Oscar Movies: It’s a Mad, Mad World (1963)

Despite shortcomings and excessive running time, this all-star Cinerama adventure, produced and directed by Stanley Kramer was very popular at the time.

The comedy begins during a massive traffic jam, caused by reckless driver Smiler Grogan (Jimmy Durante), who tells the drivers that he’s buried a fortune in stolen loot, “under the Big W.”

The various motorists then embark on a mad adventure. They include a dentist (Sid Caesar) and his wife (Edie Adams); a henpecked husband (Milton Berle) traveling with his mother-in-law (Ethel Merman) and his brother-in-law (Dick Shawn); two comedy writers (Buddy Hackett and Mickey Rooney); a slow-wit (Jonathan Winters), a wheeler-dealer (Phil Silvers), and a pair of cabdrivers (Peter Falk and Eddie “Rochester” Anderson).

But, alas, honest police detective, Capt. C.G. Culpepper (Spencer Tracy), is monitoring every move that fortune hunters make

Part of the fun was spotting the cameo stars by Carl Reiner, Terry-Thomas, Arnold Stang, Buster Keaton, Jack Benny, Jerry Lewis, and The Three Stooges.

Beware: There are different cuts: a 154-minute version, a restored one of 175 minutes.

Oscar Nominations: 6

Cinematography (Color): Ernest Laszlo

Sound: Gordon Sawyer

Song: It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, music by Ernest Gold, lyrics by Mack David

Music Score: Ernest Gold

Film Editing: Frederic Knudtson, Robert C. Jones, Gene Fowler, Jr.

Sound Effects: Walter G. Elliott

Oscar Awards: 1

Sound Effects

Oscar Context:

The Cinematography Oscar was won by Leon Shamroy for Cleopatra

How the West Was Won received the Oscar for Sound and Editing.

John Addison won the Score Oscar for Tom Jones