21 user 6 critic

The Joker Is Wild (1957)

Approved | | Drama, Musical | October 1957 (USA)
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 »



(screenplay), (book)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Complete credited cast:
Joe E. Lewis
Letty Page
Austin Mack
Swifty Morgan
Barry Kelley ...
Captain Hugh McCarthy
Georgie Parker
Leonard Graves ...
Tim Coogan
Flora - Chorine
Hank Henry ...
Burlesque Comedian
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Johnson (unconfirmed)


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


His most stunning portrayal...scarred by the Chicago mobsters who tried to run his life! See more »


Drama | Musical


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

October 1957 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

All the Way  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


For some unknown reason, Jack "Machine Gun" McGurn is portrayed in this film as "Tim Coogan." See more »


When Joe is looking at the building directory, the close-up shows "MORRIS WILLIAM". Yet in the next shot as Joe turns to go to the elevator, it says "MORRIS Wm" See more »


Featured in Paramount Presents (1974) See more »


Cow Cow Boogie
Music by Benny Carter and Gene de Paul
Instrumental only
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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