Combustible Celluloid
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With: Jerry Lewis, Helen Traubel, Kathleen Freeman, Hope Holiday, Pat Stanley, Buddy Lester, George Raft, Harry James and His Band
Written by: Jerry Lewis, Bill Richmond
Directed by: Jerry Lewis
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 95
Date: 06/28/1961

The Ladies Man (1961)

4 Stars (out of 4)

The Big Doll House

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Jerry Lewis' The Ladies Man (1961) is yet another work of genius, featuring Lewis as a girl-hating bachelor who winds up working in a boarding house packed with sexy, available young women. Most of this virtually plotless film is set in the astonishing three-story set with open walls and winding staircases and Lewis' camera glides freely up and down, in and out all the rooms. Some of the gags go on too long, notably one in which Lewis deals with a tough guy gangster waiting for his girlfriend in the lobby, but others are pure delight. Lewis even plays a touching scene in which he cheers up one of the girls, depressed after a failed audition. As with The Nutty Professor, the richness of color makes this a visual feast.

Paramount's beautiful DVD comes with an audio commentary track by Lewis and Steve Lawrence, which consists mostly of silence, but occasionally Lawrence asks an interesting question or Lewis provides a small behind-the-scenes tidbit. Otherwise, the disc includes a wealth of archival materials, trailers, and other goodies.

Paramount Home Video has just released a treasure trove of Jerry Lewis films on DVD, including six directed by Lewis ( The Bellboy, The Errand Boy, The Ladies Man, The Nutty Professor: Special Edition, The Patsy and The Family Jewels), two by Lewis' mentor Frank Tashlin (Cinderfella, The Disorderly Orderly) and two others (The Stooge, with Dean Martin, and The Delicate Delinquent -- Lewis' first film withoutMartin). I hope this new release puts things right again and gives a littlecredit where credit is due. More detailed reviews to follow soon.

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