HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Journey to the West: The Demons Strike Back
Detective Conan: The Phantom of Baker Street
Lost in Paris
Goodbye Lover
Mouse Story: The Adventures of George and Gerald
Young Dragons: Kung Fu Kids
Spider-Man: Homecoming
Amazing Mr. X, The
Haunted House Elf
Lost & Found
Reformation
Abyss, The
Agent 505: Death Trap in Beirut
Lured
Jem and the Holograms
Burning of Red Lotus Monastery, The
Bag Boy Lover Boy
Sleepless Night
Willy McBean and His Magic Machine
Robbery
Tag
Never Back Down
Doraemon: Nobita's Little Star Wars
Kriminal
It Comes at Night
Strangled
Mojin - The Lost Legend
Poison Ivy
Celine and Julie Go Boating
Union Station
   
 
Newest Articles
Re: Possession of Vehicles - Killer Cars, Trucks and a Vampire Motorcycle
The Whicker Kicker: Whicker's World Vols 5&6 on DVD
The Empress, the Mermaid and the Princess Bride: Three 80s Fantasy Movies
Witching Hour: Hammer House of Horror on Blu-ray
Two Sides of Sellers: The Party vs The Optimists
Norse Code: The Vikings vs The Long Ships
Over the Moon - Space: 1999 The Complete Series on Blu-ray Part 2
Alpha Males and Females - Space: 1999 The Complete Series on Blu-ray Part 1
Animated Anxieties: From the Era of the Creepiest Cartoons
Manor On Movies--Clegg (1970)
   
 
  Errand Boy, The For The UnderdogsBuy this film here.
Year: 1961
Director: Jerry Lewis
Stars: Jerry Lewis, Brian Donlevy, Howard McNear, Dick Wesson, Robert Ivers, Pat Dahl, Renée Taylor, Rita Hayes, Stanley Adams, Kathleen Freeman, Isobel Elsom, Sig Ruman, Doodles Weaver, Fritz Feld, Richard Bakalyan, Joe Besser, Milton Frome, Mike Mazurki
Genre: Comedy
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: From the air, this looks like any other town in America, but it is not: this is Hollywood, where dreams are made, from cowboy pictures to suspense to all sorts of thrillers and romances, it seems real enough on the silver screen but if only the audiences knew that the woman getting slapped around was actually a former heavyweight boxer, the boulder about to crush the hero is made of cardboard, and those lovers lost in each other's eyes? They're husband and wife and cannot stand one another. There are a collection of major studios here, all with their own sound stages to create the magic, but at Paramutual there has been a problem, for the head of the company, T.P. (Brian Donlevy), has noticed they are losing money - not at the box office, on the lot.

This leads him to bring in an investigator, but if you thought you were about to get a detective story with a comedy twist, well, that's not what director, co-writer and star Jerry Lewis had in mind, The Errand Boy was more of a series of skits he dreamt up to try out various ideas, making this one of the most experimental of his hits, or indeed any comedian's hits. It was not completely avant garde, he remained dedicated to delivering jokes in his signature goofball style, but the fact that this was a humorous enterprise dialled back to its component parts, the basics, made it look as if Lewis was taking his comedy apart to see how it worked, then putting it back together again for his cameras to capture.

Of course, setting about his material in this fashion could have rendered the experience of watching Lewis here as akin to seeing a bunch of television sketches strung together without much shape to the proceedings, yet he knew his persona was strong enough to create a common thread the jokes needed to justify their existence in a feature length movie. Lewis's Morty S. Tashman (that name surely a reference to his directing mentor Frank Tashlin) is one of his accustomed lowest rung of the ladder young men, putting up billboard posters in such an inept manner that T.P. immediately spots his potential as an undercover man, for nobody would suspect someone so gauche as working for the head honcho.

But as it turns out, all that business at the beginning was a ruse to get Lewis into the studio and deliver those scenes where he went from straight slapstick to verbal gags to something sentimental - the latter was what dated so quickly and proved a turn-off for the generations to come who would dismiss his often-excellent stylings without giving it a chance. The Errand Boy may not have been one of his greatest accomplishments, yet in its comparatively modest ambitions it paved the way for the insanely ambitious set-ups he would try next, and often succeed with them; at the time, he was regarded as a comedian mostly for kids, and they did love his antics, but there was a fair-sized adult audience who appreciated his ridiculous take on the world, which was often hostile to a well-meaning klutz like his characters.

Here the mission was to keep it simple, so we were offered such genuinely funny bits as Morty having to take a letter to a certain office, which necessitated a trip in the elevator, affording Lewis the chance to play on the awkwardness of crowded in a small box with people you did not know and would certainly not choose to get so close to in any other situation - OK, maybe the subway of a large city. On the other hand, there were the frankly bizarre sequences where he interacted with puppets, which are apparently operating themselves, one a clown glove puppet and the other an ostrich with a Southern Belle accent, which offer a reflective passage or two, but maybe not what you would show a non-convert to win them over to the cult of Jerry. With an "if in doubt, cause chaos" delivery of each sketch, this was as effective as it was unadorned, and as always there was an ending that saw his character triumphant to offer hope to the largely non-triumphant fans watching: see? Lewis's public generosity was not all an act. Music by Walter Scharf.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 211 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Who's the best?
Robin Askwith
Mark Wahlberg
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Andrew Pragasam
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Keith Rockmael
Paul Shrimpton
Enoch Sneed
Ian Phillips
Jensen Breck
   

 

Last Updated: