Newest Reviews
Life at the Top
Whoopee Boys, The
Set, The
Cyrano de Bergerac
Death Walks in Laredo
Gemini Man
End of the Century
If Beale Street Could Talk
Raining in the Mountain
Day Shall Come, The
Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown
Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon, A
Sons of Denmark
Light of My Life
Umbrellas of Cherbourg, The
Jerky Boys, The
Chambre en Ville, Une
Mustang, The
Baie des Anges, La
Ready or Not
Seven Days in May
Hollywood Shuffle
Uncut Gems
Daniel Isn't Real
Presidio, The
Farewell, The
Challenge of the Tiger
Ad Astra
Winslow Boy, The
Pain and Glory
Judgment at Nuremberg
Newest Articles
Godzilla Goes to Hollywood
Demy-Wave: The Essential Jacques Demy on Blu-ray
The Makings of a Winner: Play It Cool! on Blu-ray
Sony Channel's Before They Were Famous: A Galaxy of Stars
Start Worrying and Hate the Bomb: Fail-Safe on Blu-ray
Completely Different: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 2 on Blu-ray
Bash Street Kid: Cosh Boy on Blu-ray
Seeing is Believing: Being There on Blu-ray
Top Thirty Best (and Ten Worst) Films of the 2010s by Andrew Pragasam
Top of the Tens: The Best Films of the Decade by Graeme Clark
Terrorvision: A Ghost Story for Christmas in the 1970s
Memories Are Made of This: La Jetee and Sans Soleil on Blu-ray
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
A Real-Life Pixie: A Tribute to Michael J. Pollard in Four Roles
We're All In This Together: The Halfway House on Blu-ray
Please Yourselves: Frankie Howerd and The House in Nightmare Park on Blu-ray
Cleesed Off: Clockwise on Blu-ray
Sorry I Missed You: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort on Blu-ray
Silliest of the Silly: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 1 on Blu-ray
Protest Songs: Hair on Blu-ray
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
  Who's Minding the Store? Would you buy a vacuum cleaner from this man?Buy this film here.
Year: 1962
Director: Frank Tashlin
Stars: Jerry Lewis, Jill St. John, Agnes Moorehead, John McGiver, Ray Walston, Francesca Bellini, Nancy Kulp, John Abbott, Jerry Hausner, Peggy Mondo, Isobel Elsom, Dick Wessel, Fritz Feld, Richard Deacon, Kathleen Freeman, Milton Frome, Barbara Pepper
Genre: Comedy
Rating:  5 (from 2 votes)
Review: For close to six generations, the Tuttle family have prospered running a chain of lavish department stores across America. However, it's the Tuttle women who wield the real power while their meek, subservient husbands change their surnames and generally do as they are told. Millionairess Phoebe Tuttle (Agnes Moorehead) is dismayed when her daughter Barbara (Jill St. John) rejects the family fortune and secretly starts working as a humble elevator girl at their New York store. Worse, she is romantically involved with Norman Pfeiffer (Jerry Lewis), a klutzy yet hard-working and earnest guy who struggles trying to earn enough money for them to settle down.

In Mrs. Tuttle's eyes, Norman is hardly ideal marriage material. Her solution is to have store manager Quimby (Ray Walston) hire Norman and have him do every thankless, near impossible task around the bustling store. From painting the knob at the end of a flagpole hanging from the ninth floor, to helping a lady pro-wrestler find the perfect pair of shoes and taming a monstrously out of control vacuum cleaner. Norman turns out to be made of sterner stuff and triumphs through oddball ingenuity, all without suspecting his sweetheart is really the boss' daughter. Norman even befriends the henpecked Mr. J.P. Tuttle (John McGiver) and reignites his wounded male pride, inspiring him to rebel against his overbearing wife...

Ladies, if you see only one Jerry Lewis comedy in your lifetime make sure it isn’t this one. Who's Minding the Store? draws from some deeply dated sexual politics with an alarmingly neurotic view of women as emasculators, voracious sexual predators and basically, self-serving bullies responsible for all the ill in the world. Which is surprising given how subversive Frank Tashlin usually is, in The Girl Can't Help It (1956), Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? (1957) and Rock-A-Bye Baby (1958) for starters, though less surprising if you consider how many heroines in Jerry Lewis movies are sappy substitute mother figures.

As Barbara, Jill St. John exhibits none of her sassiness from Diamonds Are Forever (1971). Barbara begs to be disinherited! Okay, not every girl wants to be a career woman but how many nowadays would throw away wealth, influence and lifelong security in a thriving business, just to mollycoddle a man-child so straight-laced he rebuffs Barbara's sexual advances every time. Come on fella, you're fooling nobody. Anyone who has seen Mad Men knows the early Sixties were one of the randiest eras in history.

Fair enough, this was a far from enlightened time with regards to gender roles. It might be wrong to single this movie out, but take a look at the other female characters served up: a lady wrestler itching for an excuse to indulge her violent whims; a tough female big game hunter (Nancy Kulp) who bullies her way to grabbing a free gun; a ravenous horde of shoppers who stampede through a big sale. Even Quimby's sexy secretary, (Francesca Bellini) rings false. She is supposedly bilking him for an ever-escalating series of raises but given Quimby sulks or scowls whenever she is around, their's is the least passionate illicit romance you're likely to see. Late in the day Tashlin throws in a line of dialogue that recasts this as a battle between the sincere and insincere, but it really adds up to a world being sapped of its joy by those ruthless, heartless women. When Norman surveys portraits of past Tuttle matriarchs with barely concealed disgust, he utters a rallying cry in inimitable Lewis fashion: "A man should be king of his own ranch style type tract-house." Quite.

If the film has a sour centre, it is surrounded by a deliciously sweet shell. Coming at the height of Jerry Lewis' glossy Paramount era superstardom, it unfolds in snazzy Technicolor with lavish production design and costumes by Edith Head. Lewis’ sight gags and pantomime are often inspired, including a wonderful musical moment with an invisible typewriter, a hilarious gag wherein a stray golf ball creates havoc around the store, and a genuinely touching moment when both Norman and Mr. Tuttle touch hands with Barbara without the other realising. Tashlin paints himself into a corner with his battle of the sexes and so wraps things up with a cutesy, but unsatisfying ending. There is enjoyment to be had, but this is not the ideal comedy to watch with your significant other.

Click to watch the best scene in the movie

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam


This review has been viewed 4132 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film


Frank Tashlin  (1913 - 1972)

American director whose films were heavily influenced by his years spent working in cartoons. In his 20s and 30s, Tashlin worked at both Disney and Warner Brothers in their animation studios, before moving into comedy scriptwriting in the late 1940s, on films like Bob Hope's The Paleface. Tashlin moved into directing popular live-action comedies soon after, with Hope in Son of Paleface, Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis in Artists and Models and Hollywood or Bust, and most notably Jayne Mansfield in The Girl Can't Help It and Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? These films were full of inventive, sometimes surreal touches, and used many of the techniques Tashlin had learnt as an animator. Continued to work during the sixties, but without the success of the previous decade.

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Butch Elliot
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
Paul Shrimpton


Last Updated: