AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World
Director: Stanley Kramer (Dir)
Release Date:   1963
Premiere Information:   Los Angeles opening: 7 Nov 1963
Duration (in mins):   192
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Cast:   Spencer Tracy (Capt. C. G. Culpeper)  
    Milton Berle (J. Russell Finch)  
    Sid Caesar (Melville Crump)  
    Buddy Hackett (Benjy Benjamin)  
    Ethel Merman (Mrs. Marcus)  
    Mickey Rooney (Ding Bell)  
    Dick Shawn (Sylvester Marcus)  
    Phil Silvers (Otto Meyer)  
    Terry-Thomas (J. Algernon Hawthorne)  
    Jonathan Winters (Lennie Pike)  
    Edie Adams (Monica Crump)  
    Dorothy Provine (Emmeline Finch)  
    Eddie "Rochester" Anderson (1st cab driver)  
    Jim Backus (Tyler Fitzgerald)  
    Ben Blue (Airplane pilot)  
    Alan Carney (Police sergeant)  
    Barrie Chase (Mrs. Haliburton)  
    William Demarest (Chief of police)  
    Peter Falk (2d cab driver)  
    Paul Ford (Colonel Wilberforce)  
    Leo Gorcey (3d cab driver)  
    Edward Everett Horton (Dinckler)  
    Buster Keaton (Jimmy the Crook)  
    Don Knotts (Nervous man)  
    Carl Reiner (Tower control)  
    The Three Stooges (Firemen)  
    Joe E. Brown (Union official)  
    Andy Devine (Sheriff Mason)  
    Sterling Holloway (Fire chief)  
    Marvin Kaplan (Irwin, gas station attendant)  
    Arnold Stang (Ray, gas station attendant)  
    Charles Lane (Airport manager)  
    Howard Da Silva (Airport officer)  
    Charles McGraw (Lieutenant)  
    ZaSu Pitts (Switchboard operator)  
    Madlyn Rhue (Police secretary)  
    Jesse White (Radio tower operator)  
    Lloyd Corrigan (Mayor)  
    Selma Diamond (Voice of Culpeper's wife)  
    Stan Freberg (Deputy sheriff)  
    Louise Glenn (Voice of Billie Sue)  
    Ben Lessy (George, the steward)  
    Bobo Lewis (Pilot's wife)  
    Mike Mazurki (Miner)  
    Nick Stuart (Truck driver)  
    Sammee Tong (Chinese laundryman)  
    Stanley Clements    
    Norman Fell    
    Nicholas Georgiade (Detectives)  
    Jimmy Durante (Smiler Grogan)  
    Allen Jenkins (Police officer)  
    Harry Lauter (Radio operator)  
    Doodles Weaver (Salesman)  
    Tom Kennedy (Traffic cop)  
    Eddie Ryder (Tower radioman)  
    Don Harvey (Helicopter observer)  
    Roy Engel    
    Paul Birch (Patrolmen)  
    Don Van Sickel (Stuntman)  
    Jack Benny (Man on road)  
    Jerry Lewis (Mad driver)  
    Chick Chandler    
    Barbara Pepper    
    Cliff Norton    
    Roy Roberts    
    The Shirelles (Singers in dance sequence)  
    The Four Mads (Players in dance sequence)  

Summary: Passengers from four vehicles rush to the scene of an accident after a fast-moving car sails off the edge of a mountain road and tumbles down a steep embankment. They include J. Russell Finch, president of the Pacific Edible Seaweed Company, who is traveling with his wife, Emmeline, and his shrewish mother-in-law, Mrs. Marcus; dentist Melville Crump and his wife, Monica; gag-writers Benjy Benjamin and Ding Bell; and furniture mover Lennie Pike. The victim, Smiler Grogan, reveals with his dying breath that he has buried $350,000 in stolen money under the "Big W" at Santa Rosita Beach State Park. Unable to determine the identity of the "Big W" or even to decide on a way to divide the cash, the greedy witnesses disperse and head for the park. Along the way, the Finch party takes on Englishman J. Algernon Hawthorne and Mrs. Marcus' beatnik son, Sylvester, and is forced to tell them of the money. The Crumps charter a dilapidated plane to give themselves a time advantage but are later delayed when they are accidentally locked in a department store basement and forced to set off an explosion to free themselves. Benjy and Ding ask drunken millionaire Tyler Fitzgerald to fly them to the site in his private plane, but he accidentally knocks himself unconscious in the cabin, and the two writers are forced to crash-land in an airport restaurant. Lennie, who has demolished a service station in his zeal to reach the park, is forced to take traveling salesman Otto Meyer into his confidence and later swears revenge when Meyer leaves him stranded on the road. Meanwhile, state police captain C. G. Culpeper, who has pursued Grogan for years, is having everyone carefully watched, patiently waiting for them to lead him to the hiding place; the captain, plagued by an unhappy family life and an inadequate pension plan, has decided to steal the money himself. The group, since joined by two taxi drivers, eventually discover four palm trees growing in the shape of a "W," and they uncover the money. Culpeper moves in to arrest the group and then tries to escape with the suitcase full of money. The men in the group pursue him in the two taxis and end up on the top of a fire escape of a condemned building where, in the confusion, the suitcase opens and scatters money to the crowd of spectators below. The fire escape comes unhinged and the fire department tries to rescue the men with a ladder truck, but the ladder topples when everyone climbs on simultaneously. The men are thrown to the ground, and all end up in the hospital--badly injured and under custody, with bankruptcy and prison sentences awaiting them. Culpeper is wondering if he will ever be able to laugh again when the despised Mrs. Marcus enters the corridor and slips on a banana peel. The downtrodden men burst into uncontrollable laughter. 

Production Company: Casey Productions  
Production Text: A Stanley Kramer Production
Distribution Company: United Artists  
Director: Stanley Kramer (Dir)
  Bert Chervin (Asst dir)
  George Batcheller (Asst dir)
  Charles Scott Jr. (Asst dir)
Producer: Stanley Kramer (Pres)
  Stanley Kramer (Prod)
Writer: William Rose (Scr)
  Tania Rose (Story & scr)
Photography: Ernest Laszlo (Dir of photog)
  Irmin Roberts (Addl photog)
  Hal McAlpin (Addl photog)
  Charles Wheeler (Cam op)
  Richard Johnson (Asst cam)
Art Direction: Rudolph Sternad (Prod des)
  Gordon Gurnee (Art dir)
Film Editor: Frederic Knudtson (Film ed)
  Robert C. Jones (Film ed)
  Gene Fowler Jr. (Film ed)
Set Decoration: Joseph Kish (Set dec)
Costumes: Joe King (Cost supv)
  Bill Thomas (Cost des)
Music: Ernest Gold (Mus)
  The Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra (Mus performed by)
Sound: John Kean (Sd eng)
  Walter Elliott (Sd ed)
  Gordon Sawyer (Sd dir)
  Clem Portman (Re-rec)
  Roy Granville (Re-rec)
  Vinton Vernon (Re-rec)
  Art Dunham (Music ed)
Special Effects: Danny Lee (Spec eff)
  Linwood Dunn (Photog eff)
  James Gordon (Photog eff)
  Film Effects of Hollywood (Photog eff)
  Farciot Edouart (Process photog)
Make Up: George Lane (Makeup)
  Lynn Reynolds (Makeup)
  Connie Nichols (Hairstyles)
Production Misc: Ivan Volkman (Asst to the dir)
  Anne Kramer (Asst to prod)
  Clem Beauchamp (Prod mgr)
  Bud Pine (Prod coordinator)
  Marshall Schlom (Scr supv)
  Carey Loftin (Stunt supv)
  Paul Mantz (Aerial supv)
  Frank Tallman (Aerial supv)
  Morris Rosen (Company grip)
  Joe Edesa (Ch gaffer)
  Art Cole (Prop master)
  Stalmaster-Lister Co. (Casting)
  Saul Bass (Main titles)
Country: United States

Songs: "It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World," "Thirty One Flavors" and "You Satisfy My Soul," words and music by by Ernest Gold and Mack David.
Composer: Mack David
  Ernest Gold

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Casey Productions 7/11/1963 dd/mm/yyyy LP28452

Physical Properties: col: Technicolor
  Sd: Westrex
  gauge: 35 & 70
  Widescreen/ratio: Ultra-Panavision, see note

 
Genre: Comedy
 
Subjects (Major): Aeronautics
  Authors
  Automobile accidents
  Beatniks
  English
  Businessmen
  Chases
  Dentists
  Department stores
  Drunkenness
  Explosions
  Family life
  Gas stations
  Fire departments
  Greed
  Hospitals
  Mothers-in-law
  Moving men
  Betrayal
  Police
  Reckless driving
  Rescues
  Robbery
  Santa Rosita Beach State Park (CA)
  Taxicab drivers
  Traveling salesmen
  Trees

Note: Presented in Cinerama. Location scenes filmed in Santa Rosita Beach State Park, California, and across highways from Colorado to San Diego. Screen credits extend thanks to the California communities of Agoura, Kernville, Long Beach, Malibu, Oxnard, Palm Desert, Palm Springs (Palos Verdes Estates), San Pedro, Santa Ana, Santa Barbara, Santa Monica, 29 Palms, Universal City, and Yucca Valley. Reviewed at running times 190--197 min; continuity lists 162 min for 70mm prints and 154 min for 35mm. The 70mm showings included 8 min of music; 16 min of intermission, considered to be part of the presentation in early engagements; and "news bulletins" on the soundtrack reporting progress in the search for the money. 

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
 
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