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A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum

Genders: Comedy, Musical

Director: Richard Lester

Writer: Melvin Frank (screenplay), Michael Pertwee (screen

Actors: Zero Mostel, Phil Silvers, Buster Keaton, Michael Crawford

Year: 1966
Run time: 99min
IMDB score: 7
Updated: one year ago

Movie infomation

Movie name: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum

Genders: Comedy, Musical

Imdb Score: 7

Runtime: 99min

Released: 16 Oct 1966

Director: Richard Lester

Writer: Melvin Frank (screenplay), Michael Pertwee (screen

Actors: Zero Mostel, Phil Silvers, Buster Keaton, Michael Crawford

Imdb Link

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum Available Subtitles

English subtitles A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forumone year ago
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Swedish subtitles A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum2 years ago
Norwegian subtitles A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum2 years ago
Italian subtitles A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum2 years ago
German subtitles A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum2 years ago
French subtitles A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum2 years ago
Finnish subtitles A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum2 years ago
Dutch subtitles A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum2 years ago
Danish subtitles A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum2 years ago
Greek subtitles A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum2 years ago
English subtitles A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum2 years ago
Spanish subtitles A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum2 years ago

Trailer


Review

The Good and the Bad

7/10 I saw this film when I was a young girl (seven or so) and I adored it. When I was about fourteen, I finally got to see the stage production. When I saw the film again, I realized there were some bad choices made. I think the film has many excellent points and some bad points:

Good:

-For starters, you couldn't have asked for a better cast. I don't just mean Zero Mostel and Jack Gilford (though both are incredible) but casting Buster Keaton was inspired.

-Very accurate portrayal of ancient Rome (up to a point, of course). The only reason I bring it up is because when I took Latin in high school, we studied ancient Rome and I like the research that went into that for the film.

-The chase scene at the end. That's what I remember laughing at the most as a child.

Bad:

-Cutting so many songs, specifically "Free" and Hysterium's number (I must say, Jack Gilford was highly underused in this film).

-The direction of most remaining musical numbers and some scenes.

-Changing the character of Dominia. I don't mind it too much (she does get some good lines in there) but I liked having another strong female character aside from Philia.

Now I have nothing against Richard Lester. In fact, I enjoyed his work in A Hard Day's Night and Help! and I think when it comes to those types of films, he does well. I'm just not completely sure if he was right for this film. He treated the songs like music videos, kind of forgetting that in this case, the songs are being used to tell a story, not just for entertainment. We recently watched parts of the film in my Musical Theater History class, and that was one of the point brought up. He tended toward the fast pace/quick edit direction, which I think worked for "Comedy Tonight", but not much else (especially not "Everybody Ought to Have a Maid"). While I disliked some of his direction on "Lovely", I did like that he repeated (more or less) the same direction in the reprise of the song.

I will say, though, when he's good in the film, he's really good. I can't deny there are parts in the film that are incredibly funny, most notably the chariot chase. I am a bit torn about the film. In the long run, I will probably always love the film and watch it when I get the chance, despite its shortcomings. Still, I wouldn't mind a remake of it. And I think we can safely say this isn't the worst film version of a Sondheim show (A Little Night Music anyone?).

one year ago

It's fast, it's funny, it's Lester

9/10 Recently re-released on DVD, this film is a revelation for anyone who has only seen the pan-and-scan version. So many of the film's visual jokes are lost when you can't see the whole picture, and if there's one thing Richard Lester knows how to do, it's pack in visual jokes. Some people complain that Lester altered the original show too much, cutting songs and dialogue alike, but this is the only way people can see Zero Mostel's fantastic -- and frenetic -- performance, so count your blessings. Michael Hordern is also a hoot as the whipped Senex. Other members of Lester's stock company put in appearances, from Frank Thornton and John Bluthal to the always-welcome Roy Kinnear (as a matter-of-fact gladiator trainer). And Michael Crawford never had it better than when he was in front of Lester's camera.

one year ago

A Half-Full Glass

5/10 "Forum" is one film adaptation of a Broadway musical that is a half-glass of water. On the half-full side we get to see Zero Mostel and Jack Gilford reprising their Broadway roles, and they're joined by a fine supporting cast including Phil Silvers as Lycus (ironically, he would star as Pseudolus in the 1972 Broadway revival) and Buster Keaton in his last film. But even though the film delivers the laughs and opens itself up well from its stage origins (let's face it. That climactic chase in the Broadway version is wonderful but it just wouldn't work on film at all). But what I can't forgive is how nearly three-quarters of Sondheim's outstanding score (his best I think) has been jettisoned to give us a too short running time of barely an hour and a half. And on top of that, why do *both* of Milos Gloriosus's numbers get kept, while Mostel's two best numbers from Broadway, "Pretty Little Picture" and "Free" (which is supposed to be the heart of the show) are gone (along with Gilford's "I'm Calm")? That, I do not understand at all. It's gotten to a point where I purposefully stop the film after Psuedolus falls out of the tree so I can then play Mostel's version of "Free" from the Broadway cast CD (which is where it would have belonged in the film). And it's too bad this wasn't a roadshow movie with an intermission because Mostel's funny Act One closer would have worked great there as well.

All in all it's worth having, but be prepared for your mood to shift from seeing the film as a half-full glass or a half-empty one.

one year ago

A manic classic.

10/10 Zero Mostel. Need I say more? Reason enough to rent this movie, despite the hideous 'pan and scan' that makes viewing it a chore. Based on a Broadway musical, it's clever and fast and sexist in that kind of 1960's way. Buxom ladies, lascivious men with comb overs abound. It's fun if you're in the right mood, and Zero Mostel makes it all go down smoothly. I think this (and the Producers) was his best role, and it also has many recognizable supporting players that make you laugh simply by showing their faces.

one year ago

Hilarious and well-done

7/10 Despite having some mistakes, I think this film is overall great, specially in comedy terms. Crazy, dynamic and modern spirit of Lester's direction fits more or less well into "A funny thing happened on the way to the forum"(not as well as it did in "The Knack" or "A Hard Day's Night, but very well anyway). Zero Mostel seems to be a little-bit repressed by Lester, but he does a great job, as the rest of the cast. The beautiful colour photography, some funny songs and a funny storyline with a lot of hilarious visual and verbal jokes makes this a really funny picture. The chariot scene, and with it, all the end of the movie is memorable. Don't miss it.

one year ago