Search DVDBeaver

S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

 

H D - S E N S E I

A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World [Blu-ray]

 

(Stanley Kramer, 1963)

 

MGM - Region FREE Blu-ray - LEFT vs. Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - RIGHT

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Casey Productions

Video: MGM / Criterion

 

Disc:

Region: FREE! \ Region 'A' (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 2:39:29.601 \ 2:43:27.422 \ Extended: 3:17:35.009

Disc Size: 47,852,172,313 bytes \ Disc 1: 49,027,302,308 bytes \ Disc 2: 47,555,611,675 bytes

Feature Size: 41,233,692,672 bytes \ 35,785,334,784 bytes \ Extended: 38,862,249,984 bytes

Video Bitrate: 28.01 Mbps \ 23.92 Mbps \ Extended: 21.01 Mbps

Chapters: 32 \ 19 \ 21 

Case: Standard Blu-ray case \ 5 tiered digipak with sleeves (see photo below)

Release date: February 7th, 2012 \ January 21st, 2014

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 2.74:1 \ 2.75:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 3848 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3848 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit / DN -4dB)
Dolby Digital Audio French 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 256 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 256 kbps / DN -4dB

DTS-HD Master Audio English 3684 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3684 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)

Extended:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 3596 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3596 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Commentary: Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), French, Spanish, none

English, none

 

Extras:

Something a Little Less Serious: A Tribute to It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World (1:01:21 4:3 in 480i)

• Extended Scenes (59:16 in 480i)

• Trailer (3:27 in 1080P)

• Reissue Trailer (3:21 in 1080P)

New audio commentary featuring It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World aficionados Mark Evanier, Michael Schlesinger, and Paul Scrabo
New documentary on the film’s visual and sound effects, featuring interviews with visual-effects specialist Craig Barron and sound designer Ben Burtt (36:28)
Excerpt from a 1974 talk show hosted by director Stanley Kramer and featuring Mad World actors Sid Caesar, Buddy Hackett, and Jonathan Winters (36:46)
Press interview from 1963 featuring Kramer and cast members (35:08)
Excerpts about the influence of the film from the 2000 AFI program 100 Years . . . 100 Laughs (11:10)
Two-part 1963 episode of the TV program Telescope that follows the film’s press junket and premiere ('A Winters Tale' 24:56 + Part 2 - 'A Junket Into Madness' - 25:22)
The Last 70mm Film Festival, a 2012 program featuring Mad World cast and crew, hosted by actor Billy Crystal (37:38)
Selection of humorist and voice-over artist Stan Freberg’s original TV and radio ads for the film, with a new introduction by Freberg

Restoration Demonstration (5:20)
Trailers and radio spots from both 1963 and 1970 re-release
Two Blu-rays and three DVDs, with all content available in both formats
PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film critic Lou Lumenick and new illustrations by legendary cartoonist Jack Davis, along with a map of the shooting locations by artist Dave Woodman

 

Bitrate:

1) MGM - Region FREE Blu-ray - TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - MIDDLE

3) Criterion (Extended) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray  - BOTTOM

 

 

Description: With this all-star Cinerama epic, producer/director Stanley Kramer vowed to make the comedy that would end all comedies.... The story begins during a massive traffic jam, caused by reckless driver Smiler Grogan (Jimmy Durante), who, before (literally) kicking the bucket, cryptically tells the assembled drivers that he's buried a fortune in stolen loot, under the Big W. The various motorists setting out on a mad scramble include a dentist (Sid Caesar) and his wife (Edie Adams); a henpecked husband (Milton Berle) accompanied by his mother-in-law (Ethel Merman) and his beatnik brother-in-law (Dick Shawn); a pair of comedy writers (Buddy Hackett and Mickey Rooney); and a variety of assorted nuts including a slow-wit (Jonathan Winters), a wheeler-dealer (Phil Silvers), and a pair of covetous cabdrivers (Peter Falk and Eddie Rochester Anderson). Monitoring every move that the fortune hunters make is a scrupulously honest police detective (Spencer Tracy). Virtually every lead, supporting, and bit part in the picture is filled by a well-known comic actor: the laughspinning lineup also includes Carl Reiner, Terry-Thomas, Arnold Stang, Buster Keaton, Jack Benny, Jerry Lewis, and The Three Stooges, who get one of the picture's biggest laughs by standing stock still and uttering not a word.

 

***

Criterion packaging:

 

 

***

Stanley Kramer followed his Oscar-winning Judgment at Nuremberg with this sobering investigation of American greed. Ah, who are we kidding? It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, about a group of strangers fighting tooth and nail over buried treasure, is the most grandly harebrained movie ever made, a pileup of slapstick and borscht-belt-y one-liners performed by a nonpareil cast, including Milton Berle, Sid Caesar, Ethel Merman, Mickey Rooney, Spencer Tracy, Jonathan Winters, and a boatload of other playing-to-the-rafters comedy legends. For sheer scale of silliness, Kramer’s wildly uncharacteristic film is unlike any other, an exhilarating epic of tomfoolery.

 

 

The Film:

When It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World was completed, Spencer Tracy told Stanley Kramer it was the most fun he had ever had on a film set.

With $10 million in grosses in 1964, It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World was the second highest-grossing film of that year, just behind The Carpetbaggers. As of 1970, it had made $60 million worldwide.

It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World opened on November 7, 1963, as the premiere presentation at Hollywood's new Cinerama Dome.

The day before the film's November 17, 1963 New York premiere -- the film was shown in a special charity preview to benefit the Kennedy Child Study Center and the Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Institute. It was the last public screening ever attended by the Kennedy family before the assassination of President John F. Kennedy shortly thereafter.

Excerpt from TCM located HERE

It's a wonderfully crazy and colorful collection of "chase" comedy, so crowded with plot and people that it almost splits the seams of its huge Cinerama packing and its 3-hour-and-12-minute length. It's mad, as it says, with its profusion of so many stars, so many "names," playing leading to 5-second bit roles, that it seems to be a celebrities' parade. And it is also, for all its crackpot clowning and its racing and colliding of automobiles, a pretty severe satirizing of the money madness and motorized momentum of our age.

When its producer-director, Stanley Kramer, started to do this film, which had its official public opening (as distinct from its Sunday benefit showing) last night at the Warner Theater, he said he wanted to make it "a comedy to end all comedies." I'm glad to say he hasn't quite succeeded, but he has certainly made it one to reckon with.

Excerpt from Bosley Crowther at the NY Times located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World surfaced on Blu-ray via brick-and mortar Wal-Marts and some e-tailors in 2011.  It is available now through Amazon. The image quality is extremely impressive. Colors are brilliant, contrast may be a shade heavy - not moiring, but closer than some may like - however, overall it looks significantly better than I would have anticipated for a film almost 50-years old. This is dual-layered and with the assistance of the rich black levels - detail is a triumph. I don't see signs of restoration - and expect it didn't require any - the 65mm print is exceptionally clean with strong density. I measure the aspect ratio at about 2.74:1. This Blu-ray is a real treat for fans of the film. The quality, with frequent depth, had me impressed on many occasions. Colors are exceptional.

 

Criterion offer two Blu-rays each with a different version of the film. The first has a 2 3/4 hour version, while the second Blu-ray disc has the, much anticipated, Extended version running over 3 1/4 hours. Firstly, the original 'Roadshow' version of the film ran over 202 minutes (3 hours 22-minutes), including overture, intermission, and exit music. With the participation of producer/director Stanley Kramer, the film was subsequently cut down to about 163 minutes (2 hours 43 minutes) for general theatrical release. Much of the deleted footage has since been lost, or destroyed, but approximately twenty minutes' worth still exists, from 70mm release prints or audio-only elements. In 1991 MGM/UA released an extended version of the film on laserdisc that incorporated all the missing footage available at the time. Criterion is actually presenting a new extended version that includes even more rediscovered footage. To maintain continuity, they have inserted still photographs for the scenes that exist only as audio, and supplied subtitles where the audio is missing. Lead credit on the restoration (extended version) goes to Robert Harris.

 

Both Criterion 1080P versions are a small technical notch below the MGM transfer. But I can't distinguish much difference between the three in image quality. We have only compared the 'Extended" version below to the MGM as the first Criterion Blu-ray seems to export the same image. The Criterion might have very marginally cooler skin tones. I doubt many will note any huge disparity - excepting, of course, of the inclusion of the re-inserted sequences (see some sample at the very bottom.)

 

NOTE: After the 'Intermission' and before the 'Entr'acte' the extended version has a series of long gaps separated by police-band radio dispatches with no video. There are around 7-minutes of this after the 'Intermission' titles card and before the 'Entr'acte' one.  I found it a little odd, although some of the police radio information tied a few plot details a bit more cohesively. I was only scratching my head at the long gaps. 

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

MGM - Region FREE Blu-ray - TOP vs. Criterion (Extended) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

MGM - Region FREE Blu-ray - TOP vs. Criterion (Extended) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

MGM - Region FREE Blu-ray - TOP vs. Criterion (Extended) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

MGM - Region FREE Blu-ray - TOP vs. Criterion (Extended) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

MGM - Region FREE Blu-ray - TOP vs. Criterion (Extended) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

MGM - Region FREE Blu-ray - TOP vs. Criterion (Extended) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

MGM - Region FREE Blu-ray - TOP vs. Criterion (Extended) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

MGM - Region FREE Blu-ray - TOP vs. Criterion (Extended) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

MGM - Region FREE Blu-ray - TOP vs. Criterion (Extended) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

MGM - Region FREE Blu-ray - TOP vs. Criterion (Extended) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

MGM - Region FREE Blu-ray - TOP vs. Criterion (Extended) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

MGM - Region FREE Blu-ray - TOP vs. Criterion (Extended) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

Some inserted sequences (note inconsistencies - color alignment, Asian subtitles, still for audio but no video, damage etc.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

The DTS-HD Master 5.1 at 3848 kbps is almost as impressive as the video. Ernest Gold's score is crisp and tight with bass depth and lively orchestrations. There is some notable separation although nothing I would consider dynamic. I thought this sounded quite strong. There are optional subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.

 

Both Criterion versions sound very close to each other - as well as to the MGM. They are also reasonably strong 5.1 DTS-HD Master tracks and my ears aren't capable of distinguishing a difference. The first Blu-ray Criterion offers optional English subtitles but the Extended version reserves the subtitle option for the scenes with missing audio. I wasn't able to get them to work on the bulk of the feature with the subtitle button of my Oppo. Both Criterion Blu-ray discs are region 'A'-locked. 

 

Extras :

Extras include the hour-long 3:4 vintage video featurette 'Something a Little Less Serious: A Tribute to It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World' that has interesting input from many of those involved including Kramer and the evolution of the massive project. There are the previously release hour's worth of Extended Scenes, as well as a trailer and re-issue trailer both in 1080P.

 

Criterion have really stacked the deck with supplements - on both Blu-rays. The first new format disc has more vintage extras including a 36-minute excerpt from a 1974 talk show hosted by director Stanley Kramer and featuring Mad World actors Sid Caesar, Buddy Hackett, and Jonathan Winters. Of similar length is a 1963 press interview featuring Kramer and Milton Berle, Mickey Rooney and Winters again. It was recorded in 63' and sent to local television stations as a publicity piece. The interviewer's questions were not recorded so that the stations broadcasting could edit in their own reporter. Criterion have recorded and inserted the questions based on the original interview transcript. Also from 1963 is a two-part episode of the TV CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) program Telescope that follows the film’s press junket and Los Angeles premiere at the Cinerama Dome. It is divided into two segments - 'A Winters Tale' running 25-minutes and a 'A Junket Into Madness' running slightly longer. The film features footage of the cast of the film and a host of Hollywood celebrities. There are also a host of Trailers and radio spots from both 1963 and 1970 re-release including a selections of humorist and voice-over artist Stan Freberg’s original TV and radio ads for the film, with a new introduction by Freberg who was hired by Kramer to create an innovative advertising campaign for the film.

The Extended version Blu-ray offers a new, 2013, audio commentary featuring It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World aficionados Mark Evanier, Michael Schlesinger, and Paul Scrabo. It covers so much about the production and the three hours is filled with valuable data. It's hard to believe that anyone would know more about It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World than these three chaps. We also get a new documentary on the film’s visual and sound effects, featuring interviews with visual-effects specialist Craig Barron and sound designer Ben Burtt. For almost 40-minites they discuss the film's extensive use of complex visual and sound effects. The program also features rare behind-the-scenes footage of the visuals effects crew at work. The Last 70mm Film Festival, is a 2012 program featuring Mad World cast and crew, hosted by actor Billy Crystal at the Samuel Goldwyn Theatre in Beverly Hills, a screening presented by managing director of programming, education, and preservation Randy Haberkamp. The 38-minute piece also features an onstage reunion of the cast and crew members of the film. Highly interesting is a 5.5 minute Restoration Demonstration that shows many of the details behind the restored Roadshow footage and how it was infused into the version on this
Blu-ray. It seemed like an incredible ordeal. There are also excerpts about the influence of the film from the 2000 AFI program 100 Years . . . 100 Laughs running about 11-minutes. It reveals the results of a poll conducted on the 100 best comedy films of all time. It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World came in at number forty. Actors and comediennes are featured discussing their favorites on the list, and several talk about the influence of Mad World including Janeane Garofolo, Whoopi Goldberg, David Alan Grier, Charles Grodin, Alan King and cast members from the film. Their comments are excerpted in this video. The package contains two Blu-rays and three DVDs, with all content available in both formats and has a liner notes booklet featuring an essay by film critic Lou Lumenick and new illustrations by legendary cartoonist Jack Davis, along with a map of the shooting locations by artist Dave Woodman.

 

MGM - Region FREE Blu-ray - LEFT vs. Criterion (Disc 1) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - RIGHT

 

 
 

Criterion - Blu-ray Disc 2 (Extended)

 

BOTTOM LINE:
I loved revisiting this film in 1080P. It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World remains a gem of comedy and has a timeless quality. I feel I could easily watch it once a year. The cameos alone are fun to spot. The Blu-ray is an incredible deal at $15 - one of the best bargains of the year to-date. We strongly recommend!

 

What fun wading through Criterion's massive release. It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World only grows in its ability to create humor... and joy. Fans of the film will be the most appreciative recipients of this package with the extended version and multitude of extras including the commentary. Even after watching both versions - I want to do it all over again. I am always so thrilled when I see so much effort put into a digital package. I am thinking this should be recognized on our Desert Island list. We certainly recommend to anyone, both familiar and unfamiliar with, It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World. Enjoy. 

Gary Tooze

February 1st, 2012

January 15th, 2013

About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

       HIGH DEFINITION DVD STORE     ALL OUR NEW FORMAT DVD REVIEWS

 

 




 

Hit Counter

 

DONATIONS Keep DVDBeaver alive:

 CLICK PayPal logo to donate!

Gary Tooze

Thank You!