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Amusing but not their best
on August 20, 2008
For reasons unknown (to me), Paramount's DEAN MARTIN & JERRY LEWIS COLLECTION VOLUME TWO does not include MONEY FROM HOME and 3 RING CIRCUS. Both films are among the team's lesser efforts, but it still would have been nice if they had been a part of this set. Now MONEY FROM HOME has been released as a separate disc, as per Legend Films' licensing deal with Paramount. This is good news for M&L diehards, who will want to add this title to their collection.
Originally photographed in 3-D, MONEY FROM HOME (1953), the team's first film in color, places suave Dino and screwball Jerry in the 1920s world of horseracing, Prohibition, and gangsters. While several set-pieces garner chuckles and smiles, they fail to deliver the sort of huge belly-laughs found in other Martin & Lewis pictures. One major exception is a sequence in which Jerry frantically lip-synchs to Dean's rendition of "I Only Have Eyes For You." It's a brilliant bit of pantomime. If only more passages had been up to this level.
MONEY FROM HOME is a pleasant if forgettable trifle, and if you`re already a Martin & Lewis addict, then you`ll enjoy this outing much more than an average viewer will. If the sight of Jerry masquerading as a harem girl sends you into uncontrollable hysterics, then this is a movie tailor-made for your tastes.
Kids will probably get a big kick out of this film, so if you're judging this entry as family-friendly fare, you may rate it higher than I do. However, the aforementioned MARTIN & LEWIS COLLECTION VOLUME TWO -- which contains LIVING IT UP, YOU'RE NEVER TOO YOUNG, ARTISTS AND MODELS, PARDNERS, and HOLLYWOOD OR BUST -- provides superior examples of Dean and Jerry's brand of comedy and song.
Technically speaking, this DVD transfer is first-rate, with breathtaking color values. Paramount made some of the most visually stunning Technicolor movies of the 1950s, and this one is no exception. But there are no extras. Not even a measly theatrical trailer. If they didn't have one for MONEY FROM HOME, you'd think they would have included other Martin & Lewis trailers instead. (A trivial note: The back cover includes a shot of Dean and Jerry with Donna Reed from THE CADDY. Is there a shortage of MONEY FROM HOME photos?)
So now that MONEY FROM HOME has been released, where is 3 RING CIRCUS? I think it`s the weakest of the 16 feature films Dean and Jerry made together, but I would still like to see it on DVD.