A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum 1966

1966

Action / Comedy / Musical

50
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Rotten 83%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Spilled 79%
IMDb Rating 6.9

Synopsis

Pseudolus (Zero Mostel) is the laziest slave in Rome, and has one wish, to purchase his freedom. When his master and mistress leave for the day, he finds out that the young master has fallen in love with a virgin in the house of Marcus Lycus (Phil Silvers), a slave dealer specializing in beautiful women. Pseudolus concocts a deal in which he will be freed if he can procure the girl for young Hero (Michael Crawford). Of course, it can't be that simple as everything begins to go wrong.


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Director

Cast

Ingrid Pitt as Courtesan
Buster Keaton as Erronius
Jon Pertwee as Crassus
Roy Kinnear as Gladiator Instructor
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
752.88 MB
1280*720
English
Approved
24 fps
1h 39m
P/S 3 / 4
1.44 GB
1920*1080
English
Approved
24 fps
1h 39m
P/S 2 / 7

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by LilyDaleLady 7 / 10

Funny, abbreviated version of the stage play

I hadn't seen this in twenty years, and then on TV (with many cuts and commercials), so I jumped at the chance to view a video recently. "Funny Thing" is just as funny as I remembered it to be -- a marvelous opportunity to see the brilliant and hilarious Zero Mostel, plus a dream cast that includes Jack Guilford, Phil Silvers, Michael Crawford (very young), Roy Kinnear, etc.

Zero Mostel was an incredible Broadway comedic genius, but his most famous work was probably in "Fiddler on the Roof", where it only exits as the wonderful Broadway cast album. When they made the film, they inexplicably passed over Mostel to cast the much lower keyed Topol as Tevye. "Funny Thing" is more brilliant vintage Mostel from roughly the same period, but we get the real thing as he reprises his performance. No one can really approach Mostel for his comic timing, ability to not only sing but sing FUNNY and the expressiveness of his face.

Directed by Richard Lester (Hard Days' Night, Three Musketeers), the film is particularly beautiful in its period setting -- Lester had a spectacular eye for detail - and I honestly believe that this is the most realistic film ever done VISUALLY about Ancient Rome. From the credits, I see it was filmed in Madrid, Spain, which must have an incredible treasure trove of Ancient Roman buildings. The sets, costumes, extras etc. are pitch perfect....with one glaring exception. Like a lot of movies, the filmmakers could not bear to show us an attractive young woman in authentic period costume or makeup, so all the courtesans are circa 1967, right down to their blue eye shadow, false eyelashes, push up bras and back-combed hair!!

I understand from reading other comments that nearly 3/4 of the Stephen Sondheim score was cut for the film, which seems like a shame. However, what's left is very funny and well-integrated into the comedy. Many popular sixties film editing techniques are here -- quick cross cuts, Keystone Kops-like action sequences -- and while a bit dated, they fit the broad comedic tone of the story surprisingly well. The ending title sequence is spectacularly done, with wonderful Roman type and fresco's integrated into it.

Comedy styles go in and out of fashion, so this may not be everyone's taste these days. But having a visual record of a brilliant performer is a highlight and a cultural treasure, and that's what this performance by Zero Mostel truly is. I think most people won't be able to help laughing out loud, even at some of the dumbest and corniest of jokes here, and as usual, the Sondheim score (what remains of it) is delightful and witty.

Reviewed by TownRootGuy 10 / 10

Everybody ought to watch this show. Everybody ought to have it on Blu-ray.

For me, this is the King of Musicals. This is one of the movies I consider to be an 11. It's one of the movies that I always think might be my favorite while I'm watching it. The other is Billy Crystal's, 'Running Scared'.

This has great eye candy, an excellent cast, fantastic tunes AND comedy, comedy, comedy EVERY night.

Forum is highly quotable and a must see for lovers of musicals and/or comedies. After 4 decades of watching this it is still on my list of shows to see every year.

Reviewed by Jon Corelis 6 / 10

Moderately entertaining musical comedy

This is a film version of an early 1960s Sondheim Broadway musical with some members of the theatrical production. The story, concerning the machinations of a clever slave (Zero Mostel) manipulating his master, household, and neighbors in a plan to gain his freedom, is based on an ancient Latin comedy by Plautus. Phil Silvers as a procurer and Leon Greene as a bombastic Roman conqueror are standouts -- the latter's narcissistic introductory aria is, I think, a high point.

The film has gotten mixed reviews: some don't like that many songs from the musical were left out of the movie; others have considered Lester's slapstick comic style, while vigorous, to lack depth. But the film, while not a great classic, is undoubtedly entertaining, and fans of the Classics or of things Roman will have fun seeing how the Plautine background is used.

I found the Kino Lorber Blu-Ray DVD faintly disappointing: there's nothing wrong with it, but it seemed to lack the surprisingly vivid and deep images that a good Blu-Ray can bring you. Maybe they needed a better original print. I haven't seen a standard DVD version of this, though, so I don't have a basis for comparison.

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