Genre Guesstimation – A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1966)

The idea behind this feature (Genre Guesstimation) is for me to watch a bunch of new movies (or ones that I haven’t seen many times) from the chosen monthly GG genre in order to expand my knowledge of movies within that particular genre.

This month’s Genre has been chosen by Audrey of 1001 Movies and Beyond and she has chosen the genre of Movie Musicals.

Please get me your submissions by the 25th of June by sending them to

Try to think out of the box! Great choice Audrey!

Let’s see if I felt that this movie would be worthy of being in the company of my others favorite movies in the genre of Movie Musicals.

“It’s against Roman law to take one’s life. Penalty’s death. ” – Roman Sentry

Number of Times Seen – 1 (6 Jun 2017)

Brief Synopsis – A Roman slave makes a deal with his young master that he will be freed if he helps him get the woman of his dreams.

My Take on it – I had vaguely heard of this film before finally watching it and was so pleasantly surprised at how good it was.

This film had me laughing from start to finish because it was so cleverly constructed that it is fun and entertaining the whole time.

The cast chosen for this film are partially comprised of the actors that made the stage play so great and Zero Mostel gives such an energetic performance as the lead character that it’s hard to believe he had so much in himself to give for such a role.

Phil Silvers, Buster Keaton and Jack Gilford are all superbly funny in supporting roles and help make this story so enjoyable to watch unfold.

They do an amazing job showing us what kind of things happened in ancuient Rome while at the same time poking fun at those very same issues.

Despite this film taking place in Ancient times, the story feels quite relevant and relateable to modern times.

The songs are superb and besides being extremely “catchy” and hummable (I’m still hearing some of them now 36 hours after watching this film) they all allow us to try and understand a bit better about life during those times and are also cleverly composed in a way that they all have dual meanings.

My favorite song is – Comedy Tonight

Check it out here

This is a film that only was nominated for one Oscar (that it won) for Best Music, but it really is a travesty that Mostel, the supporting cast nor the film itself were able to garner nominations also.

Bottom Line – Hilarious film that is so fun and entertaining the whole way through. The cast is superb with Mostel giving such an energetic performance.  Silvers, Keaton and Gilford are also all really funny in everything that they do. Does a wonderful job portraying what kind of things happened in Rome yet also knows how to make it seem relevant today instead of too historic.  The songs are great because they allow us to get a much better understanding of life at that time yet also are so cleverly composed.  Definitely deserved its Oscar for Best Muusic, but it’s a shame that Mostel, the film itself and even some of the members of the supporting cast were completely overlooked here. Highly Recommended!

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – Every actor who has opened in the role of Pseudolus on Broadway (Zero Mostel, Phil Silvers and Nathan Lane) won a Best Actor Tony for their performance. In addition, Jason Alexander, who performed as Pseudolus in one scene in “Jerome Robbins’ Broadway”, also won a Tony for Best Actor in a Musical.  (From IMDB)

Genre Grandeur Worthy? – Such a great musical!  I’m so happy that I finally saw it and plan to make sure to see it again and again because it is so nearly perfectly put together.

Rating – Oscar Worthy


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8 thoughts on “Genre Guesstimation – A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1966)

  1. A favorite of mine also. As you said, Mostel did win the Tony for his performance on Broadway (try to picture him doing Pseudolus 8X a week!!) so it takes a bit of sting out of no Oscar nod. Also, amongst the Tony honored men who played the role, Pseudolus was also played by Whoopie Goldberg in a revival. Additionally, you can feel the manic energy in the staging/filming of the musical numbers – directed by Richard Lester – who also directed the Beatles’ movies “A Hard Day’s Night” and “Help!” The entire cast in this one is spot on. And in summing up, remember, “Everybody ought to have a maid…”


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