The Great Race

Director: Blake Edwards
Year Released: 1965
Rating: 2.0

"The Great Leslie" (Tony Curtis), a daredevil/stuntman, proposes a race from New York to Paris via automobile (!?) - the movie doesn't care that this involves crossing the Bering Sea - and is challenged by wacky Prof. Fate (Jack Lemmon) and his evil sidekick Maximilian Meen (Peter Falk) - there to tag along (and switch sides when it suits her) is spunky journalist/suffragette Maggie (Natalie Wood). For Edwards, this is homage to slapstick comedy, and while he definitely goes 'all in' - there's not only a huge bar brawl, there's also a pie fight - the appeal of this diminishes the longer it putters on: there simply isn't enough of a story to be worth a three-hour 'epic' (like a last-minute college essay, there's noticeable 'padding'). Some enjoyment can be gleaned from the oddball tandem of Lemmon and Falk - Jack, in particular, takes joy in the opportunity to over-act - and its shameless goofiness might be considered by some to be an asset. I'm curious as to what was more intolerable for Mr. Curtis: filming this or kissing Hitler?