Great Moments In Film – The Great Race (1965)
Now for something completely lighthearted. The Great Race is one of those movies that they simply don’t make any more. A complete slapstick fare (and surprisingly witty at times), it shows a race around the world mainly between stuntman The Great Leslie (Tony Curtis), feminist journalist Maggie Dubois (Natalie Wood), and rival stuntman Professor Fate (Jack Lemmon) along with his dimwitted lackey Maximilian Meen (Peter Falk).
This is toward the end of the race in the fictional small kingdom of Carpania in Eastern Europe. It just so happens that Fate looks exactly like Crown Prince Frederick Hoepnick (also played by Lemmon) and the military would like nothing more than to replace the drunken spoiled prince in a plot similar to The Man in the Iron Mask. After the plot has been revealed, everyone tries to escape and to win the race. Fortunately for us, the chase ends up in a bakery where an out of control pie fight begins. Try to tell me this doesn’t look fun.
A bit of trivia: the Hanna Barbera cartoon “Wacky Races” was based on this movie. Fate and Max would become Dick Dastardly and his dog Muttley while Maggie inspired Penelope Pitstop.
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