The Great Race is the ultimate road movie. It's also one of the longest comedies that's funny without ever lagging (2 and a half hours!) along with It's A Mad Mad Mad Mad World, which is also another road movie. I usually average around 700-800 screencaps per movie, but with this one I had more then a thousand to go through. There's just so many wonderful visual aspects to the film, along with Natalie Wood's costumes and hats.
Tony Curtis is The Great Leslie, the dashing famous daredevil who always dresses in white. The crowds love him and his shiny teeth and sparkling eyes cause ladies to swoon.
Then there's Jack Lemmon as Professor Fate and Peter Falk as his assistant "Push the Button" Max. Fate is Leslie's rival daredevil, but he's more notorious then famous and he just can't draw the crowds in and his stunts always go wrong and he ends up crashing into the nearest barn. Naturally, Fate and Max are always trying to kill Leslie and fail miserably. But at least they keep trying.
Gee, that's a swell boardroom.
Leslie has a great idea for a new publicity stunt: a motor race from New York to Paris. Fate thinks it's a bad idea, but vows to beat Leslie for once.
Just a note: the difficult issue of crossing one of the oceans in a car is never brought up. Of course, the movie wouldn't be as funny if it was.
The Webber Motor Company builds a new car for Leslie called the Leslie Special, naturally it's all white. Methinks The Great Leslie has a huge ego.
No, this isn't the Addams family house, this is Fate's house. Also, how awesome is that moose?
Fate and Max don't have the same sponsorship deal as Leslie and so they build their own car, complete with a smoke screen, glowing cone thing and a canon. Because no road trip is complete without one's own cannon.
Natalie Wood play Maggie Dubois, suffragette, emancipated woman and would-be reporter in a terrific suit.
She manages to get a job covering the race by showing her stockings to Mr. Goodbody, the editor but he refuses to pay for her to enter the race. So she lights a cigar and goes off to have a chat with Mrs. Goodbody.
Her first job is to interview Leslie is his Valentino inspired tent. Maggie has trouble resisting Leslie's charms, so she challenges him to a duel.
Love the bow on her hat.
Finally, it's the day of the race and guess who's entered.
And who brought a camera along.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Goodbody has taken to leading the marches for Equal Rights, which is a funny scene because the Americans still haven't passed the Equal Rights Act.
What I find odd is that the racers are driving north towards Alaska and have already past Albany, but suddenly we find Maggie dressed as a cowgirl and all of the locals have Texas accents. The only place north of New York where you could get away with wearing that hat would be Alberta, but this doesn't look like Alberta. Is this just my ignorance of what a road trip across America actually looks like or a convenient plot device to show the traditional bar fight in the saloon scene?
I love this dress!
How come no one else sings while perched on a moon anymore?
Guess what the bar fight is over.
One of the teams clearly packed the appropriate clothes for driving across Alaska and Siberia. Also, don't you just love Maggie's numerous outrageous spit curls.
The two teams get stuck on a sinking ice float in order to reach Siberia and hilarity ensues. Seriously, how many outfits did Maggia manage to to fit into such small suitcases?
These two are my favourite coats. I think this might be the only movie where Natalie Wood actually speaks Russian (her parents immigrated after the Revolution).
Meanwhile, back in New York, Mr. Goodbody has had a breakdown and Mrs. Goodbody is now the editor. And yeah, that is a pink velvet blazer with with piping.
Back to the race. The two teams arrive at the last gas stop in one of those small kingdoms near Ruritania, where in convenient plot device and an effort to save on the budget, the Crown Prince looks an awful lot like Jack Lemmon.
It's good to be the King. Everyone laughs on your command and moustached military types will undo your corset for you.
Guess what General Moustache and the Evil Baron's plan is. You can tell he's an evil Baron because it's illegal for evil Barons not to have a black goatee.
Does anyone know why "My Country Tis Of Thee" was set to the same music as "God Save the Queen", those of us in the Commonwealth do find that rather confusing.
Naturally the Evil Baron and the Great Leslie (in his best impression of Douglas Fairbanks) must have a sword fight. It's not the greatest sword fight ever (everyone knows what that one is) but it'll do.
This isn't the end, but it is the Greatest Pie Fight Ever!
That's my favourite one of her outfits in the movie. What's yours?
Here's the original trailer. Incidentally, I've just noticed that the clips of the three stars used are of Sex and the Single Girl and How To Murder Your Wife, both of which I've already posted one and that wasn't done on purpose.