|Directed by||Jerry Lewis|
|Written by||Jerry Lewis|
|Produced by||Jerry Lewis|
|Narrated by||Walter Winchell|
|Edited by||Stanley Johnson|
|Music by||Walter Scharf|
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
|Box office||$10 million|
836,783 admissions (France)
The Bellboy is a 1960 American comedy film written, produced, directed by and starring Jerry Lewis. It was released on July 20, 1960 by Paramount Pictures and marked Lewis's directorial debut.
In a prologue sequence, fictitious executive producer of Paramount Pictures Jack E. Mulcher introduces the film, explaining that it has no story and no plot. The film simply shows a few weeks in the life of a person Mulcher calls "a real nut." Mulcher breaks into hysterical laughter as the story begins.
Stanley the hotel bellhop finds himself in one ridiculous situation after another (by a series of blackout gags) while working at the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida. Stanley does not speak until the last scene of the film, as he is always interrupted or silenced by another character.
A voiceover narration states that while the film had no plot, it did have a moral: "You'll never know the next guy's story...unless you ask."
Principal photography took place from February 8 to March 5, 1960 and marked Jerry Lewis's debut as a director. Filming took place on location at the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida. Lewis would film during the day and perform in the hotel's nightclub at night.
Before he began, Lewis consulted his friend Stan Laurel, who had worked in silent films and was a master of English pantomime, for suggestions, though it is unknown whether Lewis used any of Laurel's ideas in the production.Lewis may have paid homage to the Laurel by naming his character Stanley after him. A Laurel lookalike character also appears throughout the story, portrayed by writer and impressionist Bill Richmond.
The film marked the pioneering use of a video assist system, providing Lewis a way to see the action while appearing in a scene.Milton Berle was in town performing at another hotel while Lewis was shooting the picture and agreed to make an appearance as himself and in a dual role as another bellboy. Professional golfer Cary Middlecoff, the "Golf Doctor," appears as himself at a golf tournament. Lewis also appears as a fictional version of himself, credited in the opening credits as Joe Levitch, his birth name).
The Bellboy came about after Paramount wanted a Lewis film for summer release in North America. Paramount wanted to release Cinderfella , which had finished shooting in December 1959, but Lewis wanted to hold back the release of Cinderfella until Christmas 1960. Paramount agreed to his terms if he could deliver another film for the summer release cycle. While playing an engagement in Miami Beach, Lewis devised a concept for a film that could be shot at the hotel during winter and delivered to Paramount by the summer release deadline.
The film grossed about $10 million in the U.S. alone.
Eugene Archer of The New York Times wrote that some parts of the film were "surprisingly successful" and that it was to Lewis' credit that "he has kept his energetic demeanor in reasonable check," to the point that some of his fans "may find the comedian disappointingly restrained."
Variety stated: "Several of the sequences are amusing, but too many are dependent upon climactic sight gags anticipated well ahead of the punch ... There are latent elements of Charlie Chaplin's little tramp, Jacques Tati's 'Hulot,' Danny Kaye's 'Mitty' and Harpo Marx's curiously tender child-man, but the execution falls far short of such inspiration."
John L. Scott of the Los Angeles Times commented that there were "some very laughable situations" in the film, adding, "Some gags don't come off too well, but there are so many that the poorer ones quickly get lost in the fast shuffle."
The Monthly Film Bulletin reviewer wrote: "Too many scenes are both pointless and witless; sometimes the gag doesn't work, sometimes the direction is to blame. And Lewis's habit of ending each joke with a display of cross-eyed, simian mugging is scarcely endearing. Nevertheless, there remain some half-dozen moments of genuine comic invention."
The film has a rating of 70% on Rotten Tomatoes based on 10 reviews, with an average rating of 6.89/10.
This film was released on DVD on October 12, 2004and again on July 15, 2014 in a four-film collection titled 4 Film Favorites: Jerry Lewis, with The Ladies Man , The Errand Boy and The Patsy .
Jerry Lewis was an American comedian, actor, singer, director, producer, writer, and humanitarian. Nicknamed "The King of Comedy", his contributions to comedy and charity made him a global figure in pop culture.
Milton Berle was an American actor and comedian. Berle's career as an entertainer spanned over 80 years, first in silent films and on stage as a child actor, then in radio, movies and television. As the host of NBC's Texaco Star Theatre (1948–1955), he was the first major American television star and was known to millions of viewers as "Uncle Miltie" and "Mr. Television" during the first Golden Age of Television. He was honored with two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his work in both radio and TV.
Laurel and Hardy were a British-American comedy duo act during the early Classical Hollywood era of American cinema, consisting of Englishman Stan Laurel (1890–1965) and American Oliver Hardy (1892–1957). Starting their career as a duo in the silent film era, they later successfully transitioned to "talkies". From the late 1920s to the mid-1950s, they were internationally famous for their slapstick comedy, with Laurel playing the clumsy, childlike friend to Hardy's pompous bully. Their signature theme song, known as "The Cuckoo Song", "Ku-Ku", or "The Dance of the Cuckoos" was heard over their films' opening credits, and became as emblematic of them as their bowler hats.
Boeing (707) Boeing (707) is a 1965 American bedroom farce comedy film based on the 1960 French play Boeing-Boeing and starring Tony Curtis and Jerry Lewis. Released on December 22, 1965, it was the last film that Lewis made for Paramount Pictures, which had produced all of his films since My Friend Irma (1949). It was remade in Malayalam in 1985 with the same title.
Stan Laurel was an English comic actor, writer, and film director who was part of the comedy duo Laurel and Hardy. He appeared with his comedy partner Oliver Hardy in 107 short films, feature films, and cameo roles.
The Ladies Man is a 1961 American comedy film directed by and starring Jerry Lewis. It was released on June 28, 1961 by Paramount Pictures.
The Cocoanuts is a 1929 pre-Code musical comedy film starring the Marx Brothers. Produced for Paramount Pictures by Walter Wanger, who is not credited, the film also stars Mary Eaton, Oscar Shaw, Margaret Dumont and Kay Francis. It was the first sound film to credit more than one director, and was adapted to the screen by Morrie Ryskind from the George S. Kaufman Broadway musical play. Five of the film's tunes were composed by Irving Berlin, including "When My Dreams Come True", sung by Oscar Shaw and Mary Eaton.
Martin and Lewis were an American comedy duo, comprising singer Dean Martin and comedian Jerry Lewis. They met in 1945 and debuted at Atlantic City's 500 Club on July 25, 1946; the team lasted ten years to the day. Before they teamed up, Martin was a nightclub singer, while Lewis performed a comedy act lip-synching to records.
Cinderfella is a 1960 American semi-musical comedy film adaptation of the classic Cinderella story, with most characters changed in gender from female to male and starring Jerry Lewis as Fella. It was released on November 22, 1960 by Paramount Pictures.
Unaccustomed As We Are is the first sound film comedy starring Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, released on May 4, 1929.
Hardly Working is a 1980 American comedy film directed by and starring Jerry Lewis and Susan Oliver, filmed in 1979, released in Europe in 1980 and then in the United States on April 3, 1981 through 20th Century Fox. This film marks the final theatrical release for Oliver, as the rest of her career only featured on several television movies and series, before her death in 1990.
The Delicate Delinquent is an American VistaVision comedy film starring Jerry Lewis, released on June 6, 1957 by Paramount Pictures. It was the first film to star Lewis without his longtime partner Dean Martin and marked Lewis' debut as a producer and screenwriter.
Hollywood or Bust is a 1956 American semi-musical comedy film starring the team of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. The picture was filmed from April 16 to June 19, 1956 and released on December 6, 1956 by Paramount Pictures, almost five months after the Martin and Lewis partnership split up.
The Fontainebleau Miami Beach is a hotel in Miami Beach, Florida. Designed by Morris Lapidus, the luxury hotel opened in 1954. In 2007, the Fontainebleau Hotel was ranked ninety-third in the American Institute of Architects list of "America's Favorite Architecture". On April 18, 2012, the AIA's Florida Chapter ranked the Fontainebleau first on its list of Florida Architecture: 100 Years. 100 Places.
Arthur P. Schmidt was an American film editor and producer. He had more than sixty film credits for editing from 1934 through 1962. In the 1950s, Schmidt edited five films directed by Billy Wilder, who has been called one of the great 20th Century filmmakers. In the 1960s, Schmidt was the associate producer for seven Jerry Lewis comedies.
Visit to a Small Planet is a 1960 American black-and-white science fiction comedy film directed by Norman Taurog and starring Jerry Lewis, Joan Blackman, Earl Holliman, and Fred Clark. Distributed by Paramount Pictures, it was produced by Hal B. Wallis.
The Errand Boy is a 1961 American comedy film directed by, co-written by and starring Jerry Lewis.
The Patsy is a 1964 American comedy film directed by and starring Jerry Lewis. It was released on August 12, 1964, by Paramount Pictures.
Cracking Up is a 1983 American comedy film directed by and starring Jerry Lewis, his last film as a director and last film for Warner Bros. Originally titled Smorgasbord, it was filmed in 1981 and 1982 and only received limited distribution in the United States. Lewis wrote the screenplay with Bill Richmond, his writing collaborator on films such as The Nutty Professor and The Patsy.
William Earle Richmond was an American film and television comedy writer and producer, as well as a musician, actor and composer. He co-wrote the screenplays to numerous popular films that starred Jerry Lewis. These films included The Nutty Professor, The Errand Boy and The Ladies Man. He also made cameo appearances in some of Lewis' films as well, such as a piano player in The Patsy. Later in his career, he wrote and/or produced for numerous television shows, including Laugh-in, Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color, The Carol Burnett Show, I Dream of Jeannie, Welcome Back Kotter, Three's Company, The John Larroquette Show, Wizards and Warriors, All in the Family, Blossom and Kate & Allie.
Lewis wanted to be able to look at scenes even when he was on screen. So he used primordial video technology, putting a video camera next to the film camera. This system became known as video playback and was basically used by everyone in Hollywood, before everyone in Hollywood stopped shooting on film.