Whether you want to believe it or not Jerry Lewis kind of bombed out when he first tried to go into comedy. He also dropped out of school when he was a kid and would do things that might in these days get a kid sent to juvenile detention like stealing food from people’s homes. It was a different time admittedly but Jerry Lewis was the kind of guy that was born to be a prankster and to be funny it would seem. When he was convinced to give his act a second try he found that people actually liked him and were far more receptive than he’d thought at first. When he got together with Dean Martin people absolutely loved the pairing, and for a while they were one of the hottest acts around. But their split, which took many years to finally mend, was something that was never really forgotten by the fans.
Here are some of the best films of his career.
5. The Bellboy
There’s really not much to this movie since it’s just Jerry Lewis acting out a silent comedic bit as he gets into one predicament after another. This was something that you wouldn’t expect if you’ve watched his other films since Jerry was a rather outspoken and verbal person that tended to get a little loud in some scenes and was completely smooth in others. But his level of comedy was far more complex than a lot of people seem to remember and while he was different in his approach than a lot of the classics and a lot of the more recent comedians he was in a league of his own when it came to his own comedy.
4. The Ladies Man
This film took place on the most expensive set for a comedy at this given time since the set itself was quite large and allowed for a lot of great shots. Lewis’ character is a man that after losing his girlfriend swears off romance altogether and then inexplicably moves into an all-woman boarding house. A lot of the women tend to use him as their personal servant while only one of them really tries to get to the root of his problem and help him. You have to think that moving into an all-woman boarding house when you’ve sworn off romance for good wouldn’t be the wisest or first choice for a guy that’s had his heart broken.
3. King of Comedy
If you think that any artist might be a bit delusional then you might be right, and it goes for comedians as well. Rupert is the kind of guy that really, REALLY wants to break into show business, but the problem is that he’s not funny. His act is all about detailing how hard his life has been while laughing about it and not really connecting with the crowd. When he kidnaps his supposed mentor and idol he demands that he be put on TV before he’ll let him go, and as the show progresses you get the idea that a lot of this is going on in his head and isn’t real. But by the end you figure out that it’s all a matter of perspective, and Rupert’s is that he’s a star.
Yes, take the story of Cinderella and flip the script and you get this movie. It’s not too bad since it does show how the life of a man would be affected if he had to live with a wicked stepmother and two horrible brothers. One difference however is that while the entire family is seeking out the family fortune that Fella’s father left behind when he passed away the stepmother eventually returns the money to Fella when he states that he just wanted a family and nothing more. And of course at the end he gets the beautiful princess that has fallen for him and found him by returning his shoe.
1. The Nutty Professor
Before Eddie Murphy got a hold of the idea and remade the film into something else, Jerry Lewis amazed the audience with his transformation from Professor Kelp into Buddy Love. He went from being a geeky, nerdy nobody to someone that was popular, confident, and knew how to get what he wanted. The only problem was that Buddy Love was a rather horrible person aside from the bravado and was someone that Kelp knew wasn’t who he wanted to be. When the love of his life professed that she wanted him just the way it was it was vindication that he was just fine and could like himself for the person people knew him to be.
Jerry Lewis wasn’t a perfect person by any means, but he was a funny and inspiring character that touched the lives of many. He passed away in 2017, and he’s very missed to this day.