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The Joker Is Wild (1957)

Approved  |   |  Drama, Musical  |  October 1957 (USA)
7.1
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 792 users  
Reviews: 20 user | 4 critic

Frank Sinatra plays Joe E. Lewis, a famous comedian of the 1930s-50s. When the movie opens, Lewis is a young, talented singer who performs in speakeasies. When he bolts one job for another,... See full summary »

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Won 1 Oscar. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Joe E. Lewis
...
...
Letty Page
...
Austin Mack
...
...
Swifty Morgan
Barry Kelley ...
Captain Hugh McCarthy
...
Georgie Parker
Leonard Graves ...
Tim Coogan
Valerie Allen ...
Flora - Chorine
Hank Henry ...
Burlesque Comedian
...
Sophie Tucker
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
...
Johnson (unconfirmed)
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Storyline

Frank Sinatra plays Joe E. Lewis, a famous comedian of the 1930s-50s. When the movie opens, Lewis is a young, talented singer who performs in speakeasies. When he bolts one job for another, the mob boss who owns the first speakeasy has his thugs try to kill Lewis. Lewis survives, but his vocal cords are cut and he cannot sing. Several years later, his buddy tracks him down and tries to help him with little success. That attempt, though, leads to Lewis meeting Letty Page (Jeanne Crain). They fall in love and she inspires him to follow up on an offer to become a comedian (a result of his buddy's failed attempt to rejuvenate his singing career). Lewis has problems, though. The assault that nearly cost him his life also helped turn him into an alcoholic and an inveterate gambler. These two character defects become the basis for his act and help to make him a smash success. Unfortunately, they also work to wreak havoc in his personal life. Written by David Oboyski

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Musical

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

October 1957 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

All the Way  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In real life, Danny Cohen owned the club in which Joe E. Lewis first worked. When Lewis defected for more money, Cohen gave mobster Jack "Machine Gun" McGurn (real name: Vincenzo Antonio Gebhardi), a lieutenant in Al Capone's mob, a 25% share in the club in return for his persuading Lewis to stay. McGurn's method of persuasion was the beating which Lewis received. See more »

Goofs

Towards the end, when Joe is receiving a pep talk from his "reflection" in the store glass window, his real reflection briefly appears beside it, thus revealing two reflections; one speaking, the other silent. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Empire of the Censors (1995) See more »

Soundtracks

June in January
(uncredited)
Music by Ralph Rainger
Lyrics by Leo Robin
Sung by Bing Crosby on a record
See more »

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User Reviews

 
The Joker is Wild - Sinatras best
21 October 2005 | by (New Rochelle, NY) – See all my reviews

Amazing biography of an amazing man. Joe E. Lewis was the quintessential star of the roaring 20's, with apologies to Al Jolson. A great singer who crossed the wrong people and paid for it with a slashed throat. Sinatra's performance is beyond belief. Already noted as a great actor he outdoes himself. It's been heard that FS "walked" through his roles but not here. Shows how much respect he had for Lewis. A great supporting cast ( Eddie Albert, Jeanne Crain, Mitzi Gaynor and Jackie Coogan) help the film but without the "Chairman of the Board" it would have been just another biography. Sinatra's rendition of "All the Way" is not to be missed. Do yourself a favor and see this movie.


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