The 1963 movie "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World" comes out on a single-disc Blu-ray package featuring the madcap cross-country adventure of a group of motorists as they search for $350,000 revealed to them by a dying man. In no time, they speed off in a mind-bending, car-bashing race to get hold of the long-hidden fortune. This Oscar-winning action-adventure comedy by Stanley Kramer showcases a zany cast of the era's greatest comedians, along with cameo appearances of almost every joker and jester of the industry during that time.
"It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World" looks spectacular in Blu-ray format. This topnotch catalog release offers stunning sharpness and deep and saturated colors that make the movie more pleasing to watch in HD format. Visual details are skillfully refined in this more-than-half-a-century-old picture. The images' dimensionality and depth of field are also very impressive throughout the film's running time.
Filled with an ample supply of slapstick farce, death-defying stunts, and fun and chaotic racing and chasing sequences, the movie provides varying scenes that look quite enjoyable on screen. Except for minimal blemishes and other age-related issues mostly seen on the opening titles, the picture is relatively clean and artifact-free. There are no serious visual problems to contend with anywhere in the transfer.
The film's master audio track delivers decent fidelity in the front channels. However, the rear channels are not well-utilized for a more enveloping atmosphere. The overall quality of the mix shows the movie's age -- but not to the point of suffering from detrimental age-related artifacts such as hisses and crackles.
The sound design is quite reminiscent of its time and it is far from the more immersive mixes of other acclaimed releases. Nevertheless, this audio track still works for the movie's basic needs. Aside from the film's original five-channel mix, a five-channel mix in French and a mono mix in Spanish are available as well.
This Blu-ray package provides an average set of supplemental materials. Except for the film's HD theatrical trailer and re-issue trailer, all of the videos are in SD format and they all come from the movie's prior DVD release. These include the one-hour featurette "Something a Little Less Serious: A Tribute to It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World," a one-hour reel of deleted and extended scenes, and an extra footage originating from the film's 70mm work print. The disc offers subtitle options in English SDH, Spanish, and French.
"It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World" works best as a laughfest piece. It is filled with many farcical extravaganzas that pack itself with legendary names playing major and minor roles such as Spencer Tracy, Milton Berle, Ethel Merman, Mickey Rooney, Jimmy Durante, Jerry Lewis, Buster Keaton, Jesse White, Carl Reiner, Edward Everett Horton, Buddy Hackett, Phil Silvers, and even the Three Stooges, just to name a few. For both its worth and its flaws, this general release version may not have the complete frame-by-frame restoration and remastering received by other vintage top-tier offerings, but this doesn't pull down its overall charm as a hilarious comedy that is truly worth watching.