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The Errand Boy

4.2 out of 5 stars 49 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

In THE ERRAND BOY, Morty is hired by Paramutual Pictures as a spy to find out where the company's money is being spent. Working in the mailroom, Morty has access to the production lot and discovers that wherever he goes, havoc ensues in his effort to provide his new boss, Mr. Sneak, with the information he has requested.

Special Features

  • Select Scene Commentary by Jerry Lewis and Steve Lawrence
  • Archival Materials
  • Theatrical Trailer

Product Details

  • Actors: Jerry Lewis, Brian Donlevy, Howard McNear, Stanley Adams, Iris Adrian
  • Directors: Jerry Lewis
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Paramount
  • DVD Release Date: October 12, 2004
  • Run Time: 92 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0002NY8UI
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #79,771 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Errand Boy" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: VHS Tape
A knowing and multi-faceted critique of big-studio filmmaking, 'The Errand Boy' is one of Lewis's very best films (it is his third; his fifth, 'The Patsy', can be considered as a sort of sequel). Morty S. Tashman is hired as a spy by the moguls of a major studio because they want to learn how their money is spent. He proves to be a destructive force: just as the prologue had exposed the trickeries and illusions on which Hollywood films thrive, the following 80 minutes show Morty disrupting a few shootings, a voice-recording session, the work of script-girls, and more. He stands as the innocence the producers have lost in trying to make money and please everybody; it is quite easy to read him as 'Lewis the artist'. By the end of the film, Morty has become a Jerry Lewis-like star, proudly saluting his new fans behind dark glasses; he thus seems to have made a place for himself in a world he had previously reduced to pieces. This dichotomy is similar to the one of 'The Bellboy', Lewis's first film as a director: in that movie, the timid, free and inventive bellboy was contrasted with the swagger, aggressiveness and confinement of Lewis playing himself. The brilliant and cyclical final sequence offers an interesting alternative: by having Morty meet a clumsy boy resembling his 'pre-star' self, Lewis assures us that even if some can't escape the studio's mercantile traps, there will always be innocence to be spread in these calculations and falsities. Intelligent, and very funny.
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Format: DVD
A typical Jerry Lewis movie. As with most of his, if you don't like Lewis you won't like the movie, but also as with most of his films, it's packed with funny comedy that's mostly timeless and often imitated.
The cast includes Brian Donlevy (Cowboy, The Quatermass Experiment, Beau Geste, etc.), Howard McNear (Floyd the barber on The Andy Griffith Show), and Joe Besser (The Three Stooges, The Abbott & Costello Show).
The plot's not; just a flimsy frame for Jerry's shenanigans, of which there's enough to fill 90 minutes with laughs, plus a couple cute scenes with puppets. Jerry's hired ostensibly as an errand boy for a movie studio, but actually to spy for the upper management. He get's into plenty of slapstick trouble on the job but never accomplishes any spying.
But the comedy is not all slapstick by any means; much of it is poking fun at movie directors and supervisors, and other screwball comedy. One of my favorite bits is when three kids are ordering candy where Jerry's filling in at the studio cafeteria, and they send him up the same high ladder 3 times for different orders from the same giant glass jar of jelly beans. There's also a great basketball scene with the Dover Basketeers. But wait, there's more, including a cameo appearance by the Cartwrights of Bonanza, Lorne Greene, Michael Landon, Pernell Roberts, and Dan Blocker.
My favorite Jerry Lewis movies are "The Delicate Delinquent," "Way... Way Out," (which doesn't seem to be available anywhere) and of course "The Nutty Professor" (nothing against Eddy Murphy, but he's no Jerry Lewis). I think The Errand Boy is almost as good as these.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The third movie of Lewis as film director, also written ( in collaboration with Bill Richmond ) and performed by Lewis himself, follows the same scheme he invented for " The bellboy "; this is a comic film with the structure of a long cartoon and an almost inexistent but necessary plot ( Morty, an anonymous worker from Paramutual Pictures is hired by the major studio's moguls as spy to watch closely how the company's money is spent ), the basic support that allows Lewis to tack a collection of depurated and satirical sight-gags focused in an only stage: this time, in a very particular hell named Hollywood( the name of the movie studio where action takes place, Paramutual, is, of course, a deliberated sarcastic distorsion of Paramount Pictures ). " The errand boy " is a subversive ( still today )comic glance to movie industry where Lewis dismounts many secrets and lies of movie business. The film is plenty of delightful comic scenes like that one in which Morty ( Jerry Lewis ), sat in front of the table where the big boss manages the movie studio, develops a mocking caricature of the " big fishs " of film industry only with mimicry and the support of Count Basie's music.

Widescreen edition.
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Format: VHS Tape
Flawed but generally successful combination of pathos and 1930s slapstick: the most insecure guy on the planet is put in charge of internal security for a (wanna-be) major motion picture company. Jerry provides some of the funniest moments ever captured on film, as he stumbles from one department to the next, first an as an "extra", then as a mailroom delivery person. His attempts to find a quiet spot for lunch are worth the price of admission. But perhaps the best scene is the quietest: he finds himself in the prop department with a miniature clown who "comes to life" - it's a beautifully acted and effectively lit scene. However, there are are numerous elaborate sequences which prove fruitless, and the movie is overlong by about 15 minutes. And the character's ultimate "discovery" by the creative powers-that-be is bizarre in light of the fact that his presence has been unintentionally recorded on celluloid from day one. Despite the lost opportunities, TEB remains on a level with "The Nutty Professor" - a very entertaining and thoughtful effort.
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