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Dean and Jerry are the sons of a pair of ranchers who were both killed in a range war. Dean's parents stayed west, but Agnes Moorehead as Jerry's mom, went East, made a ton of money and raised Jerry as the tenderest tenderfoot ever. Dean's now gone east and entered rodeo competition to win money for a prize bull named Cuddles. He meets up with Jerry who 'helps' him out in his usual manner.
Most of Rhythm on the Range involved Bing Crosby on the journey back west with Cuddles the bull and Frances Farmer where some romance develops. Since no one would confuse Frances with Jerry, the love interest has to be supplied elsewhere. Jerry's cousin Lori Nelson does this for Dean. In fact according to the Nick Tosches biography on Dean Martin, the interest was off the screen as well.
Jerry doesn't do too bad in this film either. He gets saloon girl and former Miss USA Jackie Loughrey. By that time Jerry's been made the sheriff and he's gotten the ire roused of one particular bad guy Jeff Morrow who thinks of Loughrey as his own. But in the end all's well and even the intergenerational range war has finally ended. Not without the usual broad comedic gags that are a Martin and Lewis specialty.
Bing made out miles better in his film than Dino did in the song department. Jimmy Van Heusen and Sammy Cahn wrote the score for Pardners and it's definitely not up to their usual standards. In Rhythm on the Range Bing got to sing, Empty Saddles and introduced I'm An Old Cowhand. Since they owned the rights, why didn't Paramount just let Martin have some of these to do. In fact I'm An Old Cowhand would have been a great comic duet for both Dino and Jerry.
Still the accent was on comedy rather than romance in Pardners and that is what Martin and Lewis do best.
I love Jerry Lewis films so when I popped in this DVD which is classified as a Western/Comedy I was hoping to see a film that may provide a few chuckles. Much to my surprise for a picture that was released almost 60 years ago the picture quality was in pristine Technicolor, the tandem of Martin and Lewis and a strong supporting cast that included Agnes Moorehead kept me entertained throughout the film from beginning to end.
Lost in the production values of today's films is that combination of a simple but effective plot, the bantering between the two co- stars Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, the slapstick comedy of the King of Comedy of the 1950's and 1960's Jerry Lewis, and the film also threw in a few cowboy songs that were sung by swooner Dean Martin. Heck even Jerry and Dean sung a few numbers together.
I keep hearing that life was much simpler back in the 1950's than it is now 60 years later. Although in my humble opinion if there were more family oriented films such as this classic comedy "Pardners" that were more readily available for families to sit down and watch together as a family unit rather than today's generation of laptop, tabloid and android users who prefer to watch films in isolation that are saturated with Computer Generated Imagery more commonly known as CGI the family unit would be stronger today with a lot less violence in the world.
Pardners has everything this moviegoer demands. It has a simple plot with great comedy relief and a few light songs to go along with the cowboy's journey. The two old cowboys from the late 1800's played by Dean Martin and Lewis die together at the hands of an evil desperado but leave behind their sons (also played by Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis) who 25 years later in the early 1900's join forces together once again to take down the evil banker who also happens to be the son of the rustler who killed their daddies 25 years earlier.
Jerry Lewis plays the bumbling heir apparent to mom's (Agnes Moorehead) industrial revolution fortune who runs away to reunite with real life cowpoke Dean Martin to save the ranch that Jerry's and Dean's daddies died trying to save many years ago. It is a wonderful family film that has endured the test of time. I urge families to sit back and relax with a bowl of popcorn and just enjoy this comedy western classic.
I give the film a strong 8 out of 10 rating
Dean has several great songs here. "The Wind! The Wind!" is probably one of his best recordings during the Capitol years, and "Me 'n You 'n the Moon" is a very nice up-temp love song. For Jerry there's "Buckskin Beauty", and for the boys together there's the title song...which is very nice, though ironic since this film was playing in theaters just about the time the duo had split up. By the way, the songs were composed by Sammy Cahn and Jimmy VanHeusen.
I found Jerry a little more tolerable here...the screechy voice mostly gone...a bit more mature acting (mature?). Dean was very laid back and fit the role. In terms of supporting actors, Agnes Moorehead is good as Jerry's mother, and Lori Nelson fine as Dean's love interest (though this is not big speaking part). There are a number of familiar faces among the cowboys -- Jeff Morrow, Lon Chaney, Jr., Lee Van Cleef, Jack Elam, and Bob Steele.
Incidentally, if you have a chance to watch "The Caddy" and "Pardners" in succession -- which I did yesterday and today -- wow, what a difference in Dean's body language and facial expressions. In the earlier film, there's a look that sort of says, "I'm having fun". You don't see that in "Pardners".
All in all, a rather pleasant effort, and in my view one of the better of the Martin & Lewis pics.
Safe & colourful comedy fare for fans of the successful duo. 7/10
I really loved the scenes of the old West, it does take you right back in time when cowboy movies were increasingly popular in the 50's and 60s. It's a really nice feeling but unfortunately, cowboy movies nowadays aren't shown much anymore!
This movie is such a gem, I honestly loved Lewis and Martin teaming up on this one!
*** (out of 4)
Our film starts off with Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis playing Slim Moseley and Wade Kingsley who die protecting their ranch. Moseley, Jr. (Martin) stays out West where he eventually tries to save the ranch and he goes out East to track down Wade, Jr. (Lewis) who he discovers is quite the weak nerd. Wade, wanting to become a cowboy, follows Moseley out West and soon they are going up against a crooked gang who wants their land.
I really wasn't sure what to expect from PARDNERS but it turned out to be one of the better Martin & Lewis movies even if it does borrow quite heavily from their film THAT'S MY BOY. This film here benefits greatly from the beautiful Technicolor plus the fact that the two leads are surrounding by a very good supporting cast. Plus, you can't help but enjoy seeing Martin in his first Western and especially when you consider the great things he did for the genre after the duo's split.
As far as this film goes, Martin & Lewis were just built for the Western setting and both of them do a very good job here. I really liked Lewis' character here because he wasn't nearly as whiny or as annoying as the actor would sometime go. This character seemed like a legit one and I thought Lewis did a very good job. One of his highlights deals with him trying to roll a cigarette without much luck. Martin was perfect here as he gets some very good numbers throughout the picture including the title track, which is done with Lewis on a good Western set.
The supporting cast includes fun performances from Lori Nelson, Jackie Loughery, Agnes Moorehead, Jeff Morrow, Lee Van Cleef and Lon Chaney in a small role. You also have Jack Elam and Bob Steele appearing in small roles. The film has a lot of funny moments here including one very good sequence where Martin is having to fill in for Lewis during a fight while making sure the weak one gets the credit for it. As I said, the Technicolor here looks terrific and I liked how the film played well as not only a comedy but also a Western.
If you expect "Cat Balou", don't watch this. This is no comedy for adults, as its slapstick humour is horrendously outdated, and the set-pieces are all too cliched. This movie is fun for kids, because it is so naive and harmless, and the violence is never serious. Also, the characters are just as simple as Stan and Ollie, just as loveable if you're a kid.
As adult, I'd recommend to grab a "Cat Balou" tape instead, for a good classic western comedy.
If you think about it, this plot is basically "That's My Boy" (an earlier and better Martin & Lewis film) all over again. The locale is different, but the rest is basically the same formula. It's a pleasant formula, but also shows lazy writing as well and the film could have benefited from more originality. Plus, in a few scenes Jerry really does ham it up too much (even more than normal) and there are just too many "ooooo, oooohs" and "whoo-oooaa" moments in the otherwise pleasant but unremarkable film. And, as a result of so much screen time for Jerry, Martin is mostly relegated to the background--and you can see how films like this ultimately pushed them to their dissolving their pardner-ship.
By the way, this film also bears a strong similarity to the Bob Hope films "The Paleface" and "Son of Paleface". See them all and you'll probably agree.
Supposed to be funny, a comedy based on the incompetent Wade, who can't help trip over himself. Problem is, it isn't. The character of Wade is too over the top, too clumsy and frankly too stupid to be any fun.
The tandem of Martin and Lewis certainly performed as they was directed to, but the character Wade is just too ridiculous. And the tempo killing singing, mostly Dean's, even though beautiful, isn't helping. Wade and the singing kills any tempo, any humor and any exciting twists.
So, it isn't funny, it isn't much of a western. It isn't much of anything. Unfortunately.
The only fun part was to spot Lee van Cleef in a small role.