|Shirley McLaine, Lewis, Artists and Models|
Artists and Models explodes immediately into evidence of this rich, cartoon background: the publisher’s office is dominated by an enormous image of The Bat Lady; Eugene Fullstack (Jerry Lewis) appears on stage in costume as a field mouse that could have strayed out of a Disney cartoon and his Vinnie the Vulture nightmares are parodies of DC comics characters and situations. Artists and Models in addition contains many set-pieces that extend the kind of gag structures common in the Warner Brothers Looney Tunes. Among the most effective here include: the opening sequence with Lewis’ comic books being sucked into a giant mouth on an advertising billboard and blown out of this orifice into the street, a gag compounded by tins of paint being clumsily knocked several stories onto hapless passers-by; the sequence where Martin and Lewis push suits of armour down the staircase of an imposing mansion, headquarters of a spy ring, causing the armour to take on a life of its own; surreally, the business of Lewis’ imagined steaks which suddenly materialise as a half-asleep Martin rolls over in disbelief; Lewis’ first meeting with comic-book publisher Mr Murdock (Eddie Mayehoff) with each distorted to the other through a water-cooler; and especially, the hilariously grotesque “love duet” between Lewis and new girlfriend Bessie Sparrowbrush (Shirley MacLaine) on a staircase where they immortalize a clash of awkward and exaggerated movement of limbs to the incongruous lyrics of “Inamorata”.
|Lewis, Anita Ekberg, Dean Martin, Artists and Models|
The support from publisher Eddie Mayehoff, toting a steady stream of voluptuous women half his age (“this is my cousin”) and delivering lines that put the emphases in all the wrong places adds to the sparkling set pieces. And finally, there’s a quartet of extremely attractive female leads (Dorothy Malone, and Shirley MacLaine as the boys’ romantic interests, Eva Gabor as a sexy femme fatale/spy, and a voluptuous Anita Ekberg in a lively cameo). They are all appropriately decorative in a cartoon-like way.
|Lewis as Prof Kelp, The Nutty Professor|
|Lewis (as Buddy Love), Stella Stevens, The Nutty Professor|
Regrettably, his best work as Actor/Director only extended to a handful of films (The Bellboy, The Errand Boy, The Ladies’ Man -another personal favourite, The Nutty Professor, The Patsy, The Family Jewels, Three on a Couch, The Big Mouth, One More Time, Which Way to the Front? The Day the Clown Cried (still unreleased), Hardly Working and Smorgasbord (aka Cracking Up).