Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis were together in Some Like it Hot, and so I thought that perhaps The Great Race, a movie I had seen and loved as a little child, might be more than just a children’s movie. I’m afraid it wasn’t even that. It is poor, flat, slapstick. Big actors and set-piece situations do not make a movie fresh, and the staleness of this movie is all the more apparent for being so similar to Help!, the Beatles movie released the same year. Jack and Tony are sloughing through their lines, knowing they are stars and the script is trash and they have done this all before with Billy Wilder, who was a master. Help! And The Great Race could be pieces of the same script, but if that were so, the Beatles would be constantly going off script and infusing their wacky scenarios with their dry and fresh humor. Don’t waste your time.
Citizen Kane is arguably the greatest movie made, and RKO 281, a movie based on the making of Citizen Kane, pulls upon the inherently interesting story of such a great movie being made by Orson Welles. Hearst, the seemingly all-powerful newspaper mogul, quickly discovering that the film is about him and not flattering, does his best to prevent the film from every seeing the screen. Sure, there are some corny parts, and there is an over-dramatization merited perhaps by the largeness of the characters involved, but the film is still enjoyable. I noticed, though, at the beginning of the film, that it is based, in part, on a documentary. I will wager that watching the documentary is a better use of your time and will have all the enjoyable elements of this movie.