In William Rose's original memo the setting for his story was the British Isles, the fens and moors of England, the Brighton seacoast and the hills of Scotland. At their first meeting, Stanley Kramer switched the location for two reasons:
1) He felt the American desert and mountains more challenging to the action involved and obviously they offered far greater physical scope.
2) He wished to keep his company in Hollywood so that the workers in Tinseltown would get the thousands of jobs the movie would generate.
For the first time: Cinerama Single Lens Projection
With this movie a revolutionary new Cinerama process was proudly presented.
The Cinerama effect had been obtainable only with the use of three projectors; but, with the development of the Cinerama single-lens projection system, the giant Cinerama picture could now be blended miraculously and invisibly into one!
This heralded a breakthrough which optical engineers had long laboured for. The Cinerama screen was a large as ever, it would still surround and envelop you, but your eyes and senses would be further pleased and astonished by the unity and clarity of the Cinerama single-lens projection, which It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World would first present.
Sometimes when a man thinks extra big, big things seem to happen. In order to reach the largest number of theatres worldwide, in the photographic process which would best capture the size and scope of his project, Stanley Kramer selected Ultra Panavision cameras using 70mm Technicolor film. When shooting had reached the halfway mark, Hollywood's optical scientists made a break-through -- a means of converting single-film photography to exhibition on the giant, three-panelscreens of Cinerama. Was Stanley Kramer brave enough to be the first to utilize the new system? You bet Mr Kramer was. There would be more the 100 Cinerama theatres by the time It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World was ready for release. And, by virtue of its original Ultra Panavision negative, the picture would be adapted to every other modern motion picture theatre.
Time from conception to release: Three and a half years
Shooting Days: 166
Film exposed: 636,000 feet (around 125 miles)
Release length: 21,938 feet for a theatre running time of 210 minutes, including intermission.
Film edit: Seven months
Releae date: November, 1963
Ladder Sequences: Below are models used for these shots and actual filming of the scenes.
For Stanley Kramer, the man who carried the World on his shoulders as producer, director and bankroller, the project was as adventurous and uncharted as a leap into space. There had been comedies and there had been big pictures but their mating in this movie was a first in the history of the motion picture. Stanley sought to concoct an unheard-of mix of on-screen chicanery, calamity, disaster and suspense, that required more performing talent and behind-the-camera artistry and cunning than any entertainment recipe that had ever been devised. He came up with an explosive celluloid confection of belly-laughs. He aimed to fashion a giant blend of slapstick and whimsy to the end that audiences of all ages would find delirious divertissement.
"Bill Rose's script, was the funniest ever written. If the motion picture isn't the funniest ever made the fault will lie with the man I see in the mirror."
Stanley Kramer 1963