Jerry Lewis (1926-2017)

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antnield
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Jerry Lewis (1926-2017)

#1 Post by antnield » Sun Aug 20, 2017 1:45 pm


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hearthesilence
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Re: Passages

#2 Post by hearthesilence » Sun Aug 20, 2017 2:18 pm


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domino harvey
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Re: Passages

#3 Post by domino harvey » Sun Aug 20, 2017 2:52 pm

An absolute legend. One of the great joys of learning about film was discovering how terrific Lewis' work with Tashlin and as a director was, in contrast to the go-to cultural joke he's become

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Re: Passages

#4 Post by Oedipax » Sun Aug 20, 2017 3:53 pm

Chris Fujiwara's book on Lewis from a few years back was very eye-opening for me, and a great read on how truly innovative he was as a filmmaker.

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Re: Passages

#5 Post by bearcuborg » Sun Aug 20, 2017 3:54 pm

As a kid, he and Danny Kaye were favorites...though, for the reason mentioned above I was able to enjoy Jerry on a whole other level, in a way I don't have with Danny.

I wish I could remember the name of the book, but someone makes the observation that French vaudeville has a tradition of inhabiting certain characteristics...perhaps epilepsy, and that was part of the reason for Jerry's appreciation in France.

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Re: Passages

#6 Post by hearthesilence » Sun Aug 20, 2017 4:00 pm

domino harvey wrote:An absolute legend. One of the great joys of learning about film was discovering how terrific Lewis' work with Tashlin and as a director was, in contrast to the go-to cultural joke he's become
Absolutely. I think for a lot of people he's viewed as a broad comedian with a telethon who's amusingly viewed as a genius by "the French." To be fair he hasn't done himself any favors with his notoriously prickly personality, but think about all the star comedians who have tried to become respected auteurs, and how they fell short. The Nutty Professor and The Ladies Man, among others, show a master filmmaker.

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Re: Passages

#7 Post by domino harvey » Sun Aug 20, 2017 4:07 pm

I've mentioned this before, but one of my most cherished memories of teaching film was screening the Ladies Man and having it just kill with my students. I don't know that I've ever heard such loud and consistent laughter in all my life as I did during that showing. One of my students told me the next day that she had gone home and watched it two more times on YouTube that same night. So, the potential is always there for new fans who don't even know of his negative reputation to discover him, but I don't know if his best works are legally streaming on Netflix

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Re: Jerry Lewis (1926-2017)

#8 Post by HJackson » Sun Aug 20, 2017 4:16 pm

Fortunately the response to his passing has been incredibly reverential thus far with lots of emphasis on his film career and his unparalleled talent in front of and behind the camera.

After all of his health issues over the years - drug addiction, multiple heart attacks, prostate cancer etc. - it's nice to know that he passed peacefully with his family.

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Re: Jerry Lewis (1926-2017)

#9 Post by gcgiles1dollarbin » Sun Aug 20, 2017 4:38 pm

When my mom was a flight attendant for United, some time around 1960, she had the dubious honor of having Jerry Lewis as a passenger; he was in full disruptive cretin mode, crawling over seats and climbing into an overhead bin (which were more like actual bins back then, without doors, so that he could just sit in it like a bassinet or a bathtub). The pilot finally had to come back and tell him to sit down or be removed.

I have been more of a Frank Tashlin fan than a Lewis fan, but I recognize the totally unprecedented uniqueness of the man's persona--an anarchic grotesque pushed to existential limits. Which isn't to say he didn't have versatility and depth as an actor and comedian, as The Nutty Professor and King of Comedy ably demonstrate, yet there is something immensely and admirably primal about his moron mode that perfectly suits the cartoon panel and boldly colored style of Tashlin. It only faltered when scripts demanded cloying sentiment. As a director, he was a quick study, hoovering influences while still honoring his idols, like Stan Laurel's impressionist in The Bellboy (the real Stan Laurel--incidentally, my favorite film comedian--being an apt consultant for that film). Between its verbal reticence and obsession with human bodies interacting with inanimate objects associated with modern commercial spaces, The Bellboy also sharply reflects Tati. Ladies Man is by far his best as a director--the film that seems most his own, even as it owes so much to Tashlin--and having just received Arrow's Tout va bien in the mail, I'm necessarily reminded how incredibly influential that movie came to be, and in the most unexpected places. It's impossible to overestimate his impact on film and comedy in general, whether you love the guy or not.

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Re: Jerry Lewis (1926-2017)

#10 Post by Professor Wagstaff » Sun Aug 20, 2017 5:12 pm

His final interview is a great example of what an ornery jerk he could be. It's pretty funny watching the interviewer make a sincere attempt to get the guy to open up.

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Re: Jerry Lewis (1926-2017)

#11 Post by calculus entrophy » Sun Aug 20, 2017 5:59 pm

Its actually difficult to see whether the interviewer was part of the problem. Who knows what his role in the affair was, but his questions seemed fairly obtuse and amateur, and he had to have known going in that interviewing Jerry was already going to be a delicate situation.

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Re: Jerry Lewis (1926-2017)

#12 Post by gcgiles1dollarbin » Sun Aug 20, 2017 6:09 pm

Yeah, I would say that Lewis's behavior falls under the "suffering no fools" dispensation. Earn respect from a legend by doing research and asking thoughtful, specific questions (that don't focus repeatedly on his age, for God's sakes). It still might not work, but at least you're not giving the guy ammunition.

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Re: Jerry Lewis (1926-2017)

#13 Post by knives » Sun Aug 20, 2017 6:24 pm

Sticking with personality stuff a bit I love the story of Scorsese walking around with Lewis' book on the set of King of Comedy which instantly made Lewis suspicious that Scorsese was making fun of him. After a small confrontation it turned out Scorsese just really liked the book and was using it to help with some camera work on the film.

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Re: Jerry Lewis (1926-2017)

#14 Post by Mr Sausage » Sun Aug 20, 2017 9:36 pm

calculus entrophy wrote:Its actually difficult to see whether the interviewer was part of the problem. Who knows what his role in the affair was, but his questions seemed fairly obtuse and amateur, and he had to have known going in that interviewing Jerry was already going to be a delicate situation.
There's a whole article explaining how it happened, and that Lewis was becoming angrier and angrier during the photo session, leading to his evident annoyance during the interview itself.

Also, the interview was one of a series on entertainers in their 90s who still work. Age was the central subject.

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Re: Jerry Lewis (1926-2017)

#15 Post by domino harvey » Sun Aug 20, 2017 11:06 pm

Tulsi Gabbard just praised Jerry Lewis on Twitter. Tulsi 2020 she's truly the one who was promised

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Re: Jerry Lewis (1926-2017)

#16 Post by colinr0380 » Mon Aug 21, 2017 2:29 pm

I'm Moviedrome-introductioning all over the place at the moment, but I also wanted to mention a couple of his quirky mid-90s films: in Funny Bones, one of the 'tears of a clown' pain-of-comedy bittersweet dramas (in the vein of something like Punchline or the later Funny People) which uses rubbery-faced comedian Lee Evans quite well as a potential new talent (and maybe more) having his act exploited by Lewis and Oliver Platt, as they mine the North West UK 'talent' scene (long before Britain's Got Talent) for material to use in their Las Vegas shows! (Its probably the only film to feature the strange image of Jerry Lewis and Leslie Caron on top of the Blackpool Tower!); and the biggest name in the all-round quirky cast of Emir Kursturica's Arizona Dream (pairing well with Johnny Depp's team-up with another father figure of a previous era, Marlon Brando in Don Juan DeMarco, a couple of years later).
Last edited by colinr0380 on Tue Sep 26, 2017 12:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Jerry Lewis (1926-2017)

#17 Post by gcgiles1dollarbin » Mon Aug 21, 2017 5:38 pm

Mr Sausage wrote:
calculus entrophy wrote:Its actually difficult to see whether the interviewer was part of the problem. Who knows what his role in the affair was, but his questions seemed fairly obtuse and amateur, and he had to have known going in that interviewing Jerry was already going to be a delicate situation.
There's a whole article explaining how it happened, and that Lewis was becoming angrier and angrier during the photo session, leading to his evident annoyance during the interview itself.

Also, the interview was one of a series on entertainers in their 90s who still work. Age was the central subject.
Ah, so Lewis was aware of the nonagenarian theme. Didn't know that. He just seemed so ready to assume the interviewer wouldn't even know the name of his most recent film (Max Rose, I think), and it made me assume that he had zero respect for his interlocutor, especially after a series of vacuous questions about Vegas "back in the day." Either way, I don't envy anyone in this awkward situation.

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Re: Jerry Lewis (1926-2017)

#18 Post by calculus entrophy » Mon Aug 21, 2017 5:59 pm

Mr Sausage wrote:Also, the interview was one of a series on entertainers in their 90s who still work. Age was the central subject.
Yep - I was aware. The questions were along the lines of "what would you tell those 80 year olds out there", and other patronizing generalizations about "older entertainers". I could very much see how he would get annoyed when I listened to the interviewer pursue quite a few dead ends.

It would have been easy for him to research Jerry Lewis a little bit and come up with maybe one or two questions that reflected him as an individual rather than the questions I heard which sounded like a bunch of generic questions from a high school project.

I'm well aware of Jerry Lewis personality, but that interviewer was like throwing gasoline on a bonfire.

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Re: Jerry Lewis (1926-2017)

#19 Post by bearcuborg » Tue Aug 22, 2017 6:43 pm

So do we ever see The Day the Clown Died?

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Re: Jerry Lewis (1926-2017)

#20 Post by mfunk9786 » Tue Aug 22, 2017 8:12 pm

bearcuborg wrote:So do we ever see The Day the Clown Died?
No, doesn’t exist

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Re: Jerry Lewis (1926-2017)

#21 Post by Big Ben » Tue Aug 22, 2017 8:21 pm

mfunk9786 wrote:
bearcuborg wrote:So do we ever see The Day the Clown Died?
No, doesn’t exist
The Library of Congress apparently owns a copy and said copy was donated by Lewis himself. It is to be made available after about ten years. This was stated in 2015.
LA Times wrote:Stone also let the group in on secrets, like the Jerry Lewis collection he had just acquired on behalf of the library.

Did he really have the film negative of "The Day the Clown Cried," an unreleased Holocaust comedy that Lewis regretted making? Yes, Stone said, but the library agreed to not show the film for at least 10 years.
See here.

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Re: Jerry Lewis (1926-2017)

#22 Post by mfunk9786 » Tue Aug 22, 2017 8:30 pm

Bless your heart, Big Ben.


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Re: Jerry Lewis (1926-2017)

#24 Post by Big Ben » Tue Aug 22, 2017 8:51 pm

mfunk9786 wrote:Bless your heart, Big Ben.
I'm going to ruin everything for everyone.

Harry Shearer (Yes that one) has actually seen the film and says the following:
“The closest I can come to describing the effect is if you flew down to Tijuana and suddenly saw a black velvet painting of Auschwitz.”
French film critic Jean-Michel Frodon has also seen it. And loved it.

I confess a disgusting curiosity has gotten the better of me and now I really want to see it because I'm a bad person.

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Re: Jerry Lewis (1926-2017)

#25 Post by domino harvey » Tue Aug 22, 2017 8:52 pm

Shearer seems dubious of Lewis' talents apart from the film, so it doesn't mean much

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