Here’s a brief scene from William and Tana Rose‘s original 500-page script for Stanley Kramer‘s It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, which will be released in its longest and most complete form ever on a Criterion Bluray that will “street” on 1.21.14. This scene was either never shot or was in an early version that was never screened for audiences. It’s a semi-funny bit that actually has a point, which comedies used to offer from time to time. The fact that “Dingy” Bell (Mickey Rooney) and “Benjy” Benjamin (Buddy Hackett) are oblivious to the allure of a busty lady in a bikini…fill it in.
The forthcoming Criterion Bluray will contain the 159-minute general release version but also a 197-minute roadshow version. And yet roughly eight minutes of this length includes the film’s overture, intermission sounds (police radio calls), entr’acte and exit music. So the actual live-action portion of the film will run 189 minutes, which is nonetheless a full 30 minutes longer than the most recent DVD version. And the Criterion will present the full 2.76:1 aspect ratio version (which no theatre audience saw in 1963, most likely) rather than 2.55:1, which is how it appears on the 2.7.12 DVD. (Note: This is what the back cover of the Bluray jacket claims, at least.)
Aspect ratio information on back cover of most recent Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World Bluray, released in February 2012.
The Wiki page summary: “The film ran 210 minutes in its preview showing. Kramer cut the film to 192 minutes for the premiere release. During its roadshow 70mm run, United Artists, seeing that it had a mammoth hit on its hands, cut the film to 161 minutes without Kramer’s involvement in order to add an extra daily showing. The general release 35mm version runs 154 minutes, with overture and exit music excised. At the film’s premiere, radio transmissions between the film’s fictional police played in the theater lobby and rest rooms during the intermission. The police transmissions featured Detective Matthews (Charles McGraw) and the police personnel that follow the group. These three reports (each approximately one minute in length) may have added to the 210-minute length.
“As of the present, all except three of the 192 minutes of footage as shown in the roadshow version exists in one form or another, some with both picture and sound, others with only picture, and others with only sound–this is due to the fact that the original elements to the roadshow version were cut away and tossed during initial editing.”
One way or another, restoration guy Robert Harris (with whom I spoke this morning) informs that the long Criterion version runs 197 minutes with wrap-around music and 189 minutes without it.