doing something special.

D: And you were.

S: Not always.

D: You had the guts to at least try something different.

S: Try, yeah. That’s why I got into it.

D: How did Lee Marvin and Brando get along?

S: Not too well. Brando had done Streetcar and a couple of other things. I was the only one who made two films with him that didn’t make any money.

wildone

D: I always thought The Wild One (1954) was a big hit.

S: It was banned more places that it played.

D: Was there a rivalry between the two actors that transferred to the screen?

S: Since they played the heads of rival gangs, they played it that way.

D: Lee hid behind his personality?

S: He created a personality and hid behind it. He wasn’t that way, at all.

D: What was he really then?

S: Soft. Sensitive. Easy to hurt.

D: You saw that side of him?

S: I lived that side with him. I must have done about five pictures with him.

D: How would that sensitive side show itself?

S: Well, sometimes with another actor or actress. Sometimes with a director. It would depend. He wanted to do a good job much more desperately than his personality indicated.

D: So there was a sense of insecurity about him?

S: Sure, but he was very talented.

D: Having worked on The Caine Mutiny (1954), would you say there was a comparison between Bogart and Lee Marvin?

S: I don’t think so.

D: How would they be different?

S: Well, Bogart was a star incarnate, from the beginning. First time I ever got together with Bogart, for example, was in Hawaii, The Beachcomber’s Restaurant. There was a bout eight of us at the table and the film was starting rehearsals the next morning. We had all been settled in there for about three or four days. Around 11:00, I looked at my watch and said, “For all the guys that have to work tomorrow, I think it’s time to turn in.” Bogart said, “Wait a minute. What do you fancy yourself to be? Who are you, the producer of this picture? For Christ’s sake, dictating the time to go to bed and everything, that’s ridiculous! What’s your function here?” Fortunately, I thought of a line. I said, “My function is to see that recalcitrant actors get to bed on time.” He looked at me and just stared at me. Then, he broke out in a laugh. He said, “Okay.” That was all just before we started The Caine Mutiny.

D: Do you remember if Lee Marvin got along with Bogart, because I know he was enamored of Bogart?

S: Right, he was. I don’t remember. Too many other things going on.

D: The first film you directed, Not As A Stranger with Robert Mitchum, Lee Marvin had a small part in that. What was it like working with him then? It was a pretty volatile cast with Sinatra, Mitchum, Broderick Crawford….

S: I don’t recollect. You’ll have to make it up.

D: [laughs] I won’t do that. Some critics said Gene Kelly was miscast in Inherit the Wind (1960). I thought he was wonderful in that.

S: I did, too. It’s hard to find reasons for that failure of that movie except I know some of the reasons. United Artists never went all the way down the line with it, to open it and do it, exploit it. It needed that. I thought Tracy and March would carry it, you know?

D: They were like titans.

S: They were titans, too. They had respect. That was a wonderful experience for me. Sometimes it goes, sometimes it doesn’t. When I was working on Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967), everybody said, “Christ, this will fold like an accordion.” Yet, they stood opposite each other. The guy kissed the girl in the opening scene.

D: The world didn’t come to an end.

S: No, maybe if it had we’d have made more money. If you have any personal questions, feel free to ask me.

D: What do you look for in a script? Obviously, you have a certain style of filmmaking like all great directors do…

S: No I don’t.

D: I think you do. I think you have a film that says Stanley Kramer on it.

tracy

S: How do you…That’s why I made a picture, the picture I made was It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, World (1963). That’s not a Stanley Kramer picture.

D: Right, since every now and again, you got to break the mold. No question about that. But chances are, if there’s a film that says Stanley Kramer on it, it’s not going to be a light piece of fluff. You tackled tough subjects mostly…

S: I didn’t think they were so tough when I tackled them. I made them because I believed in them and visualized it and thought, “Well, I could do this. Make a great thing out of it.” Doesn’t always turn out that way. That’s what makes a Christian out of you.

D: What do you look for in a script when you read it?

S: I don’t look for anything in particular. Surprise me! Shock me! Stun me! Intrigue me! Do something! I don’t know whether it jumps off the page but maybe I can visualize something. Chances are, if it jumps off the page, it wouldn’t be very good.

D: Did you ever think of directing a play instead of just films? You seem to be a very good actor’s director.

S: Who told you that?

D: No one. That comes just from watching your films. You give great showcases for actors in your films.

S: Well, then the film would be the showcase. But, nobody ever offered me a play script and I never thought of one so…I’ve directed stage productions, workouts, locally and so forth.

D: Interesting. When you cast Burt Lancaster as the judge on trial in Judgment at Nuremberg, was there a chance of casting Lee Marvin in that or any role in the film?

S: I’m sure I did along the way. Maybe there was some reason why he wasn’t in it. See, I had Tracy near the end of his life, since it was an all-star cast, I did that so I could get try to get an audience where it all jelled, because it never did sufficiently. We got an audience but not enough. Lancaster was a replacement. That part was set and agreed to and all negotiated out for Olivier to play. He got married. He married Joan Plowright. He said, “Unless you can postpone the picture for four months, it’s out.” I couldn’t. At any rate, Lancaster was one of those nasty…It didn’t work entirely because everybody else had a background of being German; Schell and all the defendants. But Lancaster read it and wanted it. I didn’t like the accent he played with.

D: He tried.

S: He tried and he performed pretty well.

D: You produced John Cassavetes’ first studio film, A Child is Waiting (1963). I’m guessing he preferred his own independent projects so he wasn’t crazy about the experience.

S: He wasn’t crazy about the experience because of me, probably. We had difficulties. He was a talented fellow. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have put him in the job. But I had a self-centered idea about films. There can only be one dominant and you can’t do it by conference, by agreement. One guy has the concept and the driving force. That’s what I always felt to be true, anyhow. Cassavetes was young, unregimented, not accustomed to listening, and I was in his ear a lot. It was a project I would have done. I was busy on something else. The reason I didn’t direct it is I made the project go up to that point but it was the kind of subject most people wouldn’t be interested in, anyhow. We used a lot of people from the hospital

D: Burt Lancaster played the head of the hospital but would you have considered Lee Marvin for Lancaster’s role as the lead?

S: Yeah, I would have considered Lee Marvin for anything. I thought he was a hell of an actor.

D: Do you recall if you did or not for that role?

S: Probably not because Lancaster was a much bigger name. Some of those subjects needed a symphony of names. It’s always a confining thing. See, in the early days, Marlon Brando had never made a film, and that was good. Kirk Douglas hadn’t done anything, and that was good. There were other people. Jose Ferrer was not known in films. Gary Cooper was but Grace Kelly hadn’t. I had used a lot of people exciting in those days. Then, I began to switch cast, vis a vis Astaire or Gene Kelly, that kind of thing…dancers [laughs].

fools

D: On Ship of Fools (1965), how did Lee Marvin get along with Vivien Leigh?

S: I don’t know if there was anything personal going on between them. I would be the last one to ask about that. But, he got along very well. After all, he was a queer duck. Meeting him for the first time, for an actor who’s supposed to be playing with him, it must have been an experience for her, too. I’m sure it was.

D: Would you say there was a mutual respected for each other’s talent?

S: The respect that he had for her was unbelievable. What her respect was for him, I don’t know.

D: How did Lee Marvin get the part in Ship of Fools?

S: I picked him. If you ask me on what basis, I don’t know. Usually, casting is a feeling. [pause] I can’t stress enough that he was really two people. He had an outer facade and this terrible, sensitive, introspective underneath. How do you deal with that, as an actor? It’s not easy. He was very respectful of Vivien Leigh. The first scene they played together I remember very well because of Marvin. He came into the dining room, crossed the room and sat down at the table.

D: That’s right.

S: How do you know that’s right?

D: I’ve seen the movie several times. Wasn’t it the scene where he’s at the table and she comes in and he doesn’t get up for Vivien Leigh who sarcastically says ‘don’t get up.’?

S: You’ve seen it more recently. At any rate, he worked out the lines, how to cope with it and then did me the honor of discussing it. He often did that, very often. This was always deep with him because either he had something profound to say which people ought to listen to — he always seemed to be so surfacely amuck or rough. When you bear that, when you lifted the curtain and looked behind it, there was a lot to see.

D: So you’re saying there was much more depth to the man then people realized?

S: Not only much more depth but he was sensitive underneath. His sensitivity he protected as best he could. I always gave him credit of his intelligence. I remember…let me think a minute. I constantly had a feeling he left too soon. I think he had a lot more to say and do, I really feel that. I don’t think he ever crested, is what I mean

D: Have you seen a film in recent years and thought Lee Marvin could’ve done it?

S: Well, it wouldn’t be that obvious. I made a picture once called On the Beach (1959). Fred Astaire played a scientist in it. Everyone said, “What the hell is Fred Astaire doing in this? Can’t visualize it.” I visualize it somewhere along the line. I think he came through very well. It would be the same with Marvin. If Marvin, for example, played a hard…I often look for a role for something like a football coach or a college instructor so I could use him and stand out from that.

D: Well, Anthony Quinn in RPM (1970) was a college instructor. Did you consider Marvin for that role?

S: I don’t remember that. It was a gigantic failure. That’s what I remember most.

D: It was a game effort.

S: Unfortunately, you don’t get points for that. I’ve had a lot of game efforts [laughs].

D: During Ship of Fools, anything else in particular about it that stands out in your mind?

S: Well, I had a conglomeration of people in the film, as you know. It was the one and only experience I had with an actor named Oskar Werner. He happened to be one of the great actors of all time. He and Spencer Tracy, but I only made one picture with Oskar…He was very difficult for everybody. I made a pact with him. If our objectives, our high objectives were up there and clear to both of us, he’d get rid of all this crap and go for it, which he bought and did. Many times he would do something and say to me something he never said to anybody: “What do you think?” That was a big concession for him.

D: How did he get along with the other actors?

S: Fairly well. He and Signoret, I got together and made a pact with both of them. They made a pact with each other: Drop the resentment and the dislike and let the roles dominant.

D: Seemed to work. Their love scenes seemed very believable.

S: Of course. So many other things I was satisfied with most of the way. I remember one day I had a scene with Vivien Leigh and she was drunk, she was playing it. It occurred to us, on her walk down the ship’s corridor, do something, the Charleston. Just suddenly broke into it like it was on her mind. And she did it and went off quickly. Then she went on her way to the cabin. That was my idea. I want credit for that one!

D: What are you doing with yourself, lately?

S: I’m preparing to make a picture, yeah. That’s one of the things I’m doing. I also wrote another book.

KRAMER

D: Anything you can tell me about the upcoming film?

S: Well, I can tell you it’s present time. I have two projects. The first one, I’d like to be the story of modern Soviet Russia: After the fall of the Soviet Union. It’s a good love story. I got to bring it up to date. Changes every month.

D: Any casting in mind?

S: Well, the guy who’s dogging me the most is Max Schell. Last time Max Schell and I got together, he won the Oscar. This is very special, too. Good love story.

D: You mentioned a new book. Is it on filmmaking or your own experiences?

S: Well, running through it is film anecdotes, motivations, agonies, prejudices.

D: Any of the later films that weren’t necessarily hits with critics or audiences, say, The Secret of Santa Vittoria (1969) that you may have reconsidered casting?

S: I don’t recall, maybe. In terms of casting, you have to have a big enough ego and I had it. You visualize something, you get an idea, a thought, and you follow it through against the current. If it comes off, great. If it doesn’t, you made a mistake.

D: So, you’re saying casting against type worked for you a lot better?

S: No, it didn’t work a lot better but it worked, sometimes. Not always.

D: Can you think of an example where it failed?

S: Yeah, but I won’t tell you.

D: [Laughs] Okay, that’s fair. That seems like a good note to end on.

S: All right. Hope you got enough.

D: I sure did.

 

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Its a Mad Mad World 1083_013275.jpg

Special Report: Criterion’s Reconstruction of “It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World”

Mad Criterion

One of the most eagerly-awaited titles of this or any other year, Criterion’s new Blu-ray of It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World offers a long-desired reconstruction of the film’s original roadshow version, a cut of the film not seen by anyone a few months after the movie’s November 7, 1963 premiere.

An epic, all-star comedy directed by Stanley Kramer, it’s as divisive as Hillary Clinton: people tend to either love or hate it. Indeed, some of the more extreme haters harbor an inexplicable resentment toward those who don’t share their opinion. I’m squarely in the other camp. I’ve adored and have been endlessly mesmerized by Kramer’s film since childhood. For me it never gets old, but I can also understand why it might not click with everyone who sees it. It helps to be familiar with the dizzying array of stars, supporting actor-comedians, and even bit players who populate it. It also plays better viewed cold, without any awareness of what’s to come, with no promises or expectations of a “comedy to end all comedies.”

It is, unquestionably, misunderstood by many. Though dominated by broad, large-scale slapstick, It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World works as much for other reasons. The movie has an unusual structure, introducing a group of characters which it then breaks up into, eventually, six major groupings, cleverly intercutting their various adventures before they all meet up again at the climax, with additional characters picked up and encountered along the way. This cutting among the various sub-plots as they converge on a potential $350,000 jackpot several hundred miles away is a big part of the film’s charm. Structurally, a comparison to D.W. Griffith’s Intolerance (1916) is not inapt. That silent epic doesn’t make much of an impact when its multiple stories are viewed separately (as they frequently were), but intercut as Griffith intended that picture, like IAMMMMW, it becomes an entirely different viewing experience.

Some reviewers have also mistaken the film as some sort of tribute to silent comedy. Certainly its Harold Lloyd-like climax has elements of that, but overall the film is its own animal. It’s not an attempt at an old-fashioned tribute the way The Great Race (1965) later was. Despite Kramer’s reputation for socially conscious drama and despite IAMMMMW’s greed-driven plot there’s no  attempt at any social significance or a “message” of any kind. Despite the presence of comedians and comic actors drawn from silent films, Vaudeville, burlesque, nightclubs, radio, television, and other venues, William and Tania Rose’s screenplay brings these widely-varied performing styles into a solidly-plotted cohesive whole, though it does draw inspiration from various sources and gives each performer breathing room to ply their craft. (For me, parts of the film play like a more cynical Preston Sturges script, particularly in scenes featuring actor William Demarest, in all but name reprising his Officer Kockenlocker character from The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek.)

Mainly, this review will explore the 197-minute reconstruction – not “restoration” – of the original 202-minute roadshow version, what was put back and in what form, and how these added elements play against the more familiar and subsequent 163-minute roadshow/general release version.

If you’re reading this review you already probably know It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World backwards. If somehow you’ve made your way through life without ever seeing it, like audio co-commentator Mark Evanier I recommend that you first watch the shorter version of the film, then the longer cut some time later, and then come back to read this review.

To summarize: Trying to elude detectives hot on his trail, career crook “Smiler” Grogan (Jimmy Durante) spectacularly crashes his car in the Mohave Desert many miles north of Los Angeles. Before expiring he tells the five motorists who’ve stopped to help – dentist Melville Crump (Sid Caesar); Vegas-bound pals “Ding” Bell (Buddy Hackett) and Benjy Benjamin (Mickey Rooney); milquetoast seaweed entrepreneur J. Russell Finch (Milton Berle); and simple-minded furniture mover Lennie Pike (Jonathan Winters) about $350,000 buried several hundred miles away at Santa Rosita Beach State Park, under what he describes as “ a big ‘W.’” (In a nice touch, Durante repeats this important clue for the audience’s benefit, looking straight into the camera, ensuring that they will be on the lookout, too.)

Joined by Russell’s straight-laced wife, Emmeline (Dorothy Provine), and domineering mother-in-law, Mrs. Marcus (Ethel Merman), and Melville’s wife, Monica (Edie Adams), the group quickly abandons any thought of calmly driving down to Santa Rosita together as a group and dividing the stolen money equally. As Benjy says, “it’s every man, including the old bag (Merman), for himself.”

Meanwhile, Chief of Detectives Capt. T.G. Culpepper (Spencer Tracy, top-billed) of the Santa Rosita Police Department closely monitors their actions. An honest cop four months away from retirement, Culpepper is equally anxious to close this 15-year-old case, believing that he can finagle its successful resolution into an upgraded pension so that he can “retire with honor.”

As the treasure hunters leave an awesome trail of destruction in their wake – “withholding information, causing accidents, failing to report accidents, reckless driving, theft, at least three cases of assault and battery…” – they pick up other strangers along the way, notably British army Lt. Col. J. Algernon Hawthorne (Terry-Thomas), unscrupulous con-man Otto Meyer (Phil Silvers), and Russell’s spaced-out brother-in-law, Sylvester Marcus (Dick Shawn)

It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World was filmed in Ultra Panavision 70, an anamorphic 65mm process, and originally exhibited as a road show, meaning that instead of saturation bookings on hundreds or thousands of movie screens simultaneously, the film rolled out across the country (and around the world) slowly, methodically. It typically opened in just one big downtown movie palace in each of the country’s biggest cities, playing on a reserved-seats basis for an average run of one year, then after that went into general release and neighborhood theaters and, eventually, drive-ins.

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The movie premiered at the Cinerama Dome Theater in Hollywood on November 3, 1963, and by mid-December had also opened in New York, Chicago, Boston, London, and Atlanta but few, if any, other theaters, partly because most Cinerama houses were still playing How the West Was Won to packed houses, and partly because theaters had to then be converted from the original three-strip Cinerama process to the more standard 70mm equipment needed to run IAMMMMW. By mid-December 1963 distributor United Artists, working with Kramer, decided to cut about 43 minutes of movie out of the long film which, taking into consideration its overture, intermission break, entr’acte, and exit music clocked in at nearly three-and-a-half hours.

And so it was the shorter, 163-minute version that played everywhere else, as a roadshow throughout 1964, in general release, during its 1970 rerelease, on network television, in syndication, and on home video. In 1991 MGM cobbled together its own 175-minute reconstruction, but that release was far from perfect: some of the footage was incorrectly integrated, and least one shot included in that release was apparently never part of any official version.

Criterion’s reconstructed Blu-ray version, supervised by Robert A. Harris, consists mostly of MGM’s HD transfer of the short version integrated with the same deleted footage included on the 1991 home video version, footage derived from 70mm theatrical print trims of the long version. For the 1991 laserdisc and VHS release, this footage retained the optical squeeze added to the extreme left and right sides of the frame so that, when projected onto Cinerama’s deeply-curved screen, the image would stretch back out to more or less normal. This has been optically corrected and properly integrated with the rest of the film. In the 22 years in-between these two home video releases, the color on the trims had faded so badly that the decision was made to layer the color from the 1991 transfer on top of the remastered-for-HD trims. Because the older transfer cropped the Ultra Panavision framing slightly, the area around the edges of the frame look almost monochrome. It’s noticeable, but not nearly as distracting as frame grabs of these scenes suggest. Because of where the magnetic soundtrack matching the action was placed on 70mm release prints, the audio drops out a second at the end of each cut. Harris has included these bits, using English subtitles so that viewers don’t miss any of the dialogue.

So, the vast majority of reinstated material consists of these trims, the same material integrated for that 1991 release. There is a bit of new material, though probably not as much as many were hoping for, and some of that has audio but no picture. The previously unreleased material with both picture and sound is easy to spot, as it’s the footage without the monochrome borders at the edges of the frame. There’s not a lot of this, but what’s there is worthwhile, most notably footage that expands the build-up to the intermission break, particularly at the Santa Rosita police station. The short version edits the build-up to the intermission extremely well, but the build-up in the long version is just as good, just a little different.

There are three short scenes in which there is sound but no picture: Sylvester’s theft of his girlfriend’s car, some more footage of the Crumps locked in the basement of a hardware store, and Culpepper’s telephone conversation with Jimmy the Crook (Buster Keaton, who in the short version has but one line and is onscreen for less than ten seconds).

Each of these three scenes offers a few surprises previously unknown to most Mad World fans: that Sylvester’s girlfriend is actually a married woman, for instance, and that it’s her car he steals. The telephone scene in one respect is almost heartbreaking: the audience hears Keaton’s voice but is denied the chance to actually see him and his reactions to Culpepper’s plotting.

But the sequence also completely changes one aspect of the film. In the short version it appears that Culpepper has suffered some sort of nervous breakdown. (“You know what I believe I’d like?” he asks his fellow cops. “A chocolate fudge sundae, with whipped cream and a cherry on top.”) In the short version, Culpepper’s decision to steal Smiler’s 350 Gs for himself isn’t made clear until very late in the film and comes as a genuine surprise, though there are clues earlier in the picture pointing to that.

In the reconstructed version all surprise is gone as made clear by that phone call to Keaton’s character. Further, Culpepper’s desire to have that chocolate fudge sundae is no longer the pathetic non sequitur of a broken man, but a ruse so that he can get out of the station and call Jimmy from a nearby drugstore. Nice as it would be to see and hear Keaton, the movie is better without that scene.

The brief audio-only footage of the Crumps in the basement is seriously damaged by one truly terrible decision. Unlike the other two audio-only scenes, which use publicity stills (possibly unreleased stills from contact sheets), this footage incorporates behind-the-scenes and set stills. In addition to Sid Caesar and Edie Adams, these stills make visible members of the film crew, including director Stanley Kramer himself, along with a massive Ultra Panavision camera in one shot. This has the effect of completely taking the viewer out of the movie. They’re interesting as photographs but they have no business in a reconstruction like this.

Likely no appropriate stills of the missing scene exist, but that was also true of some of the scenes missing from the 1954 A Star Is Born. In that Gold Standard of movie reconstruction, producer Ron Haver cleverly found ways around the problem, making those missing scenes play as seamlessly as possible. Clearly any evidence of the crew should have been cropped or matted out.

Overall, the long version has its advantages and disadvantages. Except for one early scene showing the mad motorists driving recklessly through a small desert community, with a few exceptions the cut footage mostly extends scenes from the short version and is no great loss without them. While some would argue the reinstated scenes merely make the long film even longer, in some ways it actually improves the pacing. In its short form the movie at times is a little schizophrenic and cuts too abruptly among the various subplots. The build-up in the longer version is more carefully and deliberately paced, in some respects making the payoffs that come later more satisfying. Interestingly, much of the cut scenes relate to the incredulous monitoring of the fortune-seekers by various law enforcement officers driving black-and-whites or riding in helicopters.

The cut footage also offers a short scene between Winters and Provine that provide Winters’s character with a selfless motive to want his share of the loot, a motive that’s completely absent in the short version. Moreover, there are a handful of great comedy bits the short version should have retained: Culpepper’s $5 bet with Police Chief Aloysius (William Demarest); Rancho Conejo air traffic controllers Carl Reiner and Eddie Ryder shaking hands, a last goodbye as Ding and Benjy’s out-of-control twin-engine plane is on a head-on collision course with their tower; a funny deleted line from cab driver Eddie “Rochester” Anderson near the climax.

Original Cinema Quad Poster - Movie Film Posters

The cut footage also make sense of continuity issues created by the short version, which had left viewers familiar only with that version baffled for years. They explain that the silver mine Otto Meyer speaks of is the place where the character played by Mike Mazurki lives. (I never realized this.) The long version also explains just why Hackett’s character is soaking wet in a couple of shots.

If ever there was a special edition prompted by consumer demand, it’s this. Though a popular catalog title, MGM was loathe to spend the vast sums of money a restoration/reconstructed would have required back in the ‘80s-through-early 2000s. Like David Strohmeier’s Cinerama restorations, IAMMMMW is only possible now because of cost-effective computer technologies that, combined with MGM’s preexisting HD master of the short version, now make such a release cost-effective.

The transfer of the extra-wide Ultra Panavision process (65mm, at 2.76:1) is impeccable, but then again it already was when the beleaguered MGM transferred the short version to HD a couple years ago. Excerpt for the new scenes, this is a same transfer as that, with only minor tweaking. The 5.1 surround, adapted from the original 6-track magnetic stereo, sounds great, a more noticeable improvement from MGM’s earlier Blu-ray of the short version. In addition to the original overture, entr’acte, and exit music, this release incorporates audio-only “police calls” heard sporadically throughout the intermission. All of this is over black, no title card, and there’s a lot of dead air between these calls but, apparently, that’s how they were spaced back in late 1963.

Criterion’s release offers both cuts of IAMMMMW on two Blu-ray discs and three DVDs, the third SD disc consisting of the same extra features spread across the two Blu-rays. The foldout packaging is nice, incorporating Jack Davis artwork commissioned for the 1970 rerelease. Inside there’s a booklet featuring an essay by Lou Lumenick and details about the film and sound elements sourced. Also included is a colorful but impractical map identifying some of the film’s shooting locations (Google Earth comes in very handy here).

Supplements are voluminous though curiously missing the “Something a Little Less Serious” documentary made for the 1991 home video version. That documentary featured Kramer and many more original cast members, all in better health and in greater number than they appear in the newer extras included here. “The Last 70mm Film Festival,” for instance, literally wheels-on Jonathan Winters, Mickey Rooney and Marvin Kaplan (one of the two gas station attendants whose business Winters’s character destroys), with Winters in good spirits but clearly not long for this world. Hosted by Billy Crystal and also featuring other cast and crewmembers, it’s a bit rambling, but enjoyable. (It’s a shame there’s no good video of the American Cinematheque screening I attended some years earlier, which had more of these folks and in far heartier shape.) Also included is a long excerpt from AFI’s 100 Years…100 Laughs focusing on IAMMMMW.

Other extras include original and reissue trailers; Stan Freberg’s TV and radio spots, which Freberg himself introduces; a two-part CBC program documenting the movie’s giant press junket and premiere; one-sided press interviews from 1963, featuring Kramer and his cast; an excerpt from a 1974 talk show hosted by Kramer and featuring Caesar, Hackett, and Winters; short but enlightening featurettes about the reconstruction process and another about the film’s visual and aural effects, including some fascinating behind-the-scenes footage.

And, best of all, there’s an informative and cozily personal audio commentary track on the long version by “Mad World aficionados” (they’re much more than that) Mark Evanier, Michael Schlesinger, and Paul Scrabo. It’s worth all 197 minutes.

On a scale of Excellent, Good, Fair, and Poor,
It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World rates:

Movie: Excellent

Video: Excellent

Sound: Excellent

Supplements: Audio commentary, trailers, radio spots, press interviews, 1974 TV reunion, 2012 cast and crew reunion, Mad World locations map, AFI 100 Years…100 Laughs excerpt, featurettes on the reconstruction, sound and visual effects, booklet.

Deaf and Hearing Impaired Friendly? YES (for the general release version).

Criterion 1963 / Color / 2.76:1 Ultra Panavision 70 / 197 and 163 min. / Street Date January 21, 2014 / $49.95

Starring Spencer Tracy, Milton Berle, Sid Caesar, Buddy Hackett, Ethel Merman, Mickey Rooney, Dick Shawn, Phil Silvers, Terry-Thomas, Jonathan Winters, Edie Adams, Dorothy Provine and a Few Surprises.

Director of Photography Ernest Laszlo

Music Ernest Gold

Written by William and Tania Rose

Produced and Directed by Stanley Kramer