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Stop the World---I Want to Get Off Reviews

Reviewed By: Craig Butler

Some material from non-cinematic media presents unique problems when attempting to transfer it to the screen. Such is the case with Stop the World, I Want to Get Off, a smash-hit Broadway and London musical that is severely stagebound. Indeed, part of its conceit is that "the world is a stage" (or more accurately, it seems, a circus), and the piece is filled with moments that are extremely theatrical -- such as when the lead character periodically yells, "Stop the world!" and then proceeds to deliver a monologue directly to the audience. Philip Saville's solution to these challenges was to film the movie as a stage play, complete with shots of the orchestra leader and the conductor. (His concept for the show-halting monologues was to film them in black-and-white, while the rest of the film is in color.) The material, though terribly dated and occasionally arch, calls for a more imaginative treatment; as a result, much of the film is on the flat side. However, most viewers will put up with the staginess to enjoy the immensely popular score. Tony Tanner does very well with the difficult leading role, and Millicent Martin displays admirable versatility in her multiple parts. Creators Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse would later write the songs for Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.