Stanley Kramer, a producer-director better known for social issue films (Home of the Brave, High Noon, Ship of Fools, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner), decided in 1963 to make a comedy “to end all comedies.” It may not be quite that, but it probably has the largest cast of comedians, in both principal and cameo roles, of all time. Some of the main characters are portrayed by Sid Caesar and Edie Adams, Milton Berle and Ethel Merman, Buddy Hackett, Mickey Rooney, Jonathan Winters and Phil Silvers. A standout in the multitude of cameos is a short appearance of Jimmy Durante performing a great visual pun. All of this merriment surrounds a depressed police captain, played by Spencer Tracy in his penultimate role. And the film is almost one continuous chase sequence. It is also a farsical portrayal of greed in modern American society.
Directed by Stanley Kramer, 1963, United States, 175 min., Rated G
“It is a throwback to the wild, wacky and wondrous time of the silent screen comedy, a kind of Keystone Kop Kaper with modern conveniences.” Variety 12/31/1962
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