Take 3: It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, World Review

If you’re wondering why I’m publishing this review for The Second Spencer Tracy & Katharine Hepburn Blogathon early, it’s because I will be attending an event during the weekend when the blogathon is taking place. Since I know I’ll have little to no time to complete this post over the weekend, I thought that publishing it early would be a smart idea. For this blogathon, I will be reviewing two films. As you can tell by the title, the first movie is It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, World. I saw this movie for the first time several years ago. But I only watched a third of the film before I decided to stop watching it. When I was choosing what to write about for the aforementioned blogathon, It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, World came to mind. Had I judged this film too harshly? Now that I’m watching it years later, would I find more enjoyment out of the movie this time? In this review, I will be attempting to answer these questions, especially since the movie stars one of the actors that this blogathon is dedicated to; Spencer Tracy.

It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World poster
It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World poster created by Casey Productions and United Artists. Image found at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:It%27s_a_Mad,_Mad,_Mad,_Mad_World_(1963)_theatrical_poster.jpg

Things I liked about the film:

The acting: This movie has one of the largest casts in cinematic history. But what worked in this cast’s favor was that every performer had television or movie experience prior to appearing in this film. This presented the team dynamic that comes from working with a group of people. What I noticed while watching this movie was how consistent each performance was. Some actors and actresses received more screen-time than others. However, the consistency of the characters was maintained from start to finish. Another aspect to this cast was their on-screen chemistry. All of these characters had a very interesting relationship with one another. Because of the performers’ experience with working on other movies and television shows, it helped the cast create a sense of acquaintanceship with each other.


The scenery: California is the primary filming location for this movie. It’s interesting how the various landscapes featured in the Golden State were present within the story. Most of the film takes place in the desert, but there were some unique ways that this location played into the narrative. One example is when Otto Meyer, portrayed by Phil Silvers, drives down a very steep hill. Other landscapes in this movie include the city and the seaside, which also serve an important role in this story. I think it’s great that the creative team behind this film chose to show a more well-rounded view of this state. It reminded me of the movie, Return from Witch Mountain.


The music: All of the music in this film was created by the Los Angeles Symphony Orchestra. Despite this, it worked well with the events that took place on screen. Since this movie is a comedy, most of the music was up-beat in order to fit the overall tone. However, there were times when the music created a mood that felt different from the film’s norm. Going back to the example of Otto Meyer driving down the hill, the music that was incorporated into this scene created a moment that felt suspenseful. There was a song that was performed toward the beginning and end of the movie called “It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World”. This song’s score could be heard at various parts of the film.

Spencer and Katherine Blogathon
The Second Spencer Tracy & Katherine Hepburn Blogathon poster created Crystal from In the Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood and Michaela from Love Letters to Old Hollywood. Image found at https://crystalkalyana.wordpress.com/2019/08/04/announcing-the-second-spencer-tracy-and-katharine-hepburn-blogathon/.

What I didn’t like about the film:

The weak story: People from different walks of life trying to find a large sum of money is a story that sounds like it has potential. But, in reality, this idea works better on paper than it does on the screen. The majority of the movie relies on driving scenes and people yelling at one another. The jokes and gags seemed to last longer than necessary, potentially making up for the weak plot. Any time there was a moment for commentary, the screen-writers don’t take advantage of them. Instead, they focus on creating a series of subplots that feel repetitive.


The run-time: It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, World is approximately two and a half hours, while IMDB lists the movie at three hours and twenty-five minutes. As I’ve already said, this plot was pretty weak. However, the story itself was also straight-forward. This film’s run-time feels excessive, being drawn-out longer than it needed to be. A film’s run-time can be hit or miss. It all comes down to what the story calls for. Personally, I think It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, World should have been about an hour and thirty to fifty minutes. That way, the story could have gotten straight-to-the-point a lot sooner.


The humor: Humor, like film, is subjective. What is funny for one person might not be hilarious for another. For me, there were very few jokes in It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, World that I found legitimately funny. One example was when, at the beginning of the film, the man who tells the other characters about the money literally kicks a bucket before he dies. But the majority of the jokes revolved around people getting hurt at the expense of others. Instead of finding the events on the screen hilarious, I kept wondering how the characters were able to survive their ordeals. Something that I’ve already talked about was how, most of the time, the characters end up yelling at one another for a host of reasons. This aspect of the film didn’t add humor to the story either. What it did, instead, was sound like a broken record.

Joshua Tree National Park
Joshua Tree National Park in California image created by Welcomia at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/tree”>Tree photo created by welcomia – http://www.freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

My overall impression:

If there is ever a movie that I haven’t finished or I haven’t watched in several years, I am more than willing to give it a second chance. Since I have this blog, it provides a place where I can analyze and evaluate each title. Unfortunately, It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, World did not deserve that second chance. Like I said, humor and film are subjective. This means that this particular film was not for me. Yes, there were things about the movie that I liked. But the negatives ended up out-weighing the positives. The movie, to me, felt like a drawn-out joke that had trouble finding its punch-line. It also seemed like the creative team behind this film put more emphasis on recruiting as many actors and actresses as possible instead of focusing on telling a good story. Since this is a double feature, I’m hoping that the second movie I plan to watch is better than this one.


Overall score: 5 out of 10


Have you seen any of Spencer Tracy’s films? Are you looking forward to the second part of this double feature? Share your thoughts in the comment section!


Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

11 thoughts on “Take 3: It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, World Review

  1. Dear Sally,

    This is a great review! Having just seen the trailer to this film and heard about it from my father, I completely agree with you! It sounds like it is too long, too slapstick, and too star-studded. I appreciate that you gave it another chance, but there are some movies that just don’t improve.

    I wanted to let you know that I nominated you for a Liebster Award: https://pureentertainmentpreservationsociety.wordpress.com/2019/10/08/the-liebster-award-from-paul-batters/. Since you liked the article, you doubtless saw it already. At the end of the article, I invited you to join our blogathon next weekend. I know from reading this article that you are going to be busy on the weekend, bu the blogathon does extend to Monday, so there might be a chance that you could participate. I look forward to hearing your response!

    Yours Hopefully,

    Tiffany Brannan

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading my review, Tiffany! It’s too bad that this movie didn’t work, as it had potential. But every film is for someone. However, this one was just not for you or me. Thank you for nominating me for the Liebster Award! Your thoughtfulness is something I have always appreciated. I’ll complete the post next week, as I’ll be attending an event this weekend. Thank you also for inviting me to participate in your blogathon! I will try my best to post a review on either the 13th or the 14th.

      Liked by 1 person


  3. I have a “love/hate” relationship with this movie…or maybe I should say “love/disappointment.” It’s like sending out for pizza. I mean, it’s pretty hard to screw up pizza. That’s what you think when you have gone long enough without watching this movie…you see the cast and you think it can’t go wrong. But it turns out to be the Domino’s of big-budget, big-cast comedies. It fills a craving, but leaves you wanting more than it delivers.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for checking out my review, J-Dub! You have a very good perspective on this film. As I said in my review, this is a very talented cast. However, it seems like their talents were wasted on a poorly written script.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Michaela

    Although I’m intrigued by the cast, this is a film I’ve never really felt compelled to watch and it sounds like I’m not missing much. Thanks for reviewing it, though, for our blogathon! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading my review, Michaela! You are right, you aren’t missing much by choosing not to watch this movie. As you read in my article, I was not a fan of this film. I guess the comedy in this project just isn’t my sense of humor.


  5. Unlike yourself and other commenters, I actually love this film. While it does have its’ flaws, I appreciate the humor and especially all the wacky characters. It is proof that money makes people do ridiculous crazy things. No matter how many times I’ve seen it, it always makes me laugh, although I do feel really sorry for Spencer Tracy’s character by film’s end.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading my review, Thestoryenthusiast! As I told Tiffany from Pure Entertainment Preservation Society, every film is for someone. I’m glad you enjoyed this movie and were able find humor in it. While I wasn’t a fan of the film, I can agree that there were some interesting ideas expressed in this story.


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