Jerry Lewis' Finest Work?

Not to be confused with the Mad magazine satire It's a World World World World Mad, tonight's screening of the 1963 comedy epic It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World is the all-star ensemble comedy that prefigured everything from Cannonball Run to the cinema of humiliation. This is the 162-minute version — a version that was trimmed down from its original five-hour (!) cut. The story: A bunch of strangers driving down a highway watch a car hurtle off the road. When they reach the dying driver (who actually kicks a bucket), he gives them clues to finding $350,000 in bank robbery money. They start out as average Americans but, by the time it's over, the prospect of all that money has driven them totally insane as they screw each other over while frantically searching for the big W that marks the spot where the money lies. Also tonight is a sale to benefit the American Cinematheque, with a poster of the film valued at $1,500 signed by many of its stars, including Jonathan Winters, Peter Falk, Sid Caesar, Carl Reiner, Marvin Kaplan, Stan Freberg, Jerry Lewis, Mickey Rooney, Edie Adams and director Stanley Kramer's widow, Karen Sharpe Kramer. Egyptian Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Hlywd.; Thurs., Dec. 29, 7:30 p.m.; $11. (323) 466-FILM.
Thu., Dec. 29, 7:30 p.m., 2011

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