Professor Fate, "What's next?"
Max, "Car number five, the engine falls out!"
Professor Fate, "Car number five! Ha ha ha ha! ... Max ... we're number five."
|Penelope Pitstop (top) and Maggie DuBois (Natalie Wood)|
|The Great Leslie (Tony Curtis) and Maggie DuBois sip champagne while stranded on an iceberg.|
|Jack Lemmon as Prince Friedrich ("Haw haw haw!")|
Cinema's greatest pie fight — watch for Max's (Peter Falk) entrance about halfway through.
An interesting behind-the-scenes tidbit — Tony Curtis was not the original choice for The Great Leslie. Edwards wanted Robert Wagner, but he and Wood had recently divorced, and she was still reeling from the impact. Wood was distraught throughout the shoot, and reportedly took too many sleeping pills after filming wrapped (she was fortunately awake enough to call a friend for help, who got her to a hospital), but her personal distress never shows for an instant on film. Charlton Heston (!) is also rumored to have been offered the part.
|The Great Leslie, Maggie DuBois, and Professor Fate with The Leslie Special in Paris.|
Max, "Red sky. Gonna be a storm."
Professor Fate, "What are you babbling about?"
Max, "Red sky in the morning, sailor take warning."
Professor Fate, "Why, you simple-headed gherkin, do you know the chances of a storm in this part of the world at this time of the year?"
Max, "No, what?"
Professor Fate, "Hundred to one."
[Thunderclap — it begins to pour rain]Curtis and Wood are winning romantic leads, but as usual, Jack Lemmon walks away with the film. He is brilliant, whether he is scolding his sidekick Max (Peter Falk) on another evil plan gone awry, or as the foppish, perpetually drunk Prince Friedrich — no one in the film is having as good a time as he is, except possibly the audience. Let Lemmon, Curtis and Wood take you on a wacky, laugh-filled journey — The Great Race is still as funny today as when it first premiered in 1965.
Zeitlin, David. "Greatest pie fight ever creates a horrendous SPLAAT!" LIFE Jul 9, 1965. pp. 84–88.