The Legendary Jerry Collection (The Bellboy / Cinderfella / The Delicate Delinquent / The Disorderly Orderly / The Errand Boy / The Family Jewels / The Ladies Man / The Nutty Professor / The Patsy / The Stooge)
Contains: The Nutty Professor, The Ladies' Man, The Delicate Delinquent, Cinderfella, The Bell Boy, The Errand Boy, The Patsy, The Disorderly Orderly, The Family Jewels, and The Stooge.
This 10-DVD boxed set is a delight for anyone afflicted with a susceptibility to the fractured antics of Jerry Lewis, or "Le Roi du Crazy" to the French. This set emphasizes Lewis's busy period after the breakup with Dean Martin, when he was exerting more influence over his vehicles (six of the titles are directed by Jerry himself) and almost single-handedly keeping Paramount Pictures propped up with his box-office take. The set curiously includes one of the Martin-Lewis pictures, 1953's The Stooge, which has echoes of the real-life vibe between Jerry and Dino.
The other titles include Lewis's 1957 solo starring debut, The Delicate Delinquent, and his directing bow, The Bellboy (1960). The latter is an often-ingenious and plotless collection of gags with Jerry as a bellhop in Miami Beach's Fountainebleau Hotel. His character doesn't speak (making the connection with silent cinema more pointed), but in one uproarious sequence the obnoxious movie star "Jerry Lewis" comes to visit the hotel.
The Ladies Man puts Lewis alone in a boarding house full of women. This film's bizarre sexual politics (and its amazing cut-away set) helps explain why French critics such as Jean-Luc Godard consider Lewis a cinematic genius--Godard actually borrowed the cut-away set idea for his film Tout va bien. The Errand Boy is a cascade of gags strung together on the set of "Paramutual Pictures," a movie studio that employs Lewis's klutzy gofer; it features one of Jerry's best musical miming routines. The Patsy is another good one, as nebbish Jerry is drafted into impersonating a famous deceased celebrity, but by 1965's The Family Jewels the inspiration is flagging a bit.
Two of the titles are directed by Lewis's mentor, Frank Tashlin. Cinderfella works a sentimental variation on the fairy tale; it's slow and at times mawkish, but some of Lewis's physical stuff is top-notch. The Disorderly Orderly is livelier, with a hospital setting and some of Jerry's most inspired babbling. The box also includes Lewis's acknowledged high point, The Nutty Professor, in its special-edition form. Its Jekyll-and-Hyde story is still the funniest and weirdest premise Lewis ever had. There are other Lewis films out there, but this box is definitely the cream of the career. If some of the jokes haven't aged well (and those who can't stand his mugging won't be convinced even by this set), Lewis still seems a more interesting filmmaker than he's usually given credit for. Extras include some disappointing commentaries with Lewis and Steve Lawrence, plus a smattering of outtakes, some of them funny and/or revealing of Lewis's directing technique. --Robert Horton
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The Nutty Professor has been called his best. I really like it. Just great stuff, smooth and funny and colorful. (But I hate the Buddy Love character. Too over the top. He's a jerk, we get it. We don't need a brick to fall on our heads.)
The Ladies Man is a lot of fun at Miss Welonmelon's boarding house, with some great bits: the butterflies, feeding Baby, fixing the gangster's hat, wiping Welonmelon's portait (that always makes me laugh out loud), and the microphone problem while broadcasting 'Up Your Street'. There's a rather sudden ending, but this is one of the best in Jerry's career. Amazing set, too.
The Bellboy is my favorite film of Jerry's, and it's extremely rewatchable because it has a lot going on, one thing after another. The lunch counter gag kills me. And you can't beat Jerry tampering with a clay bust that's still wet. Very good overall. And his character has virtually no dialogue. The amazing thing about The Bellboy is that they shot most of it at a ritzy hotel in Florida while it was doing its day to day business.
The Errand Boy is a fairly good comedy, a typical vehicle for Jerry Lewis. I enjoy it. Another bunch of fun vignettes.
The Disorderly Orderly is part slapstick and part depressing psychological study. Some wonderful comic bits cannot overcome the serious feel that the movie plays with in the pretty blonde patient who is totally bitter, resentful to everyone, and very troubled. If you took out all the parts with her and then extended the slapstick, you'd have a better flick. Just my opinion.
The Family Jewels is cute, definitely a family film; I liked this more than I remembered. Which uncle will young Donna choose to raise her? Granted, you know the ending long before it happens, but I loved the part when Jerry, as the pilot, takes the old ladies on a trip. Silly, surreal, and fun. Only on a plane with Jerry does the in-flight film become affected by the angle that the plane is flying. And Jerry gets to don five silly disguises in this movie, Uncle Julius being the same character as the Nutty Professor.
The Patsy is fair; taking the same exact concept as The Errand Boy (bigwigs need a substitute immediately and grab the first idiot they see), this movie is not as funny as we expect. It has its moments. I have to say that it says so much about no-talent people getting groomed into celebrities, which even rings truer today than it did then.
Cinderfella is a musical that is very colorful and stylish, another family film. You can tell they spent a lot on it. It's my least favorite, although I'm sure people love it. I guess you can't help but be pulled in to the familiar story, and the nice costumes and sets. While this film is lush and smoothly put together, I just don't get the fun experience from this movie that I get from The Ladies Man or The Bellboy.
The bottom line is that this set has a handful of wonderful movies that you just don't see on television any longer (which is a shame!). And the gems make up for the duds, definitely. A comedy lover's treat.
A special bonus is a longer documentary on The Nutty Professor disc which goes into the chronology of Lewis' solo career. Lewis himself is interviewed heavily.
The only disappointing thing is that the audio commentary by Lewis and others on the discs is quite sparse. So much time had passed between the original filming and the commentary that much of what we hear is their laughter at the funny parts, or the odd, "Oh, this was a great scene." The commentary doesn't add a whole lot to the collection.
That said, there is enough other bonus material - not to mention the timeless movies themselves - that this collection was very much worth the purchase.
****About Jerry's Talent
Jerry Lewis was a visionary when it came to directing. And if he was in a movie, you can bet he gave plenty of great suggestions that helped the outcome of it. Jerry had an eye for the right camera angles and lighting, and as for his timing..they didn't call him the 'One-Take Wonder' for nothing.. Did you know Jerry had to be taken to the hospital after he made it to the top of the stairs in "Cindderfella"? Look at the take! You wouldn't think his heart was in trouble when watching it.. We could always count on Jerry to give us the finest in a comedy slapstick movie with a loveable character, no matter what he played.
****Jerry Lewis has MUCH out of print already!!!
There are some Jerry Lewis movies that are so out of print you can't even find a VHS for them!! It makes fans like me really wish they would print those in a collection like this one. If you purchace the two Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis Collections from Paramount and this one, you'll have as much as you could buy today as a whole collection. But good luck trying to find GEMS like "Who's Minding The Store" starring Jerry Lewis or his "Cracking Up" or Hardly Working" or "Which Way To The Front?" If you find them on DVD, let me know, because they are out of print! To my knowledge never even made it to DVD.
I wish the classic TV channels would even play them.. they don't.
So don't wait, and SNAG THIS... I did.. You won't regret it! They are done well, and contain many many laughs! Don't forget the popcorn!