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I admit it - I'm a Jerry Lewis fan
calgal849 December 2012
If you don't believe Jerry Lewis is a comic genius, you need to see this film. The humor. The cinematography. Everything is spot on. I know people have said there is no plot to this but watch it. There is. And it's sad and funny, as all good comedy truly is. Still one of my favorites. Watch the reactions of all the people around him. Watch how each scene is set up and framed. Jerry Lewis never saw the critical acclaim here in the US as he did in Europe but I believe he was way ahead of his time. Comedians like Adam Sandler, Eddie Murphy, and even Jim Carrey owe a debt of gratitude for Jerry Lewis paving the way. I wish the younger generation would discover Jerry Lewis' movies, including this one, because I believe they would appreciate his humor and artistry. Check out this movie, The Nutty Professor, Cinderfella and the Errand Boy.
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No Plot! Just Humor. ;)
robeykr2 September 2002
No Plot -- The film starts with this proclamation. This film is definitely one of Jerry Lewis' best of his carrier. Filmed during the height of his movie output in the 1960's, this film is comedy unto its own sake. The gags just don't stop -- you aren't given a moment to relax, because it's all so funny, you can't stop laughing. The NO PLOT aspect only helps, as the audience is free to concentrate on the moment. I still burst into laughter when the hotel manager is called by the airport to inform him 'HE WHAT!?' Yes, this film is dated by today's standard, but that should come as no surprise. This film was the product of a different era -- and a different society. The change in our society was what made him decide to briefly retire from film in the '70s. The standards of humor just changed. And performers had to change with it. But film is permanent. It is set in celluloid. It can be re-edited, but what would be the point? For anyone who can appreciate 'the artist' for his art, this film still can be enjoyed. For anyone who can look at past films for nostalgia, this film can be enjoyed. It's called comedy -- 'nuff said.
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dated? (minor spoiler)
Sergeiii20 March 2001
Warning: Spoilers
It is with productions like "The Bellboy" that Jerry Lewis earned more and more hostility in the States and made his eventual reputation in Europe (i.e France, of course). This movie is stuck in a continental divide, but also in a temporal one. I have no idea whether Lewis did actually grasp the ideas of surrealism or the absurd movement at the time, but it looks pretty much so. The man somehow managed to mix his usual desperately anarchic slapstick routines with a very clear sense of not making the innate tragedy of the matter an issue at all - only to disclaim at the end that the character shown in the picture might be your neigbour. The achievement here is that Lewis behaves like a lost circus clown throughout the major feature film - never allowing himself to get halfway sentimental or plot-oriented. He is illogic, destructive and spastic; and he makes the whole movie obey his zany rules, thus saving the Sennett/Roach school into a time when people were heavily reflecting on the opportunities of physical humour. Maybe it took the MelBrookses, the Abraham-Zuckers and the Farrellys to make that kind of unromantic comedy truly popular again way later, but here's someone who tried in 1960. Today, it looks like Jim Carrey taking over a Bunuel movie - and that's as silly as it gets.
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72 minutes of of sight gags
JasparLamarCrabb17 February 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Jerry Lewis's directorial debut is 72 minutes of sight gag after sight gag as Lewis plays a bellboy at the Fontainebleau hotel in Miami. Despite the harassment of co-workers and bullying of managers, Lewis manages to get EVERY job thrown at him done in his own outrageous ways. He also plays two roles...the other being himself(!), in town for an engagement at the hotel. Lewis is priceless in both roles, pantomiming his bellboy role and playing it straight as himself. There are many highlights in the film, from Lewis making the long walk across an insanely large empty theater to dozens of hotel guests trying unlock their rooms with the wrong key. The supporting cast includes Alex Gerry, Bob Clayton and two actresses playing Mrs. Hartunga! Milton Berle has a very clever cameo.
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Gets Me Every Time!
showbizgal8727 December 2003
This movie is one of my all time favorites! Every time I see it I catch something new I hadn't seen before, and, even after watching it so many times, it never ceases to set me into a fit of laughter! Future viewers: Ignore all that junk about it being dated, etc.! Watch this movie and decide for yourself- JL is awesome, and you WON'T be disappointed!
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Jerry Lewis the true genius of comedy
Petey-1028 July 2005
Jerry Lewis produced, wrote and directed The Bellboy in 1960, in four weeks at the Fountainbleau Hotel in Miami Beach, where he was performing at the time.The movie has no plot, it just shows us Stanley the bellboy getting in many hilarious situations.Stanley doesn't speak, he doesn't say a word until at the end of the movie.Lewis shows us some incredible silent comedy, great physical comedy in a way only Jerry can do.And what he does with his face! Marvelous, just marvelous! In this movie Jerry makes also a visit as himself.You can't help yourself laughing when the star arrives with a whole bunch of people.An other great comedian, Milton Berle can be seen there.And Stan Laurel.Well, not quite.Jerry wanted Stan to be in the movie, he sent him the script and Stan did make a few minor changes to it.He deleted one entire scene because it was too mean-spirited.So Stan did have something to do with the picture, but he wasn't seen in it.That's too bad, since Mr Laurel is also one of my favorite comics.But there is Bill Richmond as Stan Laurel look-alike.Mr Lewis will receive next September the Governors award for his charity work.He is the chairman of Muscular Dystrophy Association.Good for you, Jerry!You do deserve all the best in the world.I bought the DVD yesterday and I sure am glad I did.It may not be the most traditional Jerry Lewis movie, but it still works, works like a charm.After 45 years it still does.
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Why don't you talk boy. "Because you never asked me too"
ajohns123 October 2002
Warning: Spoilers
This movie is hilarious I like every little sketch there is some more than others but this is still a very funny especially in the limited time Jerry Lewis had and the limited money. I couldn't expect more from this movie the I'm told it was made because Jerry Lewis wouldn't let Cinderfella out until Christmas So he made this little movie too. And I'm very happy that he did 9/10.
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That raucous laugh and voice
bkoganbing7 March 2013
In The Bellboy we get to see two Jerry Lewises. Jerry plays a bellboy at the famous Miami Beach Fountainbleu Hotel where a good deal of the film is shot. And he plays movie star Jerry Lewis who happens to be staying at the Fountainbleu with one very large entourage. That's one of the gags in a funny scene involving a limousine. Also staying there is Milton Berle in another gag involving an identical Milton as well as an identical Jerry.

Jack Kruschen plays the head of Paramount Pictures in a prologue opening where he explains this film has no plot or story, it's just the day in the life of a singularly inept bellboy. He's the bane in the existence of hotel manager Alex Gerry and bell captain Bob Clayton. Jerry must be related to someone important otherwise he would have been canned years ago.

That raucous Lewis laugh and voice you will not hear at all, still Jerry puts together a lovely series of sight gags without a sound coming from him. Usually that voice is so much a part of his comedy shtick you'd think he'd be lost without it, but he carries off his goal of making a film that is a tribute to the famous silent comedians of yore.

One gag involves writer Bill Richmond doing an imitation of Stan Laurel. My guess is that Jerry tried to get the real Stan to do this film, but probably health reasons prevented it. It wasn't one of the better gags in the film, it could have used the real Stan to make it work.

The Bellboy is a quieter, but not more gentle Jerry Lewis.
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I really thought I'd really die watching it
matthank16 August 2003
This movie is solid gags. No plot and JL is very open about that....only gags or what they used to call 'blackouts'. I have simply never laughed so hard as when I watched this movie. But as for the scene where he loses it by the elevators, you may or may not like it (French?) but it nearly caused me to have an early death. Tape it, rent it or buy it, but if you have come this far, watch it!
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Very unusual....but worth seeing.
MartinHafer27 August 2012
This is one of Jerry Lewis' most unusual films. While many of his are quite episodic (with lots of little comedy skits buried within the film), this one is episodic--with no real plot to support it. In other words, it's JUST comedy skits and there is no attempt to create a back story or plot. While this isn't the sort of film I'd usually want to see, it's nice for a change of pace. In many ways, it reminds me of the Mr. Hulot films by Jacques Tati--which isn't surprising, as Lewis has praised Tati's work (and vice-versa).

The film takes place at a swank Miami hotel. Jerry plays a bellboy who always seems to be getting into trouble or being at the wrong place at the wrong time. Many of the skits are only mildly funny--but they come so quickly that it really doesn't matter. Among the best of the routines is when the great actor, Jerry Lewis, comes to the hotel-- as well as Milton Berle. Seeing the bellboy AND Lewis was a clever touch--and I loved seeing the entourage that got out of Lewis' limo. Quite engaging and worth seeing. I also marvel that Lewis wrote, directed and starred in this film and did it so very quickly.
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A Silly Collection of Gags
claudio_carvalho4 June 2007
In Miami Beach, the mute bellboy Stanley (Jerry Lewis) works at the luxurious Fontainebleau Hotel. In spite of being a serviceable and friendly employee, the clumsy Stanley gets successively into trouble with his mistakes.

"The Bellboy" is a silly collection of gags written, produced and directed by the lead star Jerry Lewis. There are some funny and non-sense jokes, like for example when Stanley meets the guest Jerry Lewis or when he removes the engine of a Volkswagen, and a great homage to Stan Laurel. My vote is five.

Title (Brazil): "O Mensageiro Trapalhão" ("The Clumsy Bellboy")
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Not-bad Jerry Lewis comedy
moonspinner555 September 2006
Directorial debut for writer-producer-star Jerry Lewis is a funny collection of skits centering around a put-upon bellhop at the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach. Having just completed "Cinderfella" for a mid-year release, Lewis suggested to Paramount Pictures they hold off showing that film until Christmas and gave them this one in its place (put together in near-record time). Short and relatively painless, the movie benefits from Haskell Boggs' sharp black-and-white cinematography, Walter Scharf's bright score and, of course, the snazzy locale. Lewis smoothly segues from one sight-gag to the next, his mugging relatively restrained. **1/2 from ****
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Probably not the definitive Lewis film but considering Jerry wrote, directed and starred in the flick, fans should take a chance
inkblot1117 July 2007
Stanley (Jerry Lewis) is a bellhop at a posh Miami hotel. It is hard to see how he stays employed! When a manager tells him to empty the trunk of a guest's car, for example, the auto turns out to be a Volkswagen beetle. Confused, Stanley nevertheless takes out the car's engine and presents it to the guests. Another time, an overweight lady checks into the hotel in order to complete a diet program. She loses a great deal of pounds and looks great but Stanley decides to give her a box of chocolates, as a reward, and she reverts to her old habits and fatter self. In short, this film is a series of episodes in the life of a hotel bellboy, strung together nicely. Lewis' usual facial expressions, physical humor, and antics are here for the world to see. As a legendary comic, he does a nice job but, this is certainly not his most memorable film. One would have to say The Nutty Professor or even one of my favorites, Way Way Out, are better examples of his talent. With that in mind, however, fans of Lewis should definitely carve out a couple of hours to watch this movie. It is fun, if not totally successful, flick.
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Dated but significant
faraaj-124 August 2006
Jerry Lewis was a genius. After his partnership with Dean Martin (I recommend you read JL's excellent autobiography Dean & Me - A Love Story) ended and he made a few successful comedies just as an actor (notably with director Frank Tashlin), JL moved on to become star, writer and director.

His first film was supposed to be Cinderfella - a Christmas movie. But, the studio wanted a summer movie from him as well such was his popularity. So, while staying in Miami and engaged in live performances, he took out the time to write, star in and direct The Bellboy. In addition to all this, he invented the video-assist technique which is a standard tool today when making a movie. All this in four weeks. He went on to Las Vegas for further live performances where he did the editing.

The film itself, as the opening monologue frankly confesses is not about plot or any specific sequences. Its a series of comedic gags - snippets completely unrelated to each other. Some are funny, most are dated. Nothing to capture the magic of the Dean years or future classics from JL like The Nutty Professor. However, for fans of JL, it is required viewing. His facial contortions are brilliant. The DVD special features contain an act on stage with JL while rehearsing for the movie. Very nice.
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there are two kinds of jerry lewis fans
davidm-145 September 2017
There are the ones who think he's a legendary comic genius from the 50's on. These are the folks who suffered through every bad self-directed movie and endless labor day telethon (let's welcome tony orlando and dawn!).

And then there those who think his single greatest moment was playing jerry langford in the king of comedy. as the years have gone by, i have found i'm in the latter group.

i have found that jerry lewis, and other comedians of his time like bob hope, terribly unfunny, especially in their movies. while the bellboy is an amazing piece of art (if you consider what he did to create it), it just isn't funny. it's a story-free tale, gag after gag, starring a largely silent jerry lewis, mugging at the camera like a chimp and creating strangely penalty-free chaos. like he always does. because i love the story of how he made it, i almost never turn it off if i come across it.

i do have to put this film in the same category as the ladies man, which i always watch also, but because of that amazing multi-level set.
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I really enjoyed this!
Irishchatter13 December 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Even though Jerry Lewis is meant to be a really quiet Bellboy, that doesn't mean he'll give up with his usual silly tricks and of course, making you laugh. Seriously I think he is a comedy genius, he can do anything from being quiet to yapping a lot!

The most memorable scene I'll never forget is when he was suppose to get baggage from the airport but instead, he rode the plane to where the president should be left off. However he didn't appear so it was instead Lewis carrying the baggage and not the president. I'll honestly never forget that scene, it was such genius!

It was funny to think Lewis played himself and the bellboy at the same time. Jerry Lewis is well able to play anything at the same time! He really made me laugh in this, check this out!
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The Best For Last
henryhertzhobbit20 April 2014
I can take Jerry Lewis only in doses. The most pleasurable movie he was in that I watched was The Geisha Boy. I saw it long after it came out. I did like this movie but I don't think I would watch it again without a few intervening years. That is the doses part. I saw this movie almost ten years after it first played in a movie theater.

Plot? What plot? There isn't one. It is just Jerry Lewis doing one gag after another like a stand-up comic. And that is the problem. Usually most stand-up comics are on stage for 30 minutes or less. So you may get tired of it. It could have been different. Jerry Lewis tried to get Stan Laurel for a part and we had a look-alike stand-in instead. He did get Milton Berle for a cameo which did help. He also tried to get Billy Wilder to direct and was again turned down with the response "why don't you direct it yourself?" or words to that effect. If he had got others to help maybe it could have been a better movie.

The best part is at the very end of the movie if you last that long. I would say younger people are sour-pusses and probably won't last that long. But if you make it to the end you are in for a treat. Hint: Wilder won't be there. I chuckled at the other parts but almost died laughing at it. I hope they haven't cut that part out.
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A mishmash of silent and verbal *comedy*
kjphyland8 June 2008
Well...the previous comments made me interested in seeing this film. But to call it a film is akin to calling advertising art. The film although quite old neither has the art or humour that slapstick or verbal comedy is supposed to have.

It is a self-indulgent piece of fluff that doesn't highlight Lewis's obvious ability from other films and worse...involves other names from the era...notably Milton Berle and a Stan laurel look-alike that looks almost as embarrassed as the real Laurel would have been had he not wisely chosen not to appear.

As homage even it fails. Silent film would have suited this better...but no...we get sound...because the silly faces just aren't enough.

It may be that I am spoiled by watching so much comedy over the years (and yes...this film was made the year before I was born) but there is no real substance to the jokes...subtlety was not what I was looking for...after all..slapstick is hardly ever subtle...but sledgehammer and jokes telegraphed from Pluto was just a bit pathetic.

The film is however watchable on a few levels.

It highlights a man determined to milk the cow as much as possible while his star was ascendant...and that for whatever it clearly a clever ploy on a managerial level.

It highlights his obvious desire to be visible as much as the point of playing himself...

It is so bad that just watching it makes you chuckle wryly about his motives.

Worth a look just to see that the movie-going public in 1960 were just as gullible about BIG NAMES as they are matter what dross they put out.

There is no real wit...I guess that is my major grief with the point to it even (and I realise it was shot in 4 weeks and had no plot) but it truly amazed me that so many people commented on the comedic genius of THIS film compared to some of the rest of his oeuvre...
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Wizard-827 February 1999
Most viewers watching this today will be puzzled as to why this movie has received so much acclaim and was a success at the box office. True, Jerry doesn't do his "kid" character (he's mute until the end), but he does his spastic movements - and there's a flaw there. A little of this goes a long way, and Jerry keeps doing it until he beats it to death.

Most of the other gags in the movie don't seem creative today, or funny. The movie does kill time for its 72 minutes, but it really isn't funny. I've nothing against Lewis - he's been good before and after this movie - but he's not funny here.
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Times have changed.
marksez26 May 2013
Warning: Spoilers
I don't know. I remember seeing this movie as a kid and thinking it was a great, hilarious Jerry Lewis comedy. In the late 1950's and early 1960's Jerry Lewis could do no bad. People stood in long lines and paid a premium to see his movies.

I am watching "The Bellboy" now, recorded on my DVR, and it is incredibly stupid and unfunny. What happened? There has certainly been a change in social behaviors, seeing how women are treated and how men behave in the movie. And there has been a change in what we find funny, apparently.

There are a few comic pieces that hold up; Jerry leading the invisible orchestra is a nice piece of work, his trying to find a seat in the crowded coffee shop with the huge unoccupied counter which is instantly filled with customers the second he tries to take a seat, his joyride in the DC-8 and his buzzing of the Fontainbleau, the real Jerry Lewis meeting the Milton Berle bellboy, and the one I have always liked, his taking a flashbulb picture of the moon that instantly changes night into day.

Otherwise the movie is not funny anymore, or maybe I've outgrown its type of humor. It's good to watch as a piece of history and cinematic history.

Times have changed.
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Ringing up the laughs
george.schmidt10 April 2003
THE BELLBOY (1960) **1/2 Jerry made his directorial debut and starred as a silent bumbling bellhop at the posh Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach encountering all sorts of trouble including a run in with Milton Berle and... Jerry Lewis (!)
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Excellent Comedy, Even Better Cinema
johnstonjames6 September 2012
Warning: Spoilers
what always impresses me about 'The Bellboy' even more than it's considerable sense of humour, is what a outstanding work of cinema it is. personally i think jerry Lewis is actually a better filmmaker than he even is a comedian. and he's very funny.

there is so much about Lewis that was ahead of his time. not only did he pre-date comics like Jim Carrey, Steve Martin, and Rowan Atkinson, his view of comedy as a cinematic art form is timelessly contemporary. at the time he made 'The Bellboy', really only the french thought of comedy in truly cinematic terms like with art-house films like 'Mr. Hulot's Holiday'. there is a lot in 'Bellboy' that is inspired by the french comedy and does it better and is better entertainment.

Lewis's 'The Bellboy' really isn't all that commercial. it's actually very experimental and even consciously artsy in conception. it's low budget decision to film in in B&W only gives it the feeling of serious filmmaking.

not only does Lewis toy and experiment with physical humour much the way Chaplin did, he also takes his photography very seriously and manages to elevate the film to a level of technical sophistication with numerous long and overhead shots.

everything about 'The Bellboy' is taken to a higher level of sophistication and subtlety that goes far beyond it's appearance of silly goofiness. it's only seems dumb on the surface, what you really have is a film of great cleverness and intelligence. only you don't really have to think about it if you don't want to, which is part of the genius of it.

comedy is rarely better than this. art-house cinema is rarely better than this. all brilliantly conceived under the guise of a "knuckle head" comedy. pure genius in action.
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This film has meaning
kuciak13 February 2009
I have not seen this film in some 40 years. When I saw it as a child, I realized even then, that there was some art to this film. I finally got to see it on DVD in 2009. The first 28 minutes of this film is really good, and the last 28 minutes is not bad. From 29 minutes to 43, it has a lot to be desired. No, I don't find the telephone sequence very funny. When released in 1960, it was double billed with Tarzan the Magnificent, a very strange pairing.

A Gentlemen from Australia, 4 years my junior, said that the film did not have a point, or meaning. I respectively disagree. In the DVD audio commentary where Jerry Lewis discusses the film with Steve Lawrence, he near the end of the film says to Mr. Lawrence "you can understand why people did not know that the kid did not talk".

The final climactic scene, when the bellboys are talking about a strike I think is the films denouncement. Here we are given an indication that Stanley might not be this stupid bumbling idiot that others think he is. Some of his co-workers mention that he is hard working, and fast. He shows his skills in putting seats in an auditorium so quickly together. If Mr. Lewis had wanted to show him as a stupid idiot, the scene where he takes this jet up into the air, he would have had the character of Stanley act in fear as he is flying the plane. But he does not, he lands the plane without any problems. While Stanley makes mistakes, and may do absurd things, Jerry Lewis asks the question, if we allow Stanley to speak, perhaps we would discover a really intelligent human being.

Throughout the film, Mr. Lewis asks the question, who are really the idiots. Mr. Lewis I think even makes fun of himself, the real Jerry Lewis, when he plays himself with his bunch of yes people who travel with him. The sequence, in many ways reminded me of La Dolce Vita, La Aventura, which were released the same year. It also brought back memories of Woody Allens Star Dust Memories, made some 17 years latter. There is a scene where Stanley, is sitting my a glass window, looking at the bottom of a swimming pool, the man who has just finished the work there, and taken down some boards, is polite. But one of the guests of the FountainBleu who sees Stanley, calls everyone to come down to look at this crazy person eating at the bottom of the pool. Here Jerry Lewis shows who really are crazy. Amazing to me that the real management of the Fountainbleu did not get that the joke might be on them.

Also look how people treat the bellboys, calling them boy. Ironically, there is not one black person in the film, which for us in 2009 calls attention to itself. Also you do not see Spanish Speaking people, unless the gentlemen who wants his pants pressed is one. Had the Stanley character, been a black person, I am sure that even in 1960, people would have understood what Mr. Lewis was maybe trying to say.

Mr. Lewis says this is a film as a homage to Stan Laurel, though in it you see a lot of Jaque Tati. When I finally saw a Tati film, I realized the similarities even then to The Bellboy. The Stan Laurel character does not work to well now, because we know that it is not him, though it 1960, perhaps it did work.

I could not give it 10 out of 10, because not all of the film works for me, but those who have seen it, and perhaps dismissed it as just a series of gags, should see it again and reevaluate it. Perhaps the film is about our not being able to communicate, and that if we did, that those who we think are not worth knowing, perhaps are. The American film goer of 1960 was right, while the critics back then were wrong. While American critics only could look at Mr. Lewis as a commercial entity, the critics across the Atlantic, "Those silly French", were correct in realizing the worth of Jerry Lewis. I have not seen many other films by him, and perhaps he did not live up to what promise he showed with his first directing effort (Though many say his Nutty Professor, which I have seen some of is his masterpiece), The Bellboy is an interesting film, that should not be dismissed as just a series of jokes.
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He just makes me want to cry
JP231329 October 2005
When I was growing up in the 50's, I thought that Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis were the tops, along with Laurel & Hardy, Abbot & Costello, and of course "the boys". Whenever I saw a movie with Martin only, I wondered where was Lewis. Or one with Hardy, "Where was Stan?". Or, "How come Shemp was in there without Larry & Moe?" It was almost sad watching this movie....well watching almost all of it, because I was embarrassed for the guy. There might have been 1 or 2 skits that actually brought a smile, but usually it was because of someone else in the skit. He seemed to be just trying too hard to try and be funny....and that's the feeling I had about most of his movies after the M & L split...he was just trying to prove he could make it on his own.

In another posting someone said this movie was the "best of his carrier". It may well have been, but to me, his career spiraled down after he and Dean Martin went their separate ways. I, as many others, always felt sorry for the poor picked on character he played opposite Dean. And I felt sorry for the actor in just about every film he's made since.

I love good slapstick and I have fond memories of Abbott & Costello, Martin & Lewis, Laurel & Hardy and the 3 Stooges shorts. Until Steve Martin's "All of Me", the aforementioned groups were the masters of comedy for me. Steve Martin's routine when his character, Roger Cobb, and Edwina Cutwater (Lily Tomlin) merge is a tour de force, top of the line, all time great comedy routine.

It gets up to a 4 because of Uncle Milty.
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Hilariously Funny
CamTheComic16 February 2019
Jerry Lewis plays a silent bellboy at a pompous hotel. The jokes write themselves. This movie doesn't have a plot, but it knows it. It's nothing more than a bunch of hysterical scenes at this looney hotel. And if you find Jerry Lewis's high-pitched annoying in his other films (which I wouldn't blame you), you'll be happy to know he doesn't say word through the film. Relying on his excellent physical comedy and pantomime skills
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