HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Adrift
Never a Dull Moment
McQueen
Ugly Duckling, The
Apostle
Distant Voices, Still Lives
Hereditary
Cup Fever
Peril for the Guy
3 Days in Quiberon
Club, The
Best F(r)iends: Volume 1
Pili
Suspect, The
Baxter!
Dead Night
Thoroughbreds
Ghost and the Darkness, The
Strike Commando
Molly
Full Alert
Up the Academy
Darling Lili
Tehran Taboo
Follow That Bird
I, Olga Hepnarová
Finders Keepers
Breadwinner, The
All About Steve
Bad Samaritan
   
 
Newest Articles
If He Were a Carpenter and It Was the 80s: The Fog, Prince of Darkness and They Live
Tee-Hee, It's 80s Sci-Fi Horror: Night of the Comet, The Stuff and Night of the Creeps
Chance of a Ghost: The Uninvited and The Ghost and Mrs. Muir
3 Simian Slashers: Phenomena, Link and Monkey Shines
When is a Jackie Chan Movie Not a Jackie Chan Movie? Armour of God and City Hunter
Anytime Anywhere: The Complete Goodies at the BBC Episode Guide Part 2
Anytime Anywhere: The Complete Goodies at the BBC Episode Guide Part 1
I-Spy Scotland: The Thirty Nine Steps and Eye of the Needle
Manor On Movies--Black Shampoo--three three three films in one
Manor On Movies--Invasion USA
Time Trap: Last Year in Marienbad and La Jetée
Gaining Three Stone: Salvador, Natural Born Killers and Savages
Right Said Bernard: Cribbins on DVD
1969: The Year Westerns Couldn't Get Past
A Network Horror Double Bill: Assault and Death Line on Blu-ray
   
 
  Nutty Professor, The Alter-EgomaniacBuy this film here.
Year: 1963
Director: Jerry Lewis
Stars: Jerry Lewis, Stella Stevens, Del Moore, Kathleen Freeman, Med Flory, Norman Alden, Howard Morris, Elvia Allman, Milton Frome, Buddy Lester, Marvin Kaplan, David Landfield, Skip Ward, Julie Parrish, Henry Gibson, Les Brown, Richard Kiel, William Smith
Genre: Comedy
Rating:  8 (from 2 votes)
Review: Professor Julius Kelp (Jerry Lewis) works in the science department of this university, but he's somewhat accident prone and liable to mess up his experiments and demonstrations, as today when he mixes the incorrect amounts of chemicals to inadvertently create an explosive reaction. The dean, Dr Warfield (Del Moore), immediately sends for the fire brigade, and they break down the door of the classroom to let the students - and the smoke - out, although it's the dean's secretary (Kathleen Freeman) who notices Julius squashed under the door. Will he ever learn?

As far as his solo films went, The Nutty Professor was Lewis's biggest movie, a hit in its day and often held up as an example of his talent both behind and in front of the camera. It was a jokey variation on the old Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde story, although down the years many have found cause to question precisely how humorous Lewis was being, as there will always be those who wish to analyse the works of the great comedians to uncover the serious side to their personality, as if they could not accept that silly men could not have a dark side. In the case of this silly man, they might have had a point, however.

It was popular at the time to see Julius' split personality as a way of getting back at his former partner Dean Martin, with whom he had formed the double act which had brought them both such huge success, both on stage and on film. But now the overriding view of the character, or characters, is that both Kelp and his Buddy Love alter ego were just what they appeared to be: the two sides of Jerry Lewis, and, as the tales of his offscreen womanising emerged, with behaviour that suggested he was not as sweet as the well-meaning fools he preferred to play at the height of his career, you can understand that there could have been a measure of soul-searching going on in the mind of the comic.

Something along the lines of, how can women fall for my smooth-talking act in private when my public persona is such a goof? Certainly the key to the plot could be in the character of Stella Purdy (Stella Stevens), the student who Julius harbours a crush on, but believes is way out of his league. In his attempts to improve himself, he visits a gym leading to a few of Lewis trademark crazy sight gags, but after that fails he applies his knowledge and opts for a more chemical solution to his problems. The transformation sequence where he takes the potion is filmed surprisingly straight, as if he were not so much spoofing Jekyll and Hyde as making a faithful rendition, and the resulting Buddy Love could be seen as a kind of monster.

Well, his ego could, as he visits The Purple Pit nightclub and wows the patrons with his obnoxious charm, even performing at the piano in a Martin style, but our affections are directed by Stella. Lewis uses many closeups on Stevens' beautiful face to guide us as to how we react to both Kelp and Buddy, so we can see that they both have worth as she finds herself attracted to Love in spite of her better judgement - he has quite the line in flattering dialogue that dazzles her. There's never really much doubt as to which persona Stella will choose, as Lewis was aware that the audience would never forgive him if the cad won the day, but if The Nutty Professor was not one of his most consistently hilarious efforts, it was one of his most fascinating. It's easy to mock critics who try to divine so much meaning in Lewis's comedies, but in this case it's entirely justified as his preoccupation with why people are drawn to the charismatic even if they're pretty resistable otherwise speaks to so much about what we can't admit about celebrity. Music by Walter Scharf.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 2627 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (1)


Untitled 1

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

Latest Poll
Who's the best?
Steven Seagal
Pam Grier
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Paul Shrimpton
Andrew Pragasam
Stately Wayne Manor
  Patrick Keenan
Enoch Sneed
Ian Phillips
  Afra Khan
   

 

Last Updated: