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The Jerk (1979) Poster

(1979)

Trivia

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Stanley Kubrick was a big admirer of this film. Stanley would often recite lines from the film to cast and crew on his films and he once invited Steve Martin over so they could play chess.
Bill Murray filmed a cameo that was deleted. On the 15 December 1979 broadcast of Saturday Night Live (1975), Murray jokingly reviewed The Jerk (1979), saying: "I was in the movie but cut out of it. That doesn't influence my opinion. The movie is a dog. There's something missing. I don't know who it is, I can't say."
According to his book "Born Standing Up", Steve Martin's favorite line in the movie is ad libbed. When his character is hitchhiking, a man in a truck stops and asks, "St. Louis?" - to which Martin replies, "No, Navin Johnson."
First lead starring role of actor-comedian Steve Martin.
Around the time that this movie was made and released, lead actors Steve Martin and Bernadette Peters were in a personal relationship.
Prior to the film's opening, Steve Martin was delayed in Terre Haute, Indiana. He later recalled this story on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (1962), calling Terre Haute "No Place." The residents of the city objected to this, and ultimately, Martin was invited back to Terre Haute and was given the key to the city and a tour of the local fertilizer plant. Martin repaid the city by opening The Jerk (1979) in Terre Haute. However, in one of the trailers for Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid (1982), Martin asks the audience if they'd rather see "Cow Patties over Terre Haute." Also in that film, when Col Kluck throws one switch, it destroys one town in America: Terre Haute, IN.
When Marie is applying the face mask treatment to the older gentleman, she mentions that it will make the customer look years younger. At that moment his wife exclaims, "ahlevai," which means "I wish" in Hebrew.
Steve Martin's favorite scene involves M. Emmet Walsh, shooting the cans at the gas station.
The song that Navin and Marie sing as they walk along the beach, "Tonight You Belong to Me", was a hit in the '50s for sister duet Patience and Prudence.
Steve Martin plays dual roles in this movie. Martin plays both Navin R. Johnson and a cat juggler where Martin is billed for the latter as Pig Eye Jackson.
The production notes on the DVD state that a Klieglighted world premiere of the film's trailer was held in the Spring of 1979. The production of it came in under budget and on schedule saving the studio $110 and about 200 feet of film. Newspaper ads declared that the show would run from 8.00 pm to 8.02 pm and that no one would be admitted to the screening after the first six seconds.
The film is ranked at the No. #48 spot on movie magazine Total Film's 2000 year readers poll of the greatest comedy films of all time.
According to Wikipedia, the movie's origins are that "the basic premise comes from a stand-up routine [of Steve Martin's] (included on his debut comedy album, 'Let's Get Small'), in which Martin claimed to have been 'born a poor black child', and how, after hearing his first Mantovani record, he 'decided to become white'."
Hartunian's gas station is actually located on the corner of Halstead and Rosemead Blvd in Pasadena, Ca. The gas station has since been torn down and a Carl's Jr. Restaurant has been constructed. In addition, the hill that the shooter is climbing to fire upon the gas station is "Green Hill", which has been developed into a professional office center.
The film's title in Germany was "Reichtum is keine Schande", which translates as "Wealth is no shame".
The movie is ranked at the No. #20 spot on Bravo's "100 Funniest Movies" List.
Readers of movie magazine Premiere voted Steve Martin's performance as Navin Johnson to the No. #99 spot for their "The 100 Greatest Performances of All Time" poll.
The gigantic house shown in the film is the infamous Sheik Al-Fassi mansion in Beverly Hills, the first time the residence appeared in a major motion picture. The property was selected over about half a dozen contenders which included the former Harold Lloyd and Marion Davies estates. The tacky rooms shown in the film were actually shot in the mansion thanks to its cavernous size rooms. One reason this abode was chosen was because its very large and spacious rooms meant any filming done in one part of the dwelling allowed great vista shots of adjoining areas at the same time. The mansion also had its own basement disco where the dance scene was filmed. The thirty-eight room mansion no longer exists; it was torched by an arsonist in 1980, the DVD states that the building was demolished with the site becoming a vacant lot.
The name of the dog was "Shithead". In the TV version, the canine is renamed "Stupid".
The film was the 9th highest-grossing picture of the 1979 year in the USA. The picture was massive success at the world-wide box-office grossing over US $100 million from an original production budget of only about US $4 million.
Premiere voted this movie as one of "The 50 Greatest Comedies Of All Time" in 2006.
First of four films that actor Steve Martin made with director Carl Reiner. The other movies are All of Me (1984), The Man with Two Brains (1983), and Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid (1982).
First of two films that actors Steve Martin and Bernadette Peters made together. The second and final film would be Pennies from Heaven (1981) around two years later.
Many movie posters featured the following blurb: "He was a poor black sharecropper's son who never dreamed he was adopted. Steve Martin in The Jerk (1979). A rags to riches to rags story".
The IGN entertainment website ranked the movie as the 10th Top Comedy Film of All Time.
The movie was originally titled "Easy Money". A Rodney Dangerfield comedy called Easy Money (1983) would get made and released about four years later in 1983.
Steve Martin wrote the part of Marie with Bernadette Peters in mind.
The production shoot was planned to run for fifty-five days but principal photography came in ten days ahead of schedule and as such the film got shot in just forty-five days.
Halliwells states that the movie had "aspirations to be a modern Candide".
Debut produced feature film screenplay of Steve Martin who was one of the movie's screen-writers.
First of two "Jerk" movies. The second film, The Jerk, Too (1984), was made and released about five years later, and was made for television, considered perhaps to be a pilot for a TV series. Steve Martin did not reprise his role as Navin Johnson in the picture, it being instead being played by Mark Blankfield, though Martin was credited for characters and did act as an executive producer on it. The title of The Jerk, Too (1984), like Splash, Too (1988), played on sequel conventions naming by playing on the word "Two" (meaning Part II) with the word "Too".
The picture is ranked at the No. #89 spot on the AFI's "100 Years... 100 Laughs" list.
Fifteen studio sound stage sets were constructed for the movie which also featured eighty exterior filming locations.
Star Billing: Steve Martin (1st), Bernadette Peters (2nd), Catlin Adams (3rd) and Jackie Mason (4th).

Cameo 

Rob Reiner:  The truck-driver who takes Navin to the end of the fence.

See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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