Tag Archives: Arthur P. Schmidt

Cinderfella

Directed by Frank Tashlin
Produced by Jerry Lewis
Written by Frank Tashlin
Starring Jerry Lewis
Ed Wynn
Judith Anderson
Anna Maria Alberghetti
Editing by Arthur P. Schmidt
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release date December 16, 1960
Running time 91 min.

I didn’t know that Jerry Lewis was in town when I bought this from Target on Sunday. All I knew was that I had been wanting it for a little while but was too stingy to pay $30 for it in JB Hifi. Currently this and some other Jerry Lewis films are on sale in Target for $7, which is a bargain.

I must make mention of the film’s director Frank Tashlin. He had quite an interesting career in Hollywood. He started out as an animator and a newspaper strip cartoonist and helped Warner Bros. develop the Looney Tunes brand of humour. He also briefly worked at Disney before going to Columbia briefly to head up their animation department. He returned to Warners where he directed some of the funniest cartoons of all time including the brilliant Puss ‘N’ Booty.

He then left animation for live action, becoming a gag man for Harpo Marx and Lucille Ball before directing movies starring Bob Hope, Doris Day and Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. He was also an author and wrote a book on animating as well as another children’s book. Phew…

Cinderfella is a typical Jerry Lewis outing with Jerry playing the Cinderella role until his fairy godfather, Ed Wynn, pays him a visit. There are lots of silly gags and Jerry also gets to sing (his voice aint bad either). Overall it’s not a bad way to spend 80 minutes.

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The Nutty Professor

Directed by Jerry Lewis
Produced by Ernest D. Glucksman,  Arthur P. Schmidt & Jerry Lewis
Written by Robert Louis Stevenson (story)
Jerry Lewis & Bill Richmond (screenplay)
Starring Jerry Lewis
Stella Stevens
Del Moore
Kathleen Freeman
Music by Walter Scharf, Les Brown and His Band of Renown
Cinematography W. Wallace Kelley
Editing by John Woodcock
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release date June 4, 1963
Running time 107 minutes
Country United States
Language English

The Nutty Professor is Jerry Lewis’ masterpiece and undoubtedly his best known work. Many people think that the film and specifically the character of Buddy Love, is a stab at Dean Martin but Jerry has denied this vehemently. Instead he says that Buddy is a conglomeration of every nasty son of a bitch he’d ever met and that he loved Dino like a brother and would never do anything negative against him. Besides, Dean was a genuinely nice guy according to Jerry.

It is easy to forget just how brilliant that Jerry Lewis is. We take for granted the goofy, funny characters that he created as he made it all look so easy. He perhaps does not receive the acclaim that other screen comedians have received but he has always taken his comedy seriously. In fact this ambition to be a better comedian is the reason, partly, why he and Dean Martin broke up their successful partnership. Dino was happy just to turn up and for the two of them to do their thing whilst Jerry always wanted to do things better. Dean in fact apparently asked Jerry why he wanted to concentrate on that “Chaplin shit”, in that he thought that Jerry took his comedy a bit too seriously. That is not to say that Dean was not a professional, rather that he just wanted to turn up, do what was asked of him and then go home or to a party while Jerry wanted to be creative. This is the difference I suppose between an actor and a comedian.

One interesting scene is the transformation scene which takes its cues from the Frederic March version of Dr. Jeckyl & Mr. Hyde, although Jerry said that he was inspired by the Spencer Tracy version.

One of the things that I found striking about watching The Nutty Professor is the bright, vibrant colours that were used. There is quite a liberal use of purples, greens, reds and other colours that you don’t usually see in films. It showcases the Technicolor film process effectively and is one reason why I prefer films that have been made in Technicolor as opposed to the now standard Eastmancolor.

The Professor Kelp character that Lewis created for his film is iconic and has been imitated by The SimpsonsProfessor Frink. Unlike Eddie Murphy in the 1996 remake Jerry didn’t just put on a fat suit to play Kelp. Apparently Kelp is based on a real person that Jerry met one day. That this one character has become so memorable, like Sellers’ Clouseau or Chaplin’s Tramp, despite featuring in just one film, is a testament to Lewis’ work here. It may be a little dated now, but it is a fine piece of 60s film making.


Sabrina

Directed by Billy Wilder
Produced by Billy Wilder
Written by Samuel A. Taylor (play Sabrina Fair)
Billy Wilder & Ernest Lehman
Starring Humphrey Bogart
Audrey Hepburn
William Holden
Music by Frederick Hollander
Cinematography Charles Lang
Editing by Arthur P. Schmidt
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release date September 9, 1954 London premiere
Running time 113 min

 

I don’t usually watch too many romantic comedies. You many think that this is a little prejudiced of me but I find that most modern romantic movies are riddled with clichés. Usually boy meets girl, they discover that they have nothing in common, they fight and bicker and come to hate each other but in the end they find that opposites attract and they find true love. The End. It’s been done so many times in the recent past and it has become stale and boring.

I am happy to report that Sabrina was a lot better film than I expected. The performances from Hepburn and Bogart are terrific whilst Holden plays a great comic relief part. The film is the classic Cinderella story where a girl from the working class background meets her Prince Charming but there are a lot of twists and turns that Billy Wilder has put in to make this film a unique experience. Whilst Hepburn plays the central character in the film it is Bogart whose performance is the best, as we see his growth from a work obsessed corporate suit into a romantic fool after falling in love with Sabrina. He was of course known for his tough guy roles so it is quite refreshing to see him play someone who ends up being so fragile and human. While this film helped to make Hepburn a star and a sophisticated sex symbol of the 1950s it is Bogart’s performance that makes this film so enjoyable.