The Great Race (1965), Saturday the 27th of November, on TCM

Posted by 27th November 2010

I was pleasantly surprised when I happened upon the tidbit that The Great Race, one of perhaps the best Steampunk-esque classics of the early Steampunk movie era (say from the “beginnings of film making” to somewhere in the 1980s).  Considered to be a “screwball comedy” back in the day (before my day, thank you!), it had a cast of legendary luminaries, with Jack Lemon as “Professor Fate/Prince Hapnick”, Tony Curtis as “Leslie Gallant III” (a “daredevil”), Natalie Wood as “Maggie Dubois” (a sausy companion to Leslie Gallant), and directed by the comic genius of Blake Edwards.
Professor Fate’s Hannibal Twin Eights!
(which for the most part, works well…)
Originally considered a critical flop, The Great Race was a specular box office hit, along with another Steampunk-esque race move of the time, “Those Magnificent Men and their Flying Machines“.  It was nominated for five academy award, and won one Oscar.  To this day, it still retains a “75% Freshness” rating at Rotten Tomatos (per Wikipedia).
The movie flyer from the release of “The Great Race”
The production has a number of unique Steampunk items, including Professor Fate’s Hannibal Twin Eights, a rocket-powered rail-mounted vehicle, and of all things Natalie Wood’s character is a photojournalist and a suffragette as well (the temptress probably voted for Taft as well)!  One of the most noted scenes was the pie fight, reminiscent of old slapstick comedies, had its own challenges, as the background described (again, per the Wiki).
The infamous pie fight scene!
So, if one happens to have a bit of time available at 5pm EST and have Turner Classic Movies, do consider viewing one of Steampunk’s early classics!

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