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great race

THE GREAT RACE (1965)

Dedicated to Laurel and Hardy, Blake Edwards' The Great Race is an old school, wacky-slapstick  transcontinental road race which takes place in 1920.  "The Great" Leslie convinces a group of innovative automakers that a race from New York to Paris will skyrocket automobile sales. Of course, Leslie's nemesis, "Professor Fate," promises to beat Leslie at his own game. Hilarity ensues as the various competitors compete in the long trek, trying to gain the advantage, sometimes using whatever means possible, not always in the best spirit of competition.

The frothy cast includes: Tony Curtis, Natalie Wood, Jack Lemmon, Peter Falk, Keenan Wynn, Larry Storch, Dorothy Provine, Arthur O' Connell, Vivian Vance, Ross Martin, and George Macready.

Director Blake Edwards' "The Great Race" is a long, but thoroughly entertaining classic screen comedy.

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In the opening of this film, there is a dedication to the great Laural and Hardy comedy team. The basic story involves an international auto race (circa 1920), that goes westward across America, through the Bering Straight and Russia.This race is planned by turn-of-the-century auto makers, after agreeing with the dashing, adventuresome "white suited hero," the Great Leslie (Tony Curtis) that such a race would promote auto sales. Of course the Great Leslie's arch nemesis, the black attired Professor Fate (Jack Lemon), joins the race, with his side-kick, Max (Peter Falk), using one of his own specially designed cars.When Professor Fate turns out to be the spitting image of royal Prince Hapnik, humorous complications ensue.

This hilarious, slapstick, wacky sexy adventure yarn is the result of a brilliant screenplay by the enormously talented Blake Edwards and writer Arthur Ross, surperb direction by Blake Edwards, and a very talented cast that really enjoyed themselves acting in this classic comedy.

Tony Curtis, riding high on his crest of fame, is great as the good guy hero. A fun running gag has his teeth flashing animated sparkles when he smiles.

Natalie Wood is convincing as Maggie DuBois, a pretty and intelligent woman race participant, who would do anything to stay in this crazy race. While Natalie Wood was always a pretty lady, looks PARTICULARLY good in this movie, even when she runs around wet, in an undignified state of dress, and in uncomfortable circumstances.

Jack Lemon gives a fine performance as both the bad guy Professor Fate, and Prince Hapnik, who strives to be a thorn in the Great Leslie's side and win in whatever way he can - honestly or dishonestly

Jack Lemon and Peter Falk's comedic interactions, and bumbling mistakes are much like the Laural and Hardy comedy team.

A favorite scene is an elaborate pie fight. The gimmick of having Tony Curtis, dressed in white, walking through the messy pie fight without getting hit, (for awhile), is cute.

Ross Martin, right before his Artemus Gordon ("Wild, Wild, West") fame, is great as an evil foreign dude, Baron Rolfe von Stuppe A sword fight between Martin and Curtis is one of the film's highlights.

If you enjoyed THE GREAT RACE you may like THE MAGNIFICENT MEN IN THEIR FLYING MACHINES, THE PINK PANTHER, A SHOT IN THE DARK, SEX AND THE SINGLE GIRL, REVENGE OF THE PINK PANTHER, S.O.B., and 10.

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