A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum

( 11 )

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...
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MGM (Video & DVD), 01/06/1998, VHS Tape, Like New condition. VHS Tape. Case Very Good. Quality guaranteed! In original artwork/packaging unless otherwise noted.

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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."
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 1/6/1998
  • UPC: 027616693136
  • Original Release: 1966
  • Rating:

  • Source: Mgm (Video & Dvd)
  • Presentation: Wide Screen
  • Format: VHS

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
Bill Kerr
Jack May
Roy Kinnear Instructor
Alfie Bass Gatekeeper
John Bluthal
Pamela Brown Priestess
Beatrix Lehmann Domina's Mother
Frank Thornton Roman soldier
Peter Butterworth
John Bennett
Andrew Faulds
Ron Brody
Jon Pertwee
Ingrid Pitt
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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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 11 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(8)

4 Star

(1)

3 Star

(2)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

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Sort by: Showing all of 11 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    FUNNY!

    This is an awesome piece of work! Will keep you laughing for a week!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Classic

    One of the funniest movies ever made with some of the bast actors, lines and scenes. They don't make them like this anymore. My whole family and I know the all the lines and every scene. It's a bit bawdy for the kids but very tame by today's standards.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    a delirious orgy of comedy

    This film is a dlightful mix of "Fellini Satyricon" and "The Three Stooges"

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    A MUST WATCH COMEDY

    THIS MOVIE IS A CLASSIC, IT KEEPS YOU LAUGHING THE WHOLE WAY THROUGH. THERE IS A NEW SURPRISE AT EVERY TURN. BE PREPARED FOR ANYTHING THIS MOVIE IS A MUST SEE FOR ANYONE WHO LIKES A GOOD COMEDY.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    A Funny thing that happend on the way to Forum

    I t was a great Comedy!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    A Hilarious Classic movie

    This movie is a charming story that leaves you laughing at every twist and turn of its intricate and quicikly building plot. Great for those who know a little about Roman culture, but perfectly understandable to those who don't. It actually follows a similar plot line to an ancient Roman play, with caracters such as the young (but stupid) master, beautiful young lady, and the tricky slave to get them together. Both slapstick and refined comedy.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 17, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 28, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 8, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 11 Customer Reviews