I would have to go with #3, because, we want to know that Ray & Irwin are okay, and that Pike didn't kill them, but HOWEVER that final shot of the gas station is still great. As for the cops, I think that the shot of them arriving should still be left in, and the line, "There still alive!" should be cut out, cutting back to Tyler in the shower at, "Writing parking tickets I suppose." But I have one question. In the script of the movie, where was this scene?
So happy to see new Rosita Beach Podcasts! If I had known about the showing in New Jersey, I probably would have dragged my wife down to see it! Please keep the good stuff coming!
Great comments, Matt, thank you for your perspective! - Paul
After thinking about all that I've just read, I had to go with number 2. Why? Well for one thing, I guess I'll just talk about suspension of disbelief. Mad World has always been my favorite movie. The crazy logic of the movie works, and works very well in reality. By that I mean that barring certain aspects, mainly the over the top slapstick, the plot could be true, and most of the police are usually playing it pretty straight. It always worked as a counterpoint to the insanity for me. One glaring problem for me (most notably when the cops leave the Crumps in the cellar just because "It's a race") was always the incredible lack of cops from the shortened version. After the hunt begins in earnest, the cops following them kind of disappear. There's the copter following Meyer when he's with Don Knotts, and the copter that can't keep up with Dingie and Benji's plane. There's the cops that Sylvester almost runs off the road, and a quick piece where Edward Horton tries to stop the Crumps and is held back by a cop that seemed odd since there were hardly any other cop spots. Bringing the cops in after the destruction on the building is almost like saying "okay, I know in the real world the cops would have put a stop to this little scenario long before it got to this point, but at least we're going to show that there is a cop presence here." I also agree that it's good to see that Ray and Irwin aren't harmed. Since Lenny Pike is probably the most sympathetic of the travellers (barring emiline, maybe) it's good to see he may have been destructive, but he didn;t hurt anyone. If any scene is awkward for me in the VHS version, it's the other with Pike, where he explains what he wants to do with the money. I guess it's trying to show that his heart is in the right place, but that his brain is lacking in functionality, but he comes across as gruff and mean, and it's one of the only times he does for me. The scene where they're arguing and he doesn't understand why he shouldn;t pay taxes on stolen money is a far better and subtler way to show who and what he is. As far as choice 3, I don't like the splitting of the scene all that much. I think it slows things down far more this way because this episode is over. The plot has to stop and back up to what is essentially a dead end before it gets going again. Well there's my 350,000 cents worth. Hope anyone reading this is still awake.
I believe the "Now they show up" line is a good gag on the old line, "You can never find a cop when you need one". Delivered beautifully by Arnold Stang. This line/scene was worthy of inclusion in the movie. I vote #2 or #3, to yes include it.
What amazing comments and thoughts about this sequence. THANKS GUYS. This is amazing insight. - Paul
Some arguments for voting for choice No. 2:
- the scene doesn´t leave the viewer with a sense of comedic violence towards innocent people and destruction of their property - instead we see Ray & Irwin survive, with their sense of humor intact. A "human interest", warm-hearted ending to the scene.
- the dialogue between Ray, Irwin and the policemen is a good example of the many short conversations at the beginning and end of scenes, meant by the screenwriters to function as pauses and breathers in-between all the slapstick we love. If you agree that these pauses give the movie a more satisfying pace, and make it a better movie, choice No. 2. is best.
- the scene is in the screenplay, so it must have been OK with the filmmakers at some point in time. Personally I believe there´s a good chance it was in the Road Show version.
What's interesting in the clip of the police car pulling into the gas station is it captures "axle hop" on rear wheel lockup you can actually hear (and see on the video VHS Classic Version) when the car skids to a stop. Look carefully at the rear passeneger wheel when you hear the metal banging/clatter and you can see it move up and down, as if it's driving over ruts. Axle hop in emergency stops was characteristic of Chrysler products. It was caused by a defect in the design of the rear suspension geometry - braking forces would distort the leaf springs causing the rear axle to oscillate, to shudder. It's undersireable since it resulted in the wheel bouncing, the loss of adhesion of the rear tires lengthening stopping distance. Rear axle hop was more common on hard acceleration, but Chyrsler had it on braking too on at least some of their "full size" cars with rear leaf suspension well into the 1970s! Wheel hop didn't occur with cars of that era with coil spring suspension, nor am I aware that any Fords suffered this quirk.
An aspect of movies is they record dimensions of our culture at a given point of time. Like the buildings we erected, the clothes we wore, the furniture in our homes, our streets and roads, and the cars we drove. Mad World performs this historical task in spades, in fact, the display of how life was in 1962 America is of great importance. Although I understand issues surrounding the length of the movie, it's momentum and story line, I'd argue including this brief sequence of the police car skidding into the gas station adds to the richness of the automotitve history Mad World serves. Editing it out was and will continue to be a loss, however minor.