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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Something for everyone
A cast of naional treasures bring a brilliant Broadway show to the big screen, in one of the most fun filled musicals ever created. Stephen Sondheim's music and lyrics are used to great effect with the sets and choreography. Particularly brilliant numbers are the title song "Comedy Tonight" and "Lovely".

Phil Silvers, Jack Gilford and Michael Crawford give us...
Published on 20 May 2009 by Piran Armes

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars A curiosity
Not the greatest of Sondheim's musicals, with surprisingly few songs. Interesting viewed as the forerunner of Up Pompeii and enjoyable for a single watch.
Published 18 months ago by starsailor


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Something for everyone, 20 May 2009
By 
Piran Armes "Piran" (Brighton, U.K.) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum [DVD] (DVD)
A cast of naional treasures bring a brilliant Broadway show to the big screen, in one of the most fun filled musicals ever created. Stephen Sondheim's music and lyrics are used to great effect with the sets and choreography. Particularly brilliant numbers are the title song "Comedy Tonight" and "Lovely".

Phil Silvers, Jack Gilford and Michael Crawford give us plenty of laughs but the true star is the enormously talented Zero Mostel who has us on the floor in every scene he appears in as Pseudolus, the freedom seeking slave, a witty, lazy, lying character who discovers he may be able to get freedom after discovering his masters love for the girl next door. Buster Keaton's appearance as Erronius a man searching for his children is greatly appreciated and he steals any scenes he's in.

When Pseudolus (Zero Mostel) a slave finds out Hero (Michael Crawford) is pining for the girl next door, he sees an opportunity to help him win her heart in exchange for freedom. Of course the road to love is blocked by other people seeking their own best interests out. Could it all end happily?

Locations in Rome are beautifully recreated to make every set believable, as if out of ancient times. There are wonderful costumes, continuing the genuine Roman look, from the slaves to the Roman soldiers. Every building, chariot and extra has been decorated for a brilliant authenticity.

A particularly brilliant moment occurs in the Chariot chase while many characters are chasing and running away from each other. It's difficult to follow who is who the first time you see this scene and even more confusing for the characters as the people they chase down turn out to be men dressed up as women or alleged lepers.

No special features to speak of on this release, just the original theatrical trailer. The soundtrack's available in English, German, French, Italian and Spanish. It also has subtitles in French, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Swedish, Finnish, Norwegian, Danish and Greek.

Superb songs, romance, comedy and a cast that will glue you to the screen, this truly has something for everyone. Though this movie may seem too ancient for some people it has aged without change, every joke, song and tall story are still as enjoyable as they were yesteryear. Take time out of your day to watch this film a quote should help.
Pseudolus: An honest virgin! What a terrible combination!
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, 16 Mar 2006
By 
bernie "xyzzy" (Arlington, Texas) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum [DVD] (DVD)
I first saw this movie in 1966 at a theater in Fort Polk. At the time, the term socially correct did not exist. I saw the play twice since then. Usually when plays are adapted, there is a loss of spontaneity. In this case, they replace a few songs with some better one-liners and facial expressions that would have been lost at a distance. They added in the obligatory chase scene where everyone gets mixed up.
The location is ancient Rome beautify recreated.
This movie is one of those farces where several overlapping stories are made coherent by one main character Pseudolus (Zero Mostel). He plays a mischievous slave who would do just about anything for his freedom.
Naturally the names reflect the character of the named.
Pseudolus (Zero Mostel) is a slave that wants his freedom at any cost.
Marcus Lycus (Phil Silvers) is in trouble for selling dud eunuchs and dud virgins.
Erronius (Buster Keaton) lost is kids to pirates years ago and is looking for them.
Hero (Michael Crawford) is in love with something called a virgin in the house of Lycus. (A place of dubious reputation).
Hysterium (Jack Gilford) is winsome.
Captain Miles Gloriosus (Leon Greene) is coming to claim his bride.
Somewhere in all this is a gaggle of geese.
If I were to describe all the great actors and plots this review would be pages long. So I will just say that this movie is "Something familiar, something peculiar, something for everyone: a comedy tonight!"
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In the best tradition of Carry On and Frankie Howard..., 3 Jan 2002
By 
M. J. Webber (Stoke-on-Trent, England) - See all my reviews
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A Funny Thing Happened is a thoroughly enjoyable farcical comedy set in ancient Rome. The main protagonist is a loyal and long-serving slave who seeks his freedom from the eccentric Roman family he serves. Though frequently saucy, the film is family-suitable (definitely milder than Frankie Howard's "Up Pompeii"!), contains several good songs, and is definitely laugh-a-minute material. The plot follows the well-known principle that the only way to solve a knotty situation is to fabricate two more even knottier situations, all with the promise of Certain Death should anything go awry:)
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Funny Thing? Hilarious, actually.., 1 Jan 2003
By A Customer
Despite seeming dated in these days of CGI Technology, this film is quite frankly, hilariously funny. The film (based on the stage show) successfully re-creates Ancient Rome, (but with a brilliant musical score), and many humorous situations surrounding the wealthy upper classes and the problems caused by their slaves and neighbours. The slave Pseudelous (played by the late, great Zero Mostel with panache) is desperate to gain/win/buy/steal (pick one) his freedom, but his repeated attempts at doing so mean that he lands himself in sticky situations, whilst taking his young master along for the ride!
The best way to sum up this under-rated film would be to say: think 'Carry On' in Ancient Rome, but with more wit.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fine Blend, 10 May 2009
This review is from: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum [DVD] (DVD)
Firstly, you cannot fail to be pleased at the price!

Sad as it seems, I bought this because I remembered being smitten by the 'love interest' girl when I first saw this film aged 9!!

However, I would describe this as a classic farce. It is a light, humorous film (with songs) and a blend of comedy from three different eras.
Zero Mostel was the established comedian of the sixties, with Buster Keaton in there from the twenties and Michael Crawford who was to become so big in the seventies.

This is 'Up Pompeii' on acid and I recommend it whole-heartedly.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BRILLIANT!, 8 July 2004
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This film is one of my all-time favourites. Having studied 20 plays of the Roman playwright Titus Maccius Plautus, the writers constructed a 'new' Plautine play using some of the stock characters of Rome in the 2nd century BC: the clever slave who wants to buy his freedom, the young hero in love with an unsuitable girl, children stolen in infancy by pirates, and a houseful of beautiful courtesans ('That's for those of you who have absolutely no interest in pirates...')
I recently saw the stage play in London and the film-makers were right to remove some of the duller songs and put in scenes from the baths, arena and temple and to top it all with a hilarious chariot-race finale. Zero Mostel, Phil Silvers, Jack Gilford and the late, great Buster Keaton are all superb, their New York Jewish humour fits perfectly in this Roman farce. And Michael Crawford does his own stunts - as usual.
The musical was filmed in Spain and the street and house scenes of 'Roman Life' are superb: the stonemason's shop, the butcher's, the fullers, the baths, the aqueduct... When I taught Latin I used to show this film at our end-of-term Latin party.
Run don't walk to buy this masterpiece.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 11 July 2014
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This review is from: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum [DVD] (DVD)
For drama club
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5.0 out of 5 stars Funny and musical, 20 Jun 2014
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This review is from: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum [DVD] (DVD)
Zero Mostel at his best and a host of other stars with music to keep it on track, buy it
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very Funny, 24 Feb 2014
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This review is from: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum [DVD] (DVD)
I had never seen this but my husband requested it for Christmas so I sat and watched it with him and we never stopped laughing
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4.0 out of 5 stars Naught goings on in Ancient Rome, 22 Feb 2014
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This review is from: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum [DVD] (DVD)
Possibly inspired by the BBC series 'Up Pompeii' but a musical comedic adventure and just crazy comedy set around the time of Ancient Rome. Michael Hordern is the self important blustering Senator with a very young Michael Crawford as his 'soft, romantic and poetic son just as clueless as his father. Great main character played by Zero Mostell as the household slave/major domo up to all sorts of mischief as he tries to get enough money to buy his freedom ably assisted by Phil Silvers (Sgt Bilko) as the local brothel owner. Great comedy and enjoyable musical interludes surrounding the action. Originally a stage production now well translated to film action
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