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It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World

It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World is a comedy that followed the Hollywood trend in the 1960s of producing "gigantic" and "epic" films as a way to woo audiences into movie theaters. Television had sapped the regular moviegoing audience and box office revenues were dropping, and the major studios experimented with a number of "gimmicks" to attract audiences, including widescreen films. It premiered on November 7, 1963.

Not only was It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World filmed in Cinerama (the biggest of the widescreen cinema technologies), it also had an all-star cast, with literally dozens of major comedy stars from all eras of cinema making appearances in the film.

Stars of this film included:

There were also cameo appearances by: The plot of It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World follows the occupants of four vehicles who stop to help a man who has just careened off the highway. With his dying breaths, the man tells the bystanders about $350,000 that he hid in the town of Santa Rosita, less than a day's drive away, under “the big W”. A wild race across the desert follows, as each carload of people tries to be first to find the money and claim it for themselves.

Kramer claimed he wanted to make the ultimate comedy film. At more than two and a half hours (originally including an intermission) it is certainly one of the longest. Most of the humor is not especially sophisticated, consisting mainly of very noisy slapstick gags. Terry-Thomas's character's rant against the American obsession with bosoms still strikes a chord with non-American audiences.

The New Avengers episode "The Tale of the Big Why" seems to have borrowed part of its storyline from IAMMMMW - at the end of the episode the characters realise they are looking not for a metaphysical "big why" but a physical "big Y".

Rat Race, a film made in 2001, has a similar basic premise.