15 June 2011


Sadly Jerry Lewis’s film work is typically derided in this day and age. He is lampooned and mocked for the most part and his over all fine output of films form the late 50’s and into the late 70’s is dismissed. This is unfortunate since many of this films made for Paramount Pictures, which he also directed and wrote (usually with script partner Bill Richmond) and sometimes produced. I prefer this period of his films to the buddy films he made with Dean Martin and am willing to concede that by the 70’s his films were becoming unwatachable. The errand boy was made in 1961 and is a strange little film really. The film looks and feels more like a French or Italian film of the same time period. This is true not only of the surreal nature of the story but of the crisp b/w photography by W. Wallace Kelley who worked as cinematographer on many of Lewis’s films of the period as well as doing visual effects for films like Vertigo and The War of the Worlds.

Lewis plays the nobody Morty S. Tashman who is promoted, so to speak, from doing odd jobs on the studio lot to be an errand for for the studio moguls. The bigwigs actually want to use Morty as a spy to see were revenues are going but the film actually drops this plot rather quickly and the story becomes and series of short vignettes that have no real connection to one another. Morty remains alone through out the film and there are no romantic interests or character conflicts other than the scenes between Morty and his boss. The film ends with Morty, a lost soul basically, becoming a Hollywood star through a series of goof ups. My wife and I really loved one short sequence where Morty interacts with a hand puppet. I liked it so much I a made a clip of it using Sony Vegas and up loaded it to my Viddler account. If you hate Jerry Lewis this film will not change your mind in any way. If you like his films like The Nutty Professor or The Ladies Man you should be able to enjoy this strange little movie from an over looked filmmaker.


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