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Page # 710

The Ladies Man
United States of America 1961
Director: Jerry Lewis
Screenplay: Jerry Lewis, Bill Richmond
Producer: Ernest D. Glucksman, Jerry Lewis
Cast: Jerry Lewis, Helen Traubel, Kathleen Freeman, Hope Holiday, Gretchen Houser
Genre: Comedy

Running Time: 95
Aspect Ratio:  1.66:1 (NTSC Widescreen)
Sound: mp3
Subtitles: English, Spanish
Features: Commentary by Jerry Lewis and Steve Lawrence
Theatrical Trailer
Studio:  Paramount DVD Region:  1 Unrated
DVD Release:  Oct 2004 Discs:  1 (Cloud) []
Reviews:  I loved Jerry Lewis movies as a kid, but naturally lost interest as I grew older and it seemed the movies simultaneously declined in quality while Jerry became increasingly annoying as a pontificating pseudo-intellectual. However his early work was interesting as he tried different things (silence in The Bellboy for example) and he made a couple of fine comedies early on. I have always found parts of It's Only Money and The Ladies Man hilarious. Many feel The Nutty Professor to be his best, and it has some good stuff, but I have always been partial to the all-out, anything-goes assault of gags in The Ladies Man, one of his best efforts. Also the shmaltz and sentimentality that marred so much of his later films is, for the most part, thankfully absent here.

Comedy, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder, and you cannot fake a laugh. You either find a non-sequiter throw-away joke like the bit with the door cited above funny, or you don't. Likewise many of the non-stop gag setups and deliveries here will crack you up or they won't. Of course it's silly. It was meant to be silly. Silly done well, is just fine.

There are some great bits here: the opening "heartbreak" scene (hilariously exaggerated); the butterflies; the other "pain" jokes (the toaster); "baby"; the dance with George Raft; the surreal encounter with Miss Cartilage; the "sound test" with Doodles Weaver; the intrusions into Mrs. Wellonmellon's TV show and so on. And if none of the above make you laugh, there is the one certified classic routine of the "hat bit" with Jerry Lester doing his patented "slow-burn".

Jerry made good use of the elaborate set and his direction here is as concise and appropriate as possible. As to the DVD, unfortunately, on the Commentary Jerry offers a few useful insights, but Steve Lawrence seems to be there just to say "Great Jer" after every bit. Egregious, but I suppose they don't watch many DVD's, and fail to understand what a Commentary is about. Take the 5 stars in context.

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