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Based on the long-running radio show. Irma is a likeable airhead who meddles in her roommate's love-life. Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, in their first screen appearance, are juice-bar operators who are discovered when a self-proclaimed manager hears Martin's golden voice. Irma's roommate wants to marry her rich boss, but instead falls in love with Martin. Written by
When Paramount Pictures and Hal Wallis decided to debut their new comedy team find of Martin and Lewis, they chose a vehicle with a built in audience should the new team fail. My Friend Irma was a popular radio comedy from that period with Marie Wilson in the title role of Irma Peterson.
Irma is one of those dumb Dora blonds so popular back in the day who seem to just sail through life oblivious to what's around and somehow get through it. She causes all around her to scratch their heads and those closest to her scratch the most. Diana Lynn is her roommate and levelheaded best friend Jane Tracy and John Lund is Irma's charming loafer of a boyfriend complete with New York speech.
Lund as boyfriend Al seems so suited for Wilson because anyone else would have given this bum the heave ho years ago. They're engaged, but she's the one who bought him a ring. He's forever got some get rich quick scheme that never works out and that was part of most of the radio comedy episodes.
But he might have latched onto a good thing now when he discovers Dean Martin entertaining the customers at a juice bar he works at with a song or two. And of course Dean is working their with Jerry who is trying hard not to burn down the place.
Lund signs Martin to a contract and now he will be his manager. At the same time Martin is falling for Lynn and she him. But Lynn has that practical streak in her and she's set her cap for her rich boss, Don DeFore. I think you can see where this is all going.
It was a good debut film for Dean and Jerry. But Jerry wanted Lund's role and complained all the way through the shooting to Hal Wallis and director George Marshall. Lewis's part is created and practically shoehorned into the picture. But give Jerry credit, he took the part and made himself a star with it.
The one tragic note in this film is that Felix Bressart was supposed to play Professor Kropotkin the doorman of the Gypsy Tea Room. He died in the middle of shooting and Hans Conreid was rushed in as a last minute replacement.
My Friend Irma did have a successor film with Martin and Lewis as well in My Friend Irma Goes West. And Marie Wilson recreated her signature part for television for three years. If they ever decide to revive it for the 21st century, Jessica Simpson would be perfect casting.
I'd pay to see that.
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