Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum

Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum

4.6 13
Director: Richard Lester

Cast: Richard Lester, Zero Mostel, Phil Silvers, Buster Keaton

     
 

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Director Richard Lester uses the Burt Shevelove/Larry Gelbart/Stephen Sondheim Broadway musical hit as a launching pad for some of his wildest slapstick gaggery. Zero Mostel repeats his stage role as Pseudolus, the cunning Roman slave who'll do anything to win his freedom. The plot hinges on three Roman houses next door to each another. One is the home of Pseudolus'… See more details below

Overview

Director Richard Lester uses the Burt Shevelove/Larry Gelbart/Stephen Sondheim Broadway musical hit as a launching pad for some of his wildest slapstick gaggery. Zero Mostel repeats his stage role as Pseudolus, the cunning Roman slave who'll do anything to win his freedom. The plot hinges on three Roman houses next door to each another. One is the home of Pseudolus' masters: the philandering Senex (Michael Hordern), his domineering wife, Domina (Patricia Jessell), and their handsome but empty-headed son, Hero (Michael Crawford). The second house is a brothel belonging to unctuous procurer Lycus (Phil Silvers). The third house has long been empty, in that its owner, the senile Erronius (Buster Keaton), has gone on a long journey to find his children, who were kidnapped in infancy by pirates. Other principals include Pseudolus' fellow slave, the aptly named Hysterium (Jack Gilford); vain warrior Miles Gloriosus (Leon Greene), who marches triumphantly into Rome declaring "I am a parade!"; and the virginal Philia (Annette Andre), a resident of Lycus' "domicile" who is loved by Hero but who has been promised in marriage to Miles Gloriosus. There are also acrobats, transvestites, a phony funeral, and an outsized climactic chase.

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Lucia Bozzola
Merging director Richard Lester's 1960s verve with old-fashioned Broadway and vaudeville entertainment, the movie version of the stage hit A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum is an engagingly frenetic slapstick musical. Though the number of winning Stephen Sondheim songs is scaled back, stars Zero Mostel, Phil Silvers, Jack Gilford, and Buster Keaton pile on the schtick as Mostel's labyrinthine scams lead to nonstop mugging (except from Keaton), sexual shenanigans, hilarious one-liners, an elaborate chariot chase, and (naturally) hairy men in drag. Lester packs the screen with visual jokes and historically accurate Roman trappings; any residual staginess is mitigated by cinematographer Nicolas Roeg's and editor John Victor-Smith's New Wave flair for jump cuts and variable camera speeds. Broadway veteran Mostel is in peak form, especially when he goes toe to conniving toe with courtesan merchant Silvers and gauzily woos Gilford with a rendition of "Lovely," while Keaton remains a scene-stealer in one of his last films. A crowd-pleaser if not a Sondheim purist-pleaser, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum maintained the age-old attraction of "Comedy Tonight."

Product Details

Release Date:
09/09/2014
UPC:
0738329137823
Original Release:
1966
Rating:
NR
Source:
Kl Studio Classics
Region Code:
A
Time:
1:39:00
Sales rank:
2,593

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Zero Mostel Pseudolus
Phil Silvers Lycus
Buster Keaton Erronius
Jack Gilford Hysterium
Michael Crawford Hero
Annette Andre Philia
Patricia Jessell Domina
Michael Hordern Senex
Leon Greene Miles Gloriosus
Inga Neilsen Gymnasia
Myrna White Vibrata
Lucienne Bridou Panacea
Helen Funai Tintinabula
Jennifer Baker Geminae
Susan Baker Geminae
Frank Elliott Actor
Bill Kerr Actor
Jack May Actor
Roy Kinnear Instructor
Alfie Bass Gatekeeper
John Bluthal Actor
Pamela Brown Priestess
Beatrix Lehmann Domina's Mother
Frank Thornton Roman soldier
Peter Butterworth Actor
John Bennett Actor
Andrew Faulds Actor
Ron Brody Actor
Jon Pertwee Actor
Ingrid Pitt Actor

Technical Credits
Richard Lester Director
Syd Cain Art Director
Trevor Crole-Rees Makeup
Melvin Frank Producer,Screenwriter
Leslie Hammond Sound/Sound Designer
Gerry Humphreys Sound/Sound Designer
George Martin Choreography
Ethel Martin Choreography
Michael Pertwee Screenwriter
Cliff John Richardson Special Effects
José Lopez Rodero Asst. Director
Nicolas Roeg Cinematographer
Jose Maria Sanchez Makeup
John Victor Smith Editor
Stephen Sondheim Score Composer
Tony Walton Costumes/Costume Designer,Production Designer

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