John Lazar | 09/04/2008
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Despite his dazzling comedic gifts, Sid Caesar never had much luck trying to make the leap from television (where he shone brilliantly) to the big screen. THE BUSY BODY is a typical example of his cinematic output. One of the basic problems with the film is the character Caesar plays -- namely, he barely has a character to play. He simply portrays a hapless schmuck who finds himself in one tight spot after another. The whole thing might have worked better if the lead character was a wisecracking coward like Bob Hope or a nervous bungler like Don Knotts. (In fact, with a music score by Vic Mizzy, THE BUSY BODY is, conceptually, a Knotts vehicle.) But poor Sid is trapped in a bland, ill-defined role that squanders nearly every opportunity to put Caesar's flair for mimicry and pantomime or his sharp ear for dialect to good use.
While there are some amusing set pieces, director William Castle -- the genial schlockmeister who conceived publicity gimmicks such as "Emergo" (HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL) and "Percepto" (THE TINGLER) -- was hardly the ideal candidate to helm a comedy, even one with morbid overtones. (Castle's "straight" horror films are funnier than his comedies.) THE BUSY BODY is paced so s-l-o-w-l-y that you forget this is supposed to be humorous. The film fails to achieve the sort of brisk momentum that's crucial to this kind of "wacky" farce.
Taking a cue from IT'S A MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD WORLD (which Caesar appeared in), the supporting cast is loaded with funny folks: Richard Pryor (his film debut), Kay Medford, Dom DeLuise, Godfrey Cambridge, Marty Ingels, Jan Murray, Ben Blue (who appeared with Caesar in MAD MAD WORLD), Bill Dana, George Jessel, Mickey Deems. Unfortunately, just like Caesar, they're saddled with weak material. Arlene Golonka (MAYBERRY R.F.D.) gives an enjoyably bubbly performance as a ditzy widow who helps Caesar solve the mystery of the missing corpse. Robert Ryan, Anne Baxter, and Charles McGraw (who was also in MAD MAD WORLD) -- three fine dramatic actors with many other, better films to their credit -- are also tossed into the mix.
There's a lot of comic talent involved with THE BUSY BODY, so it's all the more disappointing that this picture about a stiff never really comes to life."
Fun and funny
WriterGirl | Seoul, S. Korea | 08/23/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I agree with the first reviewer. It isn't the funniest mob film, but it is fun. William Castle's primary goal for all his films is to provide entertainment and he succeeds in this one. The variety and diversity of the cast keeps the film going and the ending is stronger than one would suspect. I love Dom DeLuise and Robert Ryan. Richard Pryor demonstrates his comedic acting ability from the get-go. Arlene Golonka is a sexy deviation from her good girl character during her Andy of Mayberry days. Ann Baxter hangs in there as a wannabee sex kitten with a whip. I wasn't that crazy about Sid Ceaser's character, having seen him in It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. Overall, it's a good buy and worth adding to your personal library."
anonymous | 08/30/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"this isnt the funniest thing sid caesar was ever in. compared to comedies today, this classic gem deserves a place in
the laughing lounge.without giving away too much, its basically a chase case.with cash in question. mistaken identities and items and such not where they are suppose to be.
. this is a collection of comics of the day togather for one movie. not as many as in its a mad mad mad mad mad world but a few that were. the star comic sid caesar of course in his second feature that year. jan murray bill dana godfrey cambridge dom deluise george jessel marty ingels ben blue and richard pryor. sounds like a friars roast. and two great actresses very adapt to comedy arlene golonka
and kay medford, who plays a movie mother like no other.
to balance out the bananas are heavyweights robert ryan and anne baxter. another star of the film is heard and not scene. that is the score by the composer vic mizzy. his bouncy background music just adds to the fun. released in 1967 it may seem a little dated. but then when was slapstick ever not funny because of a timeframe.
this is a great little movie to relax by laugh by remember when by. and to see all those people togather is worth a buy"