An extra film review for September and a personal tribute.
Film buffs, especially fans of comedy, will know that American comedian Jerry Lewis died on Sunday August 20 in Las Vegas, Nevada, age 91.#
He was also an actor, director, producer, screenwriter, singer, humanitarian and no bad dancer, playing in films, and on radio, television and stage, and all of his talents were showcased, for us, in the best film performance he ever gave, and he gave thousands. This was his 1963 film The Nutty Professor, and we say his because he co-wrote it, produced it, directed it and starred in it as Professor Julius Kelp, a shy, gormless, buck-toothed disaster area of a chemistry professor who got tired of being a pushed-around nonentity and hit on a potion that would, when drunk, turn him into something very different.
Making his shock debut at his student’s off-limits nightclub, the Purple Pit this was Buddy Love, the sharp,swaggering, vain, rude, sun-tanned lounge-lizard crooner in the powder-blue black-trimmed suit, pink shirt and jar of greasy Brylcreem, an original Mr Cool that lots of ordinary guys, like this impressionable 16-year old at the time, wanted to be. Buddy and his songs and chat also make a big impression on lovely, pouting student Stella Purdy, memorably played by the lovely, pouting Stella Stevens. Sadly for Buddy and his romantic ambitions re Stella the potion’s effects are temporary and his bar-room drawl segues back to the Julius Donald Duck quack, requiring a sharp exit.
No more now but the delightful ending’s a thoughtful and possibly tear-jerking observation of the human condition. So go see, and marvel at the original King of Comedy at his zany best.