This is a very enjoyable comedy. With 1965’s “The Great Race”, we get an excellent romp that spans across the entire globe that makes use of its humor to a great extent. In the film, we have stars like Tony Curtis, Natalie Wood, and Jack Lemmon that shows comedy hasn’t aged a bit. And even though the movie is a bit on the long side, I still feel that if you have time on your hands, you should see this film. “The Great Race” is a hilarious and entertaining movie that you might want to add to your collection.
The plot involves two daredevils at the turn of the 20th Century: The Great Leslie (Curtis), who is a proper gentleman, and Professor Fate (Lemmon), who loves cheating. These two men try performing dangerous stunts with Leslie always succeeding and leaving Fate stuck in the mud. One day, Leslie proposes a car race from New York to Paris; Fate overhears and accepts Leslie’s challenge. Also joining in the race is a female suffragette named Maggie Dubois (Wood) in which she reports the race from start to finish. What follows is a global trek that covers a bar fight in the old west, to a meeting with a drunken prince (also played by Lemmon), and the world’s largest pie fight.
“The Great Race” is a laugh riot from beginning to end. The acting is perfect, the costumes and sets fit the time period well, and Henry Mancini’s music is lively throughout the entire production. But it’s Jack Lemmon’s performance as Professor Fate that really steals the show. The way he acts is undoubtedly one of the best characters ever put on film. Also, his portrayal as the drunken prince in the second half of the movie is the funniest performance in the entire production. This is the main reason as to why I love this film, Jack Lemmon was one of the best comedic actors of all time and it shows here.
Now if I were to criticize the film for any reason, it’s that there are two major problems. First of all, the special effects are terrible. What I mean by this is that whenever a character is put next to a background, you can obviously tell that the background is a green screen. But the real problem that might send some people off is the running time of the film. At 2½ hours, the movie is a little long. Yet the action keeps moving at a fast pace that way it keeps you interested all the way through.
Overall, “The Great Race” is a fantastic comedy that I encourage people to enjoy. It may be a bit slow, but it keeps you guessing as to whom will finally win. If you are up for a remarkable, and pleasing, laugh, then I suggest that you give this movie a go. Fun fact: this movie inspired the Hanna-Barbera animated TV series Wacky Races.