Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Million Dollar Mystery|
Actors: Jamie Alcroft, Royce D. Applegate, Penny Baker, Tom Bosley, Christopher Cary
No Description Available. Genre: Feature Film-Comedy Rating: UN Release Date: 2-JAN-2007 Media Type: DVD
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It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World for the 80s.
Phillip Smith | Avondale, PA, USA | 01/30/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"My favorite film of all time is Stanley Kramer's 1963 comedy 'It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World'. The film has since been 'remade' twice. Jerry Zucker of the famed trio 'Zucker-Abrams-Zucker' made 'Rat Race' which was loved by many when it came out in the late summer of 2001. Then, there was this forgotten film from the writers of 'Revenge of the Nerds' and 'High Anxiety'.
Director Richard Fleischer (20,000 Leagues Under the Sea) directed this 1987 adaptation of the 'Mad World' story. This film was first mentioned to me by my college roommate in 2004. After searching videostore after videostore, I couldn't come up with any findings. Even the ones that still carried VHS tapes dating back as far as 1984.
Luckily, through Ebay, I found an old VHS copy of 'Million Dollar Mystery' in mint condition that winter for under five dollars. I received it after coming back from my winter vacation in 2005 and proceded to watch it. Immediately from hearing the opening title sequence, I was propelled into 80s heaven. I've been a mega 80s fan (movies, film, music) since about 1995 and the title song alone put a huge smile on my face. The cast was also pure 80s personnas. The only people I knew in it were Kevin Pollak, Eddie Deezen, Tom Bosley, Rick Overton, Rich Hall, Douglas Emerson, and H.B. Haggerty.
The one thing that was disappointing was the video's presentation. While I know the bulk of VHS tapes in the 80s were all presented in full-frame, something told me that there was more to this film than the standard 1.33:1 ratio it was being presented in. After watching it, I looked 'Million Dollar Mystery' up on The Internet Movie Database and to my amazement discovered that it was originally shot in scope widescreen 2.35:1, the same ratio used for 'Mad World' and 'Rat Race'! For the longest time, I kept wishing that there'd be a laserdisc copy of the film that had been released in conjunction with the original VHS and that the film was presented in its widescreen format on it.
Sadly, I couldn't find any trace of an LD copy of 'Million Dollar Mystery'. So, I did the next best thing, I wished and prayed for a DVD copy of the film to be released sometime before 2010. Someone must've heard my prayers because sure enough, on Janurary 2, 2007 'Million Dollar Mystery' arrived on DVD complete with it's original scope widescreen presentation of 2.35:1, original theatrical trailer, and the original theatrical ending! By that, I mean (after reading others memories of seeing the film in it's brief theatrical run and comparing it to the VHS and TV releases) that this ending involves one of the cops breaking the fourth wall and talking to the audience members into going and looking for the last million.
Of course, between the first time I watched my VHS copy and the time I purchased the DVD (which was actually today!), I read endless amounts of poor reviews for the film. Apparently it came out during a time when big summer blockbusters were also coming out like Predator and Harry and the Hendersons (yes, even THAT did better than this film). Also, the entire contest concept was lost on many theater goers. Apparently, interactive cinema is not something that gets taken seriously unless it's a very notable director making the film (i.e. John Waters' 'Odorama' film, Polyester).
But regardless, I am happy to now own this film on DVD. The newly presented widescreen version of the film has been cleaned up well, the theatrical trailer is presented in its entirety complete with the original contest text on-screen, and whether you liked 'Mad World' more than 'Rat Race' or vice-versa, I invite all of you to give this film a look. Just to get a few chuckles, feel nostalgic (hey, I was just about to turn 4 when this film came out!), or to get an idea of what the concept of 'Mad World' would've been if made in the 80s."