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Jerry Lewis is Kreton, a childish alien who, against his teacher's will leaves his planet to visit the Earth, and lands in the backyard of a famous television journalist who doesn't believe in U.F.O's and aliens. Wanting to study humans but not able to fully understand them, Kreton makes a mess out of it, generating a lot of comic situations. Written by
Gore Vidal, who wrote the original play, was upset with the choice of Jerry Lewis as the lead in the movie version. On Broadway, Vidal's play ran for 388 performances between Feb 7, 1957 and Jan 11, 1958, and won Cyril Ritchard, originator of the Kreton character, a 1957 Tony Award nomination for Best Actor in Play. But Jerry Lewis was a star, twelve times named to the Top Ten list of Box Office Stars, six times with partner Dean Martin (with whom he was the top star of 1952), and six times solo (ranking as high as #3 in 1958). He got the part. See more »
Hollywood ruined re muddling of a brilliant social satire
Although somewhat funny because of the typical Jerry Lewis antics, it bears very little resemblance to the original TV and Broadway plays which was supposedly the basis for the film. I was lucky enough to see the original TV broadcast and read the play. Personally, I found the TV version to be the best. The premise is that an alien (of superior intelligence) comes to earth and makes rather scathing comments and conclusions from his observations about American (and world) cultures and societies. Most likely rather accurate reflections of the author's (Gore Vidal) thoughts on the subjects and issues. It was a very socially relevant portrayal of the time period. The film version vaguely touched on some and made the alien a very naive buffoon which turned a great satire into a comic farce for laughs only and of little intellectual value.
I keep hoping that someday a video version of the TV broadcast will be released. I believe that the UCLA archives does have a kinescope copy on file.
JGB in Massachusetts
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