Monday, February 23, 2009

The Nutty Professor (1963)

The Nutty Professor
Director: Jerry Lewis
USA 1963
107 min

This is the story about a... well, nutty professor (played by director and writer Jerry Lewis). A very abscent-minded chemistry nerd with no respect from any of his students. Except from the beautiful blonde Stella Purdy (Stella Stevens), the only one who is nice to him.
However, one day he gets enough of his pupils pushing him around and decides to do something about it. He tries the gym and the bowling alley, but he soon realizes that it isn't anything for him. But chemistry... that is his right element. Before you have twitched an eyelid, professor Julius Kelp has made a potion making him the most successful man in town - Buddy Love.

Stella Purdy helps her professor to get out from a locker his football student put him in.

A great comedy that hasn't aged a bit. Sure, some scenes take it slow, but you have to be darned inpatient to think they are boring. Jerry Lewis is fantastic as the embarrassing geek professor, and Stella Stevens is fabulous as the innocent and sweet student that has complicated feelings for her teacher.
When Jerry Lewis has entered the stage as a totally different persona (as the self-confident, cool and attractive Buddy Love) you get to see that he is a really great actor. Especially when the effect of the potion starts to descend and he shifts between the two characters.
Extremely entertaining! And one thing is for sure: Eddie Murphy could not fill Jerry Lewis' shoes in the 1996 remake. Not nearly as funny.

Scene: Buddy Love makes an entrance and orders an "Alaskan Polar Bear Heat".


Dr. Hamius R. Warfield: Kelp, it's human nature. Kelp, people just don't like teachers blowing up their kids!

Buddy Love
: Hiya, chicky baby. How's it going?
Stella Purdy: Fine.
Buddy Love: Crazy. I thought I'd visit your little land of learning. Cute. Cute pad.
Stella Purdy: What happened to you last night? What'd you run away like that for? I thought you saw a ghost or something.
Buddy Love: Oh yeah. How 'bout that? Well, that's why I stopped by. I thought I'd lay it on ya, but this ain't the place to talk. What do you say we meet later at the Purple Pit? We can talk better there.
Stella Purdy: Well, I dunno. You're pretty weird, you know, and I don't want...
Buddy Love: Chi-chi. Ten o' clock?
Stella Purdy: Perfect.
Buddy Love: Figures.

Buddy Love: Here y'are, baby. Take this, wipe the lipstick off, slide over here next to me, and let's get started.

Dr. Hamius R. Warfield: Now try to understand that I understand, that scientists and creators have their little eccentricities. Einstein hated hair cuts, Da Vinci love to paint, and Newton...
Professor Julius Kelp: He had something to do with figs, didn't he?

Stella Purdy admires Buddy Love's piano playing and facial expressions.

Buddy Love charms Dr. Hamius R. Warfield by appealing his theatrical skills. "To be or not to be..."

Buddy Love performs at the prom in a golden suit.


C.K. Dexter Haven said...

What a divinely-inspired post! Brilliant! ;)

I like this movie for so many reasons, but way up on that list is Lewis' vision of cool: The Purple Pit with it's jazzy, swinging ambience is the peak of what was early sixties hip. It's not the youthful rock & roll music, but rather middle-aged sophisticated jazz. There's a bunch more I'd like to say but I'd better save it for my own!

And Stella Stevens was great(looking too!) in this!

Lolita said...

C. K. Dexter Haven:
Thanks a lot! Your compliments really give me energy to write more!
Haha, yeah, that was an interesting point about the music. I thought about it, The Purple Pit didn't look as a place where I want to shake my hips!

Millie said...

Great post!

This movie always makes me happy!

And, his version of "That Old Black Magic" amazing! It's so Rat Packish. Especially, similar to Dean Martin.

I love then end...when he has the braces on his teeth...hahaha!

Lolita said...

Thank you ever so much!
Yes, there were many laughs while watching this film! And Jerry Lewis really has a lovely singing voice...

John said...

The Buddy Love character is a blistering attack on former partner Dean Martin, though Lewis has denied this many times and claims Love is a composite of the lounge lizards he came across during their nightclub days. Considering their bitter split, it is hard to imagine that Dino was not in Jerry's thoughts when writing this character. Critic Andrew Sarris and I am paraphrasing here "if The Nutty Professor is Jerry’s best film it is largely due to the Dean Martin like Buddy Love character creating the old Martin and Lewis style of tension.”

Lewis always needed a straight man to bounce off, for example Darren McGavin in "The Delicate Delinquent" Lewis' first solo effort filled in as the Dean Martin straight man. The on screen Jerry Lewis, and maybe the off-screen Jerry, always wanted to be the suave cool Dino and in “The Nutty Professor” he was, even if it was his own bitter version.

If nothing else Martin & Lewis sounds better than Love & Kelp.

This all may sound like I don’t like Lewis, which I do. “The Nutty Professor” is certainly his best work and head over heels better than the Eddie Murphy remake. I especially like his work in the Frank Tashlin directed films like “It’s Only Money” and “The Disorderly Orderly.”

I also think Lewis was given the bums rush the other night at the Oscars. The tribute seemed awfully short almost like they (the Academy) were embarrassed to be giving him the award.

Lolita said...

Interesting! Films get a much interesting aura when you know a little trivia about them!

Well, I seldom watch the Oscars, not since they gave all their statues away to Peter Jackson. Makes me furious and frustrated! But I've noticed that many bloggers have the same opinion as you do about J Lewis.

That's like when Marlon Brando passed away and they didn't mention a word! Sure, he'd told them to fuck off a few times, but they could still have swallowed their pride when it came to a genius like him, who have meant so much to the film industry. I was very disappointed.

Anonymous said...

The Buddy Love character was NOT based off of Dean Martin. For starters, not only has Lewis stated that dozens of times, but every single author who has written a book on Lewis has conferred this as well. Read Dean Martin's biography as well, there is no indication that Dean Martin was ever a person to behave as such a manner as Buddy Love. Dean Martin was beloved by all that knew him. He hated confrontation, and was shy to a degree. Lewis looked at Martin as a big brother. Martin was not egotistical, and never liked drawing attention to himself. Martin's family doesn't even believe that the character was inspired by him. The Buddy Love character is simply the alter ego of the ego maniac that is Jerry Lewis. People on the internet like to create myths instead of taking the time to actually research and study the facts. If you were really a Jerry Lewis fan you should know this by now. Everyone knows that Buddy Love is actually the nasty side of Lewis. There's a difference between fact and myth and dramatics. People would love to imagine that Dean and Jerry hated each other and took stabs at each other, but the fact is - Martin and Lewis had already become friends again as early as 1961, two years before the making of THE NUTTY PROFESSOR. There are documented photos of Lewis and Martin chatting behind the scenes of the 1958 Academy Awards, as well as parties around Hollywood in 1960 and 1961. I'd be happy to show you them if you'd like. The Martin & Lewis split occured on the behest of Lewis and not Martin, Martin wanted to continue on with the team, it was Lewis who killed the team citing a need to stretch creatively. The Delicate Delinquent was originally a film that was written for Martin & Lewis in the first place. The fact that Darrin McGavin is in the film is that Martin refused to do the film prior to the split, and Lewis agreed to fulfill the film obligations at Paramount with the film. Please do you research before you go out and start spreading myths.

Lolita of the Classics said...

Dear Anonymous,
there's no need to have such an aggressive tone! I discussion thread would be pretty boring if everyone had to do massive research before commenting on a post. I appreciate your correction, that's kind of you. But please act maturely, this is not life and death business.