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4.4 out of 5 stars
The Great Race [VHS] [1965]
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on 4 August 2010
Watching this was a pure nostalgia trip for me as I can only remember watching it on tv when I was about 6 years old one Christmas time. I could only vaguely recollect one or two scenes of the film but it is a joy to own on dvd some 30 odd years later. Jack Lemmon, physically unrecognisable in this film because of the great job done by the make-up dept, plays the Dick Dastardly role with Peter Falk his sidekick, played in the cartoon series by a dog called Mutley! Natalie Wood is gorgeous in the film which probably inspired the cartoon Penelope Pitstop. Tony Curtis plays his part of Lemmon's nemesis very well but for me, Lemmon, as he often has done in his career, steals the show with brilliant over-the-top humour.

It has great picture and sound quality, so if you want a film that is Silly with a capital "S", a great cast of acting, a huge food fight, a real polar bear and fun all the way from start to finish, this could be for you. Play it at Christmas time; the kids and the kid in you will love it.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 8 December 2003
This has to be one of the funniest films ever made. I never fail to laugh at something that I have perhaps not noticed before or have merely forgotten; but whenever I watch the film I get real pleasure. Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis & Natalie Wood are the stars along with all the cars/stunts/songs - this is a real "feel good" film. They don't make 'em like this now!
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on 2 January 2004
THE GREAT RACE may not be a masterpiece--but it is a perfect choice for a cold and rainy night: stylish, frothy, and often flatly hilarious, it makes for "comfort viewing" at its best.
One of the movie's several charms is that it draws heavily from Victorian cliches that still linger in the public mind, gives them a gentle comic spin, and then drops them into the tale of an early 1900s auto race from New York to Paris by way of Siberia. Add to this a heap of favorite character actors, a big budget, flamboyant period costumes, and the biggest pie fight ever filmed, and you have a movie where there is always something to enjoy on the screen.
The great thing about THE GREAT RACE are the performances, which are very broad but endowed with a sly humor. The comedy accolades here go to Jack Lemmon and Peter Falk as the notorious Dr. Fate and his bumbling sidekick Max--wonderful bits of acting that will have you hooting with laughter in every scene--and Dorothy Provine scores memorably in a cameo as Lily Olay, the bombshell singer who presides over the most rootin'-tootin' saloon this side of the Pecos.
But every one, from Tony Curtis and the lovely Natalie Wood down to such cameo performers as Vivian Vance, get in plenty of comic chops as the film drifts from one outrageous episode to another: suffergettes crowding a newspaper, the biggest western brawl imaginable, polar bears, explosions, daredevil antics, and a subplot lifted from THE PRISONER OF ZENDA agreeably crowd in upon each other. True, the film does seem over-long and may drag a bit in spots, but it never drags for very long, and it's all in good fun--and the production values and memorable score easily tide over the bare spots.
The DVD bonuses aren't anything to write home about, and the film has not been restored per se--the color seems a bit faded here and there--but the print is remarkably clean and the widescreen format is an essential. This would be an excellent selection for a family movie night--or for any evening when you're alone and feeling a bit blue. Break out the popcorn, curl up on you sofa, and... as Dr. Fate would say... "Push the button, Max!"
GFT, Amazon Reviewer
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 25 March 2003
I saw the movie at the age of 15, almost daily singing along to Natalie Wood on guitar! :)
I had been looking for a copy of the movie for 4-5 years when I finally found it at Amazon. It's a classic with capital C, funny and unforgetable. Tony and Natalie look amazing and Jack proves that he is one of the best comedians ever!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 4 July 2001
An absolutely brilliant film. If you haven't seen it, you don't know what you've missed! Jack Lemmon is excellent as Professor Fate and Prince Hapnik, and the pie fight is so funny, has me in stitches each time I see it. The whole film is a gem. Has me laughing all the way through it. And did you know, Professor Fate and Max were the charachters Dastardly and Muttley were based on?? No, neither did I until my dad told me...
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 27 June 2011
A classic comedy platform for Hollywood 'A' lister's; Tony Curtis, Natalie Wood, Jack Lemmon & Peter Falk. The story may not be the most original, but the script and performances stand the test of time well. Many memorable scenes, including 'the great pie fight' - when Curtis manages to remain unmarked, whilst all around is pie flying mayhem, when Curtis, Wood, Lemmon & Falk, are stranded on an ever reducing iceberg, but which somehow seems to keep both vehicles out of the sea untill they meet dry land, and an Errol Flynn'esque type sword fight in a castle, in which Curtis is able to demonstrate his athletic prowess, and skills with a blade. Great entertainment for a few hours, on a rainy afternoon!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 18 April 2001
This film does rate watching, regardless of your age and comedy preferences- there's guaranteed to be something in here that makes you chuckle, if the film doesn't make you bust a gut laughing from start to finish. The movie concerns, as you may expect, a great race form New York to Paris, devised to settle the differences between Professor Fate (Jack Lemmon) and The Great Leslie (Tony Curtis), two "entertainers", trying to outperform each other with death defying Houdiniesque stunts and feats of daring in 1930's America. To sum up, it's Roadrunner meets Wacky Races in film format, with lighthearted sideswipes at many film classics on the way. Slapstick and one liners abound- a true Edwards classic if ever there was one. Watch out for Peter Falk, (Max), later to become Columbo, in his best film performance...
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on 7 February 2005
What needs to be said about this film? It is a classic. Jack Lemmon and Peter Falk make superb comic villians and must have given rise to the idea of Dastardly and Muttley. The custard pie fight is the biggest you're ever likely to see. In all, an excellent fun filled family film that can be watched time and again. Now the interesting stuff .....
I bought a Region 1 DVD copy from bestpricecds via Amazon. Yes it is NTSC but it plays quite happily on both my Region-Free DVD player and my Region 2 player. Ummmm! Maybe this is a Region 0 DVD as other Region 1 DVDs will not play on my Region 2 player!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 25 February 2011
I first saw this film when I was young, and it was being repeated on television. Having seen "Wacky Races" before that, I instantly began to connect Jack Lemmon's deliciously evil Professor Fate with Dick Dastardly, and Tony Curtis' heroic-if-annoying Leslie Gallant III with Peter Perfect. Several years on, I still enjoy this film even as an adult, although one nagging doubt has since creeped in.

When foucssing on the race itself, we are only shown Prof. Fate and The Great Leslie. I have absolutely no problem with this, as Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis are both brilliant actors and were, in my opinion, among the best American comic actors to have ever graced the big screen. But the trouble is, we never get a break from them. All the other drivers are knocked out of the race very early on, meaning that we don't get a chance of a rest, to see what else is happening during these events.

Looking at similar films, such as "Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines" and "Monte Carlo or Bust", we see more than just two or three characters. The audience is given a chance to have a break from Stuart Whitman fixing his Bristol Boxkite or Terry-Thomas trying every trick in the book to win the Monte Carlo Rally. They have a variety of characters for the audience to engage with, and the same went for "Wacky Races", with its wide variety of zany characters.

But don't let my complaining spoil it for you. Even though the number of characters is limited, the humour thankfully isn't. We get sent on a non-stop movie of laughs and gags only matched by the zany slapstick of "Looney Tunes". We even get to see Jack Lemmon do a wonderful turn as the foppish ruler of Carpania on top of his oh-so-evil Professor. The acting is superb, the sets perfect, and the script tailor-made for anybody who enjoys a good slapstick comedy!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 24 January 2004
I saw this film when it was first released; it has remained an all time family favourite. It's a film with every thing; drama, romance, comedy, action, adventure, and archetypal "goodies and "baddies". Perfect for a wet Sunday afternoon!
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