Screen legend Tony Curtis leads an all-star international cast in this hilarious, romantic and action-packed romp! Set in glorious Monte Carlo, this hugely entertaining follow-up to Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines follows the dashing Schofield (Curtis) as he teams up with the scheming Sir Cuthbert Ware-Armitage (Terry-Thomas) in a zany, winner-take-all car rally beset with scheming competitors, treacherous cliffs - and a very beguiling blonde (Susan Hampshire).
"Aren't you going to help?"
"Well, I'd really love to, Perkins, but I don't want to get my boots dirty."
If there is one thing Hollywood loves to do is squeeze a concept to the bone until there's no juice left in it. The whacky and zany race movie featuring an expansive all-star cast enduring comedic hijinks as they get from point A to point B was practically a staple of the 1960s. By the time 1969's Those Daring Young Men in Their Jaunty Jalopies came around, the well had practically been pinched dry. Director Ken Annakin along with stars Terry-Thomas, Tony Curtis, Gert Fröbe, and Susan Hampshire (among many others) manage to gather up a few solid belly laughs, but the film can strain patience as many gags fail to land.
Sir Cuthbert Ware-Armitage (Terry-Thomas) is poised to inherit a great fortune after losing his father in a plane crash (as seen in Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines). The only problem is dear old dad lost half of his automotive empire to the American auto engineer Chester Schofield (Tony Curtis) in a poker game. In order to resolve the disputed inheritance, Sir Cuthbert Ware-Armitage challenges Schofield to the Monte Carlo Rally. While their side bet may be their own private motivation, other contestants including the recently paroled criminal Horst Muller (Gert Fröbe), Lt. Kit Barrington (Dudley Moore) of the British army, the Italians Marcell Agosti (Lando Buzzanca) and Angelo Pincilli (Walter Chiari) are all entering the race - each with a high-stakes reason for winning the race. If either Schofield or Sir Cuthbert Ware-Armitage are going to win the day, they're going to have to put the pedal to the metal and hope luck is on their side.
Originally titled Monte Carlo or Bust! in the U.K. and retitled and edited for U.S. audiences, Those Daring Young Men in Their Jaunty Jalopies is a clunky cash-in/sequel banked entirely on the previous success of 195's Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines. With some fresh faces - as well as a few familiar ones - this sequel tries to squeeze every bit of mileage it can out of the impressive concept of a 1500-mile auto race and the hijinks and shenanigans that could ensue during such a journey. Unfortunately, this film suffers a distinct lack of freshness.
With 1963's It's A Mad Mad Mad Mad World followed by 1965's The Great Race, Those Daring Young Men in Their Jaunty Jalopies feels too familiar and the comedic hijinks feel too forced and hammy for their own good. For every one great joke that gives a solid laugh, there are probably half a dozen one-liners and sight gags that fail to stick the landing. Under the direction of Ken Annakin, the cast does their best to zip through the script and mug their way towards a good time. At its core, there is a funny movie to enjoy here. Once again Terry-Thomas provides some of the best bits while Tony Curtis does his best to manage some decent mugging. Peter Cook and Dudley Moore are a great pair for some understated humor, and it's always entertaining to see Goldfinger's Gert Fröbe pile on the comedic antics. It's not a great sequel to Flying Machines, but it's good for a laugh. Had this film enjoyed less comedic competition from other films of the same genre, it might have fared better. As it stands, it's good for an evening's entertainment, funny, but not altogether distinctly memorable.
Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray
Those Daring Young Men in Their Jaunty Jalopies arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Kino Lorber and their Studio Classics label. Pressed onto a Region A BD-25 Disc, the disc is housed in a standard, sturdy Blu-ray case and comes with a booklet containing cover artwork for other Kino Lorber Studio Classics releases. The disc loads directly to a static image main menu featuring traditional navigation options.
While no indication is given as to the vintage of the 2.35:1 1080p transfer, my guess is that it was fairly recent as Those Daring Young Men in Their Jaunty Jalopies looks pretty terrific. Outside of some very sporadic speckling, the print sourced for this master is in impeccable shape. Detail and image clarity are strong and lend to enjoying the numerous sight gags. Clothing, production design, as well as the beautiful scenic European locations, all look terrific. Colors are bright, bold and offer a terrific amount of primary pop and presence. Flesh tones can skew a bit pink at times, but otherwise, everyone looks healthy. Black levels are strong throughout allowing the image to maintain a terrific sense of three-dimensional depth. Fans of the film should be very pleased with the results on screen.
Sporting a robust DTS-HD MA 2.0 mix, Those Daring Young Men in Their Jaunty Jalopies enjoys the right kind of high-energy audio it needs to land a lot of the comedic bits. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout. Motorcar engines have the right roar, chug, and sputter, and sound effects have a heightened goofy quality to them. Scoring is strong and keeps the energy up as our characters race about the countryside. Free of any age-related wear and tear, pops, or hiss, this is a pretty terrific audio mix.
Aside from the terrific audio commentary from film historians David Del Valle and Jesse Merlin, the bonus features package is mostly comprised of Kino Lorber Studio Classics traditional assortment of movie trailers.
Audio Commentary - Featuring film historians David Del Valle and Jessee Marlin, together the pair provide quite a nice and informative commentary. Fans of the flick will like their anecdotes.
Those Daring Young Men in Their Jaunty Jalopies may not be the greatest film of this sort, but it's still a pretty good one. I enjoyed some steady laughs throughout even though the familiarity of the flick was a bit of a hindrance. With a great cast, there's a lot of fun to be had here, even if there are better movies in this comedic sub-genre. Kino Lorber has done a bang-up job with this Blu-ray release of Those Daring Young Men in Their Jaunty Jalopies. The disc features a fantastic A/V presentation and a worthwhile audio commentary to bolster the bonus feature package. Taken as a whole I'm calling this one recommended.