A tribute to masters of slapstick Laurel and Hardy, Blake Edwards's spectacular farce stars Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis, and Natalie Wood. In 1908 New York, the evil, black-clad Professor Fate (Lemmon) challenges the Great Leslie (Curtis), a heroic daredevil who wears only white, to a 22,000-mile New York-to-Paris race. As the race gets under way, Fate eliminates all the other contestants through nefarious means except for feminist Maggie Dubois (Wood). But when her car breaks down on its own, she's forced to ride with Leslie, who has his hands full trying to avoid being obliterated by the artillery-laden Hannibal 8 that carries Fate. After getting into a brawl in the wild West and riding an ice floe across the Bering Strait to Siberia, Fate kidnaps Maggie, and the racing teams make an extended soujourn in Carpania as Edwards parodies THE PRISONER OF ZENDA. Then the dastardly Baron von Shtuppe (Ross Martin) tries to take advantage of Fate's resemblance to their ruler, Prince Hapnick, to start a revolution. This enjoyable, out-of-control spectacle, loaded with hysterical sight gags and routines from the silent comedy era, features good work from Lemmon, Martin, and Peter Falk as Fate's henchman, Max. The film was the basis for the WACKY RACES animated children's series.
Academy Awards Best Sound Effects 1965