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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.
I haven't seen this movie in years, but a flick like this one just cannot
forgotten! I am in my early twenties and for more than half my life, I
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
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.
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!!
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.
*** This review may contain 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.
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
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
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.
*** This review may contain 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
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!
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"!
*** This review may contain 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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