|Index||5 reviews in total|
Jumping Jacks though early in the careers of Martin and Lewis personified and solidified the act as comedians. Though it was relatively the end of their comedy team, this movie only proved they had more fun and slap stick to come. Fantastic laugh a minute movie with a few Martin songs which are equally as good. If you have never seen a Martin and Lewis movie this is the one to see.
With more of an accent on comedy than romance, Jumping Jacks turns out
to be more of a Jerry Lewis than a Dean Martin picture. Usually Dean
got one or two good songs in one of their films, here he got none and
didn't even bother to record any of the material written by Mack David
and Jerry Livingston.
But Jerry got a ton of laughs as the former comedy partner of Dino who's been drafted into the army and is now a paratrooper. Dino's got himself a nice lush assignment there, he's got to put on a talent show and maybe get himself a permanent berth doing that sort of thing if he can only impress General Ray Teal. But the amateur talent Dino has from the army pool has its limits.
What to do but trick is hapless former partner into visiting him on the base at Fort Benning and take the place of one of the other soldiers and be in the show. It works only too well as Teal singles out Lewis and really loves the idea of the show traveling to other bases as is. Now the Airborne Rangers are stuck with Jerry Lewis.
And Dino and the rest of the guys are stuck with keeping the con up, to the extent of fooling their new sergeant Robert Strauss. Watching Strauss we get an idea of what his character the Animal must have been like before he became a prisoner at Stalag 17. He and Lewis form a curious bond.
Speaking of Stalag 17 another cast member from that great film that would be coming from Paramount a year after Jumping Jacks is Richard Erdman. Erdman if you'll remember played barracks chief Sergeant Hoffman in Billy Wilder's classic. In Jumping Jacks if Jerry Lewis is the Schlemiel, Erdman is the Schlamazel as Dogface Dolan, the soldier who Jerry takes the identity of. Erdman cuts himself in for quite a few laughs himself.
The service comedy stuff is reworked a lot from previous films, Buck Privates and Keep 'Em Flying from Abbott&Costello come to mind. The finale is straight from Keep 'Em Flying. But I do like the way Lewis distinguishes himself in the war games which has some really good moments for Jerry.
Still the weakness of Jumping Jacks is Martin is relegated almost to the side. You know that when the best number in the film is done by Mona Freeman and Jerry Lewis at the beginning, A Boy In A Uniform.
Paramount and Hal Wallis brought Dean and Jerry and the whole crew to Fort Benning, Georgia, the army's Airborne Headquarters to shoot the film. I'm sure the troops we see here who were no doubt on the way to Korea liked getting in the movies.
Jumping Jacks is a good Martin&Lewis comedy, but definitely more Lewis than Martin.
This is another Martin & Lewis movie I watched on YouTube. Two years after At War with the Army, they're back there although Jerry's only there because Dean needs his old performing partner back to put on a show. Mona Freeman is Lewis' new partner back in New York where they're supposed to prepare for a Broadway show. So Jerry's there under false pretenses and...oh, watch the movie to see how it all turns out. In chronologically reviewing this iconic team's movies, I've mentioned when their leading ladies did another film with them. Now I can say what male co-stars have made return appearances: First, there's Robert Strauss-previously their superior officer in their last picture Sailor Beware-once again as their sergeant who eventually warms up to Lewis. Then there's Don DeFore-previously Dean's rival in My Friend Irma-as one of Dean and Jerry's fellow privates. Since there's a show business angle involved, there's plenty of musical numbers with Dean either by himself with some dancers or with Jerry clowning around. Jerry himself has a number with Ms. Freeman though her singing voice is dubbed by Imogene Lynn. In summary, this was quite hilarious to me with Dean himself, for once, getting almost as equal laughs as Jerry especially during that lunch-on-a-train sequence with Strauss and another actor named Richard Erdman who's character Lewis is impersonating. So on that note, I highly recommend Jumping Jacks.
Wow...talk about your contrived plots! The film begins with Jerry and
his female partner working on their stage act. Out of the blue, Jerry
gets a cryptic letter--telling him her was needed for government
business. When he goes to where the letter tells him, he finds out his
old partner (Dean) needs him to help him put on some sort of show for
the army. It seems that Dean is now a paratrooper and plans on having
Jerry take on the identity of a guy in his unit so they can put on a
show together. While this idea is ridiculous, it's even more so when
Jerry is stuck in the paratroopers and cannot get out--even though he
really wants to.
This film finds Jerry Lewis at his most spastic and even louder than usual--making you wonder how anyone could possibly mistake him for a soldier (or human)! In addition, because of the performing angle, there are a larger than usual number of musical numbers--along with dancing and other choreography. If you like this, you're in luck. As for me, this mix created a less satisfying sort of Martin & Lewis film. Fortunately, the film was saved (somewhat) by the notion of idiot Jerry accidentally succeeding and becoming a great soldier! But to me, this isn't enough to make this anything other than a loud time-passer.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is certainly not Martin & Lewis' best film outing, but it's a
pretty decent film to watch. The plot is simple -- Lewis (a civilian)
is pressured to help put on a stage show for paratroopers, but then has
to remain in the army or face being shot as a spy who sneaked on base.
TO some extent it's sort of predictable, although most films
are...aren't they? This is more Jerry Lewis' film than Dean Martin's,
but I couldn't help but think as the film progressed, that had you
taken Dean out of all the scenes, what would be left? Mugging.
Dean has a couple of good numbers. "The Parachute Jump" didn't rate a Capitol recording, but it's a nice production number and Dean does it well (and why wasn't it recorded on Capitol? It's not a love song!). Similarly, "The Big Blue Sky" is another militarily-themed production number, not suitable for a Capitol release, but features a rather nice vocal performance by Dean. "I Know A Dream When I See One" is a more traditional love song by Dean. And "Keep A Little Dream Handy" is a nice Martin & Lewis duet.
Both Dean and Jerry pretty much follow their film traditions here. Dean is clearly the straight man, while Jerry does far too much mugging. Robert Strauss was probably born to play an army sergeant, and he's entertaining to watch. Other supporting actors include Don DeFore (9 years before his best known role in television's "Hazel"). It's nice to see Ray Teal, so often a supporting actor in Westerns (and in "Bonanza" as the sheriff).
Parts of the movie were filmed at Fort Benning in Georgia, and you can learn a bit about paratroopers and their training in the somewhat silly film action. All in all, a decent film comedy, though probably more for the audiences of the early 50s than today.
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