NEW FEATURE ON THE GGTMC BLOG - REVENGE OF THE TRAILER. In this first video episode, Shock Cinema magazine contributor and the host of The Mondo Film Podcast, Justin Bozung provides a quick commentary insight into the production of the inventive 1961 comedy co-written, directed and starring Jerry Lewis, The Ladies Man.
A surreal fantasy filled to the brim with episodic slapstick, The Ladies Man is a comedy masterpiece. The film is unlike any other comedy produced in the era. Lewis ambitiously gives us an incredible open faced doll house set (the most expensive set constructed in the era), and with his continual breaking of the fourth wall aesthetic, he manages to transcend the definition of audience and their relationship with film.
While many associate the name, Jerry Lewis solely with his charity work for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, Lewis is one of the greatest filmmakers of his generation. Lewis invented the now industry standard video asst. in 1956, he was the first to introduce the Nagra sound recorder to the United States film industry and his genius and truly inventive work is the final footprint on film of the almost now forgotten comic tradition of Laurel & Hardy, Charlie Chaplin, Harry Langdon and Buster Keaton.
MVT: The last minute fantasy dance sequence with now legendary Hollywood choreographer Sylvia Lewis set to the big band sound of Harry James and his orchestra. True to form, this sequence is definitive of Lewis, and is the highlight of the film. His directorial output from 1960-1965 features lush and unforgettable colors, brilliant cinematography, and the pathos, honesty and sincerity as pattern contained in the work makes his films stand out from everything produced in the Hollywood studio system in the era.
Make Or Break: The script. Lewis and his co-screenwriter, Bill Richmond would be the last great comedy writing team in film history, and the visual gags in this film are completely genius and surreal. Richmond would move on, post Lewis to be the featured or head writer for such incredible television series as The Carol Burnett Show, Welcome Back Kotter, and Three's Company. You can see the similarity between characters Jack Tripper on Three's Company and Herbert H. Heebert in The Ladies Man or in the character Lewis plays, Stanley Belt, in the 1964 film, The Patsy. It's all in the writing, and the film's Lewis made without Richmond behind the typewriter certainly suffer.