Epics were in vogue in the Sixties, and even the early Seventies(although I can't really see a hippie watching any of them), and it was only natural that comedies would get the "big" bug. IT'S A MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD WORLD and THE HALLELUJAH TRAIL make up two of the big three. The other is THE GREAT RACE, Blake Edward's 159 minute slapstick excursion, restored on DVD in complete roadshow fashion, with overture, intermission, entr'acte, and exit music. And yet, for a film of this type, it is less about the race than about the rivalry between Professor Fate (Jack Lemmon) and the Great Leslie (Tony Curtis). There is precious little racing, and though the film is far from boring and has much going for it (the finale to Part One is brilliant) one can't help but wonder what it would have been like if the other entries in the race regrouped after being snuffed out and made their mad dashes for the forefront. That would make it THE GREAT RACE. Also, the lack of other challenge leaves a depressing side effect; the film seems mildly unfinished and undernourished, like 2 hours and 40 minutes of a 3 plus hour movie. And yet, the film has so much going for it that to ignore it is rather unfair. What there is (I should note that due to the previously noted flaws, the chapters on the disc make it a more pleasing experience) is very well made, and one can appreciate what they put into it.
If only they put more.