The Stooge (1951) Poster

(1951)

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8/10
Good, But Uncomfortable
bkoganbing11 July 2007
It's hard to see why Hal Wallis and Paramount held this film for two years before releasing it. Maybe they wanted a few more straight out comedy hits for Martin and Lewis before giving this one to the public.

The story has a somewhat true background based on writer Sid Silvers's experience as just such a stooge for singer/vaudevillian Phil Baker. They however didn't stay a team for any length of time in the way Martin and Lewis did.

Martin has a singing/accordion act that is going nowhere until he hires a stooge with whom he can do shtick with from the audience. Of course The Stooge is Jerry Lewis.

The Stooge was an uncomfortable film for both of these guys. It exposes the cracks in their own relationship. What's ironic here is that because of television in the sixties, everyone knows just how funny Dean Martin could be on his own.

Dino's given a whole bunch of film standards to sing in this, mostly owned by Paramount. He recorded all of them and they wound up on his first long playing album from Capitol records along with That's Amore. I still have that album.

There's one new song written for the film, A Girl Named Mary and A Boy Named Bill. Dino sings it solo and with leading lady Polly Bergen. Of course they play Bill and Mary in the film. On the Capitol recording Dean ends it in a falsetto that puts him poaching in Frankie Valli territory. It's one of my favorites of his film songs.

Fans will no doubt recognize Frances Bavier, Aunt Bee herself, as Jerry's mom. And Jerry has some great moments with nervous Percy Helton and with slow burn short order cook Donald MacBride.

Hal Wallis was nervous for nothing. The Stooge is one of the best team efforts for Martin and Lewis.
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10/10
Such a great comedy!
seaturtle272 January 2007
About two years ago my mom asked me to get her a movie with Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin. I had heard of both of them and seen them on TV here and there but had never seen a movie with the two of them. I looked online and found "The Stooge." I didn't know if it was a good one or not because I had never heard of it, so I bought it. So on Christmas day we watched the movie together and I absolutely loved it! I never knew Jerry Lewis was that funny and I had know idea Dean Martin was a comedian, I just knew he was a beautiful singer. I recommend this movie to people of all ages. It has to be one of the funniest movies I have ever seen. I am 25 years old and with all of the comedies that are out these days, "The Stooge" is still one of the best! Classic!!
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10/10
The Best Film Martin and Lewis Ever Made! ****
santsa7012 August 2001
I haven't seen this movie in years, but a flick like this one just cannot be forgotten! I am in my early twenties and for more than half my life, I have been a film buff of movies old and new. Martin and Lewis are one of my all time favorite comedy duos, and at one time, I was renting movies here and there so that I could see all of the films they made together, and ones the lively, virtuous humanitarian Lewis did during his solo career.

When I saw this movie, it just blew me away. This film is the most dramatic film those boys ever made--and if you're thinking that that can't possibly be saying much since most of their movies were screwball comedies, I'm here to tell you you're mistaken. This movie is funny, but it's also very impassioned and heart-rendering, so you might do yourself a favor by keeping a box of tissues near you when viewing it.

Both Martin and Lewis are great in these dramatic and comedic roles as a comedy team that splits up because Lewis' character is under-appreciated and emotional mistreated by Martin's character. In a oddly coincidental way, this movie seemed to foreshadow the boys' split up in '56, but of course, in the movie, there is a happy ending. And while everyone knows that both Dean and Jerry went on to have successful solo careers and reunited as friends years later, I think that it would have been great to have seen them do a couple more films together that were as unforgettable as this one.
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Lewis and Martin, a couple to remember
Petri Pelkonen3 October 2001
Funny man Jerry Lewis is Ted Rogers and Dean Martin is Bill Miller in this Norman Taurog comedy from 1953.Dean's character gets angry when the clown gets all the attention, something that happened in the real life too.In 1956 these two split up.The Stooge is a marvelous Martin and Lewis picture.It's impossible to get bored while watching a Lewis and Martin movie.The movie has also some serious moments but the drama and comedy are well balanced in the movie.There's a lot of singing in this movie and it's amazing to see Jerry and Dean on stage entertaining people.Polly Bergen is wonderful playing Dean's love interest Mary Turner. Jerry Lewis is one of my favorite comedians of all time and after he stopped clowning with Dean he did very well alone.The master turned 75 years old the 16th day of March and it would be great if he still made some great comedies just like he did in the 50's and 60's. But you can laugh during these old movies of his and The Stooge is a must see for all the fans of Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin.
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8/10
The boys most accomplished piece, delivers a double deal.
Spikeopath4 March 2008
Some good comments here on this site already, so I really don't want to go over old ground, it is a portent of sorts, and there is no getting away from the fact that its central themes of narcissism and selfishness are striking a chord with the duo as the film draws to it's marvellous finale.

The film was held back for release for two years and it's not hard to see why in the light of the other Martin & Lewis out and out comedy offerings prior to this one. You see this offering is a drama with a comedy heart. Of course it's full of the maniacal moments one has come to expect from this pair, but we are never in any doubt that the core of the film is serious stuff. We are set up a treat by the makers because we are heartily involved with the mirthful nature for the first three parts of the film, and it's this that is the films chief triumph because when the shift in tone occurs: it hits you like a sledgehammer.

Maximum impact is gained by a cunning slant masquerading as comedy, and this makes the film, in my opinion, the duo's most poignant and accomplished piece of work, it's certainly not close to being the funniest one has to say, but it's an essential and great piece of entertainment from two very special entertainers. 8/10
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10/10
Life Imitating Art
MartynGryphon29 July 2009
Warning: Spoilers
The Stooge was Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis's 7th Movie together (8th if you include the blink and you'll miss it cameo in Hope/Crosby's Road to Bali), and it's one of their best.

Dean plays Bill Miller a Broadway star and part of a successful musical comedy double act, who decides that he could be just a big a star doing a single act. despite all around him advising him that he couldn't.

As predicted, his solo act goes down like a lead balloon and he lays egg after egg in all the houses he plays, thanks to his poor and well travelled jokes. His agent Leo Lyman, (Eddie Mayehoff), convinces him to get a 'Stooge' to sit in the audience and heckle him as he performs in the hopes of adding life to his stagnant act.

Enter ex stock room boy Ted Rogers,(Jerry), as the klutzy kid hired for the role. The new and revived act brings the house down with audience convulsed with laughter at the way they played off each other.

Bill & Ted tour the country to rave reviews but Bill has delusions of grandeur by thinking he's still a single act. Even though most of newspapers are praising Ted, he receives no formal billing, a fact that either doesn't bother Ted, or he's content to see his friend happy by not mentioning it. In Bill's defence, there is no conscious malice towards Ted as he does genuinely care for Ted as a person, but sees him as nothing more than an essential prop in HIS act.

Ted is naive in every single way and will not have a bad word said about his 'partner', especially when his girlfriend, Genevieve 'Frecklehead' Tait, (Marion Marshall), Leo, and even Bill's wife Mary, (Polly Bergen), try to stick up for him by telling him that he's being made out a stooge in more ways than one. Bill's failure to realise that he is actually part of a mega successful double act finally threatens to alienate everyone close to him and even end his marriage.

The Stooge is in many ways a mirror of Dean & Jerry's own rise to fame and also a precursor of the demise of their partnership in 1956. When they were both booked to play the 500 club as single acts in 1946 both acts were not very successful until Jerry started heckling Dean during his act smashing plates and causing mayhem. The act quickly took off until by the end of their first week it was standing room only. When they split up 10 years to the day later, critics were convinced that Dean Martin would disappear from the scene and wouldn't be able to make it without Jerry who would no doubt become the clown prince of Hollywood. Thus the entire film is an undisputed case of life imitating art.

The support cast is brilliant, the songs superb and you can never EVER get sick and tired of listening to Dino sing. Jerry has couple of great scenes. One see's him singing a song in his own squeaky voice but turns into Maurice Chevalier whenever he puts on a hat, the other is in his very first scene in the diner where he shares the laughs with that brilliant character actor Donald MacBride.

Drama, Comedy, and Dino singing, this movie's got the lot.

Enjoy!!!!
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Classic early M&L
Michael_Elliott25 November 2006
STOOGE, THE (1952)

*** (out of four)

Dean Martin plays a singer wanting to make it on his own but he needs the help of a stooge (Jerry Lewis) in order to hit the big time. Once there, Dean decides he can make it solo. Outside his performance in THE KING OF COMEDY, I wasn't really a big fan of Lewis whose humor just really doesn't appeal to me. I had been told that his teamings with Martin were much better than his solo career and that's certainly something I'd agree with because THE STOOGE turned out to be a nice little gem. The film features all sorts of wonderful gags including a scene inside a diner and another were Lewis takes his first drink of alcohol. Even the songs are pretty good, which is why I was somewhat shocked that Paramount kept this on the shelf at first.
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6/10
The true Jerry & Dean story starts here!
mifunesamurai6 January 2002
It has its moments as a curious piece where one can't help but see this as a premonition of the future relationship between Dean and Jerry. All the laughs go to Jerry and the romance is looked after by Dean the man. I now know where Jim Carey got his facial expressions from.
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10/10
It helped me really get into older black and white films
drtoner12313 January 2006
I'm 25 years old and have always had a huge respect for Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin. I hope one day to shake the hand of Jerry Lewis. Thing is, I never really sat down through any of their full length films because I'm your typical new movie kinda guy. I like to see what's just coming out in theaters and these older movies, well I usually just think of them as having poor quality and over drawn out moments. I caught this film on HBO and was absolutely hooked. Everything was so beautiful, so perfect in this film. The acting is terrific. The only thing that could have made this film even better is if they showed a few more cars but hey, we can't have everything, and well, I'm just a major car guy. The movie was made in 1953, pardon me, released in 1953. My daily driver is a 1953 Chevrolet Bel Air. This movie has really fired me up to watch a lot of older films. Pretty soon I'm sure I'll be commenting on a few others. I'm filling up my DVR with everything 50's and back as we speak. Here's the thing, I love new movies and anytime I find a new release that is set back in the 50's, I'm a major sucker for it. With this, there is no error in these movies; no "hey did you see that? That was a 1980's van in the background!" Okay, yes it's a bit cheesy but this movie really gave me a lot of inspiration to watch more classics. I LOVE this film!
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9/10
Wonderful!
Irishmoviereviewer27 December 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Ah man, Martin and Lewis never fail on their act together! Martin is always the beautiful singer and Lewis is always still the goofy one that you would fall in love with too! I loved how he was always attached to his mother, it's just like all of us can't live without our mammy's!

Both of them were mighty and romantic! I thought Lewis was never gonna marry 'Frecklehead' after all the daftness that she said she can't marry him due to the fact, she thought Martin's character was using him to grow his own fame and not his! Marion Marshall looked so adorable, she looks like little Bo Peep. I'm glad her and Lewis were finally a couple, she unfortunately had to faint from the kiss haha!

I would agree with Lewis on this one, this is the best movie that the pair have ever done in their careers!
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Though a bit uneven dramatically, The Stooge is another enjoyable Martin & Lewis picture
tavm23 August 2011
With this, Martin & Lewis's seventh feature together, they're reunited with the following co-stars from previous movies: Polly Bergen-who was in At War with the Army and That's My Boy-playing Dean's wife who once again has a wonderful duet with him, Marion Marshall-who was also in TMB as well as Sailor Beware-playing Jerry's girlfriend, Eddie Mayehoff-previously Jerry's father in TMB is now Dean's and eventually Jerry's manager, Richard Erdman-previously the person Jerry passes himself off as in Jumping Jacks is Dean's previous performing partner here, and Mary Treen-previously the assistant of Corrine Calvet in SB is now the assistant of Jerry's boss before Jerry's teaming with Dean. In this one, Dean is an entertainer who's trying to make it as a single but his act sucks when he tries that so Jerry is picked to play a stooge for him. I'll stop there and just say that while I liked the way the actors switched from comedy to drama during the transitional scenes, sometimes I think the screenplay or maybe the direction didn't make them seamless enough to be believable to me. In fact, I found Jerry and sometimes Dean more funny offstage than when they did their act on-stage. And I think it was a mistake to make it seem like Jerry didn't know what he was doing the whole time he's on stage especially whenever it's obviously not the case-such as when he has to go on by himself after Dean drinks too much to do so and does a great parody of Maurice Chevalier. Nevertheless, this is another enjoyable Martin & Lewis picture that gets a recommendation from me. P.S. Frances Bavier, as Jerry's mom, was a nice surprise to me especially when she did his laugh. And what a coincidence that both her and Ms. Treen are in this picture since Ms. Bavier replaced Ms. Treen as the housekeeper in the first episode of "The Andy Griffith Show"!
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8/10
A bit uncomfortable to watch at times, but probably the team's best.
MartinHafer13 November 2010
Warning: Spoilers
I would LOVE to know more about the background for this film. After all, so many elements are reminiscent of the real team of Martin & Lewis that it's hard to know how much is fiction and how much is autobiographical. I do know, however, why Jerry Lewis loved this film. And, you could probably assume that Dean Martin didn't, as it really made him look like an awful person.

In many ways, this film is not really a comedy--making it unique for the team. And, in many ways, the act on screen looked a lot like Martin & Lewis' real stage act--something that people particularly loved on television where they made a HUGE splash. Dean plays a straight man who croons and Jerry an obnoxious guy in the crowd who disrupts the act and acts really goofy. However, unlike the real team, Jerry plays a really dumb guy--a guy who is successful just being himself. The problem in the film is that Dean's character is totally selfish and exploits Jerry. They are less a partnership and more Dean having hired help. But, as the act becomes more and more popular, it's more and more obvious that Jerry is an important part of the act--something Dean just doesn't want to admit. And, because Jerry is no nice and guileless, people around Dean grow to hate him. As I said, the film makes Dean look like a horrible person and Jerry a poor victim. It's very entertaining and dramatic....but as I said above, you wonder how close this is to fact.

On the plus side, Jerry's performance isn't quite as broad and obnoxious as many of his other films. Dean is just fine but I would give $100000 to have been able to read his mind when this film was being made. You also wonder if, perhaps, this film may have laid some of the groundwork for the team's break up several years later. Because of this, it's a bit uncomfortable to watch--is it a case of art imitating life (or vice-versa)? Compelling and very interesting.
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8/10
Who's Your Little Whozis?---8/10.
Clark Richards3 October 2005
Warning: Spoilers
The film opens with Bill Miller (Dean Martin) in bed with his love interest (a magazine with his face on the cover), but it isn't long before Bill becomes too sexed up from his magazine cover that he telephones his girlfriend Mary Turner (Polly Bergen) who also happens to be getting restless and squirrelly in bed with her own magazine cover. No, not the magazine with Bill on the cover, you see Mary also has a magazine with her own face gracing the cover. This is either a quick and effective way by the director (Norman Taurog) in letting the audience understand that these two people are either very talented singers on their way to stardom, or that they're incredibly narcissistic self lovers that only use the sounds of each other's voices to finish off before going to sleep. The film leads me to believe it's both. So, as narcissism raises its pretty face at the opening of the film, we see these two characters on equal footing. Before the end of the film each character will strip away their narcissistic tendencies, hers through self-sacrifice by becoming a scrapbook queen, his by turning to the bottle and nearly destroying his burgeoning performing career along with any relationship he's had with anyone female or idiot.

The wild card in all of this mix is that of Ted Rogers (Jerry Lewis). Ted is the man who not only holds the fate of Bill in his hands, but who also has the wherewithal to help save Bill and Mary's relationship when Bill becomes too ambitious with his own career. Ted is such a great guy that he can be seen writing the finishing touches of a birthday note to Mary that Bill was too shortsighted to complete. Ted is also the guy who has the inspiration to write a love song to Mary so that Bill can get in Mary's good graces when Bill selfishly blew off her birthday party. In fact, the only time when Mary truly hears any meaning behind the words, "I love you" is when they are uttered from the drunken lips of Ted while both Mary and Bill are undressing Ted for bed. Mary gives Ted a kiss on the cheek while Bill takes off Ted's shoes. This is the closest thing to an Ménage a Trois that 1950's American cinema could approach. I'm glad that's as far as it could go; I don't want to know anything about anyone's little 'Whozis'.

Seeing that this is a 1950's comedy/drama, everything has a tidy and happy ending; even Ted manages to land a hot little number in disguise. Affectionately referred to as 'Freckle Head' (Marion Marshall) by Ted throughout the movie, Ted's love interest practically steals the screen from Mary. 'Freckle Head' becomes infatuated with Ted from the moment they share a balcony at one of Bill's shows. She then employs the look of love damn near every second of the movie she's in. Her comic facial gestures hold their own against those of the extremely 'hamorific' Lewis. Somehow the two have a mild chemistry together and seem to make a fairly good couple.

Leo Lyman (Eddie Mayehoff) plays Bill's agent. He plays a sort of unsung silent hero throughout the movie. Silent because most of his screen time shows him clapping in the front row at his two prized clients or walking out of a scene looking dejected at how Bill has misbehaved. He's another character who wants to stand up for a principle and by the end of the movie he gets to…what else would you expect?

Even to the most casual movie fan, "The Stooge" cannot simply play itself out solely as a typical 'cash in movie vehicle' that draws upon the innocent caricatures of Martin & Lewis, the film's storyline takes on the feel of an unintentional premonitory guide book replete with glaring sign posts, warning of the duo's dissolving partnership that was only five years away.

But really, try not to think about that. Just let "The Stooge" roll over you, take one for the team. It really is their best film. I wouldn't ask you to do this for "At War With The Army"; only an enemy would ask you to do something like that.

Clark Richards 8/10.
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6/10
More sentimental and maudlin than most Martin & Lewis films
a_chinn15 October 2017
This was Jerry Lewis' favorite of his Martin and Lewis films. I'm guessing this is because this film had the type of maudlin sentimentality that Jerry would often include in the films he would go on to write, produce, and direct. The story has singer Dean Martin as a singer who during one performance has a hilarious back-and-forth banter with audience member Jerry. The two then scheme to plant Jerry in the audience for future performances to recreate the gag. Jerry becomes the real star of the show, but gets no billing or equal pay, and generally is exploited by Dean, to which Dean's wife, Polly Bergen, eventually confronts him over. It's a pretty lightweight drama and the sappiness works to a point, mostly thanks to Jerry's very sympathetic performance, but this isn't your usual wacky Martin & Lewis outing and the mix of comedy and drama doesn't quite mesh. Still, it is worth watching for fans of the comic duo and for fans of Jerry in particular.
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9/10
***1/2
edwagreen16 March 2016
Warning: Spoilers
This picture may have been so well placed to the truth and success of the Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis team of the 1950s.

To begin with, even though it was made in 1951, Polly Bergen is totally unrecognizable. Her voice was as beautiful as ever but even that seemed different.

Dino is the selfish song and dance man who decides to go it alone but soon takes Lewis as his partner to add to the act. Did I say add to the act? Lewis was the act. His zany antics with that childish voice were beyond comprehension and just fabulous.

Dean's refusal to give any acknowledgment to Lewis in the act begins to alienate his manager and fan and in a rage, he throws Lewis out only to flat on stage with Lewis coming to the rescue.

A film proving that it takes an act to make a success, not necessarily one individual.
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3/10
A suave singer hooks up with a "meshugener" sidekick
Applause Meter22 August 2013
Martin & Lewis were everywhere in the 1950s. Movies. TV. I remember the duo very well and watching them as a child, I thought Jerry Lewis was hilarious. I haven't seen them together since those days. When I saw "The Stooge" recently on TCM, my memories took a big jolt.

This is a really is an unpleasant, uncomfortable movie. Lewis plays a pathetic nitwit who should be kept on a leash for his own good; instead he is exploited by show biz types. Dean is Dean, a competent crooner with a pleasant, easy going manner. Dean Martin never reached his stride until he cut the umbilical cord from Jerry and took up with the Sinatra Rat Pack.

There's nothing funny about "The Stooge." The movie is a curio, an example of what the public applauded as comedic entertainment 60 years ago: the eccentric combo of Martin & Lewis.
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7/10
Deja vu all over again!
vincentlynch-moonoi24 June 2013
Warning: Spoilers
I would imagine that after their breakup four years after this film was made, both Martin and Lewis could look back on this film as being a bit of a premonition of things to come. Here, a singer (obviously Dean) with a stage act that is going flat hires a stooge (obviously Jerry) to spice up the act. But in a sense, it's a role reversal, because here Jerry is getting no attention, while Dean gets all the kudos in the press. Ironically, after the real Martin & Lewis breakup, it was Dean that was expected to flounder and disappear, while Jerry was expected to continue to rocket to success. How ironic that in this film Dean is told, "You're not a single, and you never will be!" While there's lots of classic Martin & Lewis here, this film does have a serious story line...2, in fact. Singer neglects and almost loses wife. Singer doesn't provide his stooge with the dignity he deserves and almost loses act. There's some good sentimentality here, and both Martin and Lewis probably do their best real acting to date.

Dean has several good songs here -- "I'm Yours", "With My Eyes Wide Open I'm Dreaming", and "A Girl Named Mary And A Boy Named Bill". Plus there's a fun Dean & Jerry version of "Just One More Chance".

Polly Bergen is very good as Dean's wife. We survive through Marion Marshall as Jerry's love interest...again. Eddie Mayehoff is really good as the agent. And it's interesting to see Frances Bavier (Aunt Bee on Andy Griffith's show a few years later) as Jerry's mother.

This is one of the better Martin & Lewis films because -- like "That's My Boy", there's some drama mixed in with the comedy. Recommended, but their best films are yet to come.
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