Watch A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum
- 1 hr 39 min
"A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" is a 1966 musical comedy film directed by Richard Lester and starring Zero Mostel, Phil Silvers, and Buster Keaton. The film is based on the Broadway musical of the same name, which in turn was inspired by the farces of ancient Roman playwright Plautus. The story is set in ancient Rome and centers around the bumbling slave Pseudolus (played by Mostel) as he tries to win his freedom by helping his young master Hero (Michael Crawford) woo the beautiful virgin Philia (Annette Andre) who has been sold into slavery to the warrior Miles Gloriosus (Leon Greene). Along the way, Pseudolus teams up with a variety of colorful characters, including the scheming slave Marcus Lycus (Silvers) and the doddering old man Erronius (Keaton), as he tries to outwit his master, Hero's overprotective mother, and the buffoonish soldiers of the Roman army.
The film is known for its fast-paced physical comedy, irreverent humor, and catchy musical numbers, including the opening song "Comedy Tonight" and the show-stopping "Everybody Ought to Have a Maid." Mostel, who had originated the role of Pseudolus on Broadway, gives a larger-than-life performance as the conniving slave, while Silvers brings his trademark wit and charm to the role of Lycus. Keaton, in one of his final film appearances, steals the show as Erronius, delivering his trademark deadpan humor and expert physical comedy.
In addition to its cast of top comedic talent, the film also boasts a script by legendary comedy writer Larry Gelbart, who would go on to create the hit TV series M*A*S*H. Gelbart's script is filled with witty one-liners, double entendres, and clever wordplay that keep the audience laughing throughout. At the same time, he weaves in references to Greek and Roman mythology, making the film both a hilarious comedy and a playful homage to classical literature.
The film's direction by Richard Lester, who was known for his work on the Beatles' movies "A Hard Day's Night" and "Help!", adds to the film's irreverent tone. Lester employs rapid cuts, surreal visuals, and other cinematic tricks to give the film a contemporary feel that sets it apart from traditional Hollywood musicals of the time.
Though "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" was not a box office success upon its release, it has since become a beloved cult classic, known for its zany humor and catchy songs. The film has spawned multiple revivals of the stage musical and has influenced countless comedies that followed in its wake, including the hit Broadway musical "The Producers."
Overall, "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" is a hilarious and irreverent comedy that combines risquÃ© humor with classical literary references, all set against the backdrop of ancient Rome. Its top-notch cast, witty script, and flashy direction make it a must-see for fans of slapstick and musical comedy alike.
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum is a 1966 comedy with a runtime of 1 hour and 39 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.8.