MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Up 8,728 this week

Don't Raise the Bridge, Lower the River (1968)

 |  Comedy  |  12 July 1968 (USA)
4.7
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 4.7/10 from 392 users  
Reviews: 11 user | 5 critic

An American plans to bilk the British out of some considerable money with the help of an English con artist.

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (novel)
Watch Trailer
0Check in
0Share...

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Instant Video

ON DISC

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 558 titles
created 23 Oct 2011
 
all
a list of 2898 titles
created 27 Dec 2011
 
a list of 3844 titles
created 13 Apr 2012
 
a list of 256 titles
created 08 Jul 2012
 
a list of 117 titles
created 11 Oct 2013
 

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: Don't Raise the Bridge, Lower the River (1968)

Don't Raise the Bridge, Lower the River (1968) on IMDb 4.7/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Don't Raise the Bridge, Lower the River.

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Comedy | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

To improve his social life, a nerdish professor drinks a potion that temporarily turns him into the handsome, but obnoxious, Buddy Love.

Director: Jerry Lewis
Stars: Jerry Lewis, Stella Stevens, Del Moore
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.9/10 X  
Director: Roberto Santucci
Stars: Leandro Hassum, Camila Morgado, Kiko Mascarenhas
Red Line 7000 (1965)
Action | Drama | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

The story of three racing drivers and three women, who constantly have to worry for the lives of their boyfriends. Jim Loomis and Mike Marsh drive for Pat Cassarian. Jim expects his fiancée... See full summary »

Director: Howard Hawks
Stars: James Caan, Laura Devon, Gail Hire
Comedy | Musical | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

Alvin Corwin is low man on the totem pole, and goes from one mishap to another at an army training camp in World War II.

Director: Hal Walker
Stars: Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis, Mike Kellin
Funny Bones (1995)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

An unsuccessful comedian mentors a troubled thief with a unique comic skill.

Director: Peter Chelsom
Stars: Jerry Lewis, Oliver Platt, Lee Evans
Cookie (1989)
Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.1/10 X  

Paroled labor racketeer "Dapper" Dino is sought after by a "politically ambitious" prosecutor schemes to put him back in jail and a deceitful partner sizes him up for concrete shoes.

Director: Susan Seidelman
Stars: Peter Falk, Dianne Wiest, Emily Lloyd
Comedy | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3.9/10 X  

Brendan Byers III, one of the richest men in America, has been pronounced 4-F and can't serve his country in it's fight against Hitler. However, Byers is not the kind of man who takes "No" ... See full summary »

Director: Jerry Lewis
Stars: Jerry Lewis, Jan Murray, John Wood
The Big Mouth (1967)
Comedy | Action | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

While fishing on a San Diego beach, Gerald Clamson catches ... a sea diver! Even more weird, the "fish" resembles him. The man, who is not (yet) dead, reveals his secret to the peaceful ... See full summary »

Director: Jerry Lewis
Stars: Jerry Lewis, Harold J. Stone, Susan Bay
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Norman Phiffier works as a store clerk in a large department store. Clumsy and inept, he can't do anything right. Boy are they in trouble!

Director: Frank Tashlin
Stars: Jerry Lewis, Jill St. John, Ray Walston
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Lester is a clumsy and awkward TV repair man who is nevertheless gifted technically. In helping out a friend, he is drawn into a mystery involving a missing heir in a rich family. He begins... See full summary »

Director: Frank Tashlin
Stars: Jerry Lewis, Joan O'Brien, Zachary Scott
The Patsy (1964)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

When a star comedian dies, his comedy team, decides to train a nobody to fill the shoes of the Star in a big TV show (a Patsy). But the man they choose, bellboy Stanley Belt, cant do ... See full summary »

Director: Jerry Lewis
Stars: Jerry Lewis, Ina Balin, Everett Sloane
Short | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

This farcical short was Jerry Lewis' first film as a director, according to co-scripter Don McGuire. Lewis appeared in dual roles as an American Indian and as an Army recruiting officer. ... See full summary »

Director: Jerry Lewis
Stars: Tony Curtis, Janet Leigh, Jerry Lewis
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
George Lester
...
H. William Homer
Jacqueline Pearce ...
Pamela Lester
...
Fred Davies
...
Lucille Beatty
Nicholas Parsons ...
Dudley Heath
...
Dr. Spink
Colin Gordon ...
Mr. Hartford
...
Dr. Pinto
Sandra Caron ...
Pinto's Nurse
...
Spink's Nurse
Harold Goodwin ...
Six-Eyes Wiener
Nike Arrighi ...
Portuguese Waitress
John Barrard ...
Zebra Man
Pippa Benedict ...
Fern Averback
Edit

Storyline

George Lester is a man who is chasing rainbows, looking for the pot of gold at the end. When his wife, Pamela grows tired of being dragged all over the world, she leaves him. While she is away, George converts her family home into a discotheque, when she returns, she threatens to send George to jail for fraud, cause she didn't give her approval. George needing some fast bucks, decides to turn to an old cohort of his, William Homer but Willy's a little short. George then decides to steal the plans to a new drill, Pamela's suitor, Dudley Heath is working on. But when George gets the mumps, he can't make it to the meeting place and refuses to give Willy the plans unless he gives him the cash first. And the buyers won't give unless they see the merchandise first. Written by rcs0411@yahoo.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

12 July 1968 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der Spinner  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Pippa Benedict is dubbed. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Mystery Science Theater 3000: Godzilla vs. Megalon (1991) See more »

Soundtracks

Don't Raise the Bridge, Lower the River
Lyrics by Hal Shaper
Sung by Danny Street
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
The best thing since moldy sliced bread
21 May 2005 | by (New York City) – See all my reviews

I'm well known--well, or at least I'd like to be well known--for arguing that it's a mistake to identify genres with emotional reactions in viewers. For example, I think it's wrong to conflate "horror" and "scary movie", where "scary" is intended to describe the emotional reaction the film is supposed to cause in the viewer. "Horror" instead should describe the content of the film and (maybe) the way that content is handled. Likewise with comedy, although the identification of modern comedies and laughter is probably the most difficult case to disentangle. (If we use the traditional sense of "comedy", the disentangling is much easier.)

I bring all of this up not to bore you, or even to flabbergast you with how pretentious, pompous, or pseudo-intellectual I sound (or whatever other epithet you'd like to apply). I bring it up merely to say that the problems I had with Don't Raise the Bridge, Lower the River aren't solely based on it being a largely unfunny comedy--which it is. There are unfunny comedies that can be good films. Just like horror films need not be scary to be good, comedies need not be funny, or need not primarily aim for that. But Don't Raise the Bridge, Lower the River has a host of other problems that make it not succeed above a "D" level, or a 6.

It's difficult, at least this far removed in time, to say what exactly director Jerry Paris was shooting for here. The film is about George Lester (Jerry Lewis). The beginning has a quickly progressing sequence where we see George go from being a kid to meeting his wife and already having problems with her as he takes her on extreme business trips (often in hostile environments) across the globe. This all happens in maybe four or five minutes. The common theme throughout these all-too-quick scenes, and the gist of the film, is that George is a cross between a misguided dreamer/entrepreneur and a con-man/shyster.

Unfortunately, this opening sequence was maybe the best thing about Don't Raise the Bridge, Lower the River. There was a good story in following George as he grew up, met his wife and went on crazy business trips. Much of the opening is funny. This material should have been stretched into feature length.

But instead, Paris and writer Max Wilk, adapting his own novel for the screenplay, give us a very convoluted story set while George and his wife, Pamela (Jacqueline Pearce), are getting divorced. The film ends up being about a confused scheme to bilk some oil sheiks out of £50,000 and at the same time, get George's wife back into his arms. The premise isn't bad, but the script and the direction are a mess.

It doesn't help that Paris seems like he tried to reel Lewis in a bit--or maybe Lewis was trying to appear relatively more serious and sophisticated. Whatever the cause, the result is that Lewis is a bit boring and uncharismatic, and when he tries to do more manic comic bits, they tend to fall flat. Constructing the plot so that Lewis is stuck at home, mostly not interacting with others, wasn't a great idea either. It's like a literal representation of "phoning in" a performance. At the same time, it's clear that Paris was often going for a "madcap comedy", but he achieves neither a convincing "madcap" feeling nor many laughs.

Pearce's performance is decent, but she seems to be in the wrong film. Her tone doesn't match anyone else's. There are also two very good supporting actors, Terry-Thomas, as fellow shyster H. William Homer, and Patricia Routledge, as Lucille Beatty. Both do the best job they can given the script and direction problems, but neither quite manage to take off--either they just can't muster the momentum to take over as they need to, or they weren't allowed to.

It's not that the film is a complete disaster. There are occasional sections that work, such as the beginning, mentioned above. There are also occasional sections that are funny, such as the idea of turning the house into a restaurant/disco, and the scenes featuring Fed Davies (Bernard Cribbins) in his second job (although the fact that he had two jobs wasn't explained very well). More often, there are scenes that might make you smile. But overall, the film is quite a trainwreck, because of the bad story/script and direction, despite the fact that the ending is satisfying, and the actors keep doing their best to surmount the difficulties.

Also on the positive side, the cinematography is crisp ad colorful if not particularly innovative, and the sets/locations are occasionally attractive. But this is not nearly enough to recommend the film.

I don't think I've seen any of Paris' other films yet, although I've seen a lot of his television work, which was often quite funny--he's directed episodes of "The Dick Van Dyke Show" (1961), "Mary Tyler Moore" (1970), and "The Odd Couple" (1970), for instance--all excellent shows. Maybe his talent was more suited for filling in 22 minutes of a comedy template than the more free-form structure of a feature film.


7 of 15 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
woody allen MJBell25
Jerry Paris crouchend

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?