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The Nutty Professor (1963)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Romance, Sci-Fi | 25 July 1963 (Japan)
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
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1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jerry Lewis ... Prof. Julius Kelp / Buddy Love
Stella Stevens ... Stella Purdy
Del Moore ... Dr. Mortimer S. Warfield
Kathleen Freeman ... Millie Lemmon
Med Flory ... Warzewski
Norman Alden ... Football Player / Student
Howard Morris ... Elmer Kelp
Elvia Allman ... Edwina Kelp
Milton Frome ... Dr. M. Sheppard Leevee
Buddy Lester ... Bartender
Marvin Kaplan ... English Student
David Landfield David Landfield ... College Student
Skip Ward ... Football Player
Julie Parrish ... College Student
Henry Gibson ... Gibson - College Student
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Storyline

Nerd. Milquetoast. Klutz. These are just three of the many undesirable words that can be used to describe Professor Julius Kelp. But all that changes when the chemistry expert invents a potion that transforms him into a suave, sexy chick magnet, whom Julius aptly names Buddy Love. Unfortunately, there's one side effect: Buddy can't control when he'll change back into Julius, an event that always happens at inopportune times. How will Julius/Buddy resolve his Jekyll-and-Hyde dilemma? Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Please do not reveal the middle of this picture! Jerry's a mousey chemistry prof who invents the greatest drink since Dracula discovered bloody marys. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Romance | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

25 July 1963 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

El profesor chiflado See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$7,630,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The opening theme song is a jazzed up version of a 1944 song called "Stella by Starlight", which may have been an homage to his costar Stella Stevens, playing a character named Stella. See more »

Goofs

In some videotape versions of the film the aspect-ratio of the image allows viewers to see part of Stella Stevens already sitting on the floor behind the lab door that is supposed to have knocked her down in the hall. On some DVD's, using full-frame settings, the barest top of her head can still be spotted as the door opens. See more »

Quotes

Dr. Hamius R. Warfield: [Warfield finishes with papers handed to him by secretary Lemmon] Where's your pad?
Millie Lemmon: Oh it's not quite a mile from campus. It's a small flat, but you should see what I did with the drapes! Oh! You meant my steno. pad. I'll be right back with it.
Dr. Hamius R. Warfield: Never mind, what is it?
Millie Lemmon: Mr. Buddy Love is here to see you, and is he ever a gasser! Should I have him come in?
Dr. Hamius R. Warfield: If you can do so without fainting.
See more »

Crazy Credits

False ending which first displays, "That's all, folks!!" then inserts a NOT in between "that's" and "all," then a 5-minute story epilogue goes to the actual ending, which is credited as "The beginning." The actor credits are done as curtain calls, with each performer bowing behind their name. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Day by Day: That Saturday Feeling (1988) See more »

Soundtracks

I'm in the Mood for Love
(uncredited)
Music by Jimmy McHugh
Lyrics by Dorothy Fields
Sung by Jerry Lewis as Buddy Love at the Purple Pit student nightclub.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
"The Satanic Glow of Buddy Love's Lounge Suits"
13 August 2001 | by hernebaySee all my reviews

One of the most depressing symptoms of the phenomenon of "dumbing down" is the drastically diminished time-frame of people's imagination and empathy, which function well enough microscopically and telescopically (at a range of, say, two or three hundred years, or the day before yesterday), but which cannot make the small leap back thirty or forty years. It is surely on such grounds that Jerry Lewis's masterpiece, "The Nutty Professor", might be dismissed as "dated" or be found "unfunny". Ever since I saw this movie as a child back in the late 60s it has haunted my imagination, and taken on a mythic existence that floats free of its actual content and context. On recently viewing it again on a borrowed videocassette I was startled by the internal organisation of the movie, by its pacing, and by the fact that Kelp's odious alter-ego, Buddy Love, who dominates the movie conceptually, is actually on screen for so little of its longish running-time. Since childhood I had cherished Buddy Love for his wit, glamour and self-assurance, which contrast so strongly (and therapeutically) with the painful gaucheness of Julius Kelp. Only now, as a mature adult, do I fully appreciate just how fundamentally unlikeable he is.

It is interesting to note that his allure works better at a distance: idolised by the hipster habitues of the Purple Pit, he is viewed with deep suspicion by Stella Purdy, even as he fascinates and intrigues her. "The Nutty Professor" is as firmly located in its milieu (the United States of the early 60s) as "War And Peace" is in its (Tsarist Russia at the time of the Napoleonic Wars); therefore, talk of "datedness" is beside the point. As an exact picture of life in 2001 the film is hopeless, but as a myth or parable, with Kelp, Buddy Love, Stella, et al., as archetypes, its power is undiminished. Jerry Lewis has never been happy playing it straight, and Buddy Love is as extreme and grotesque in his way as the hapless Kelp. He is also by no means entirely free of Kelp's flaws; his clumsiness during the slow dance with Stella shows how aspects of Kelp's personality continue to permeate his, and point to the incompleteness and volatility of the metamorphosis. Even his name, opportunistically extemporised for Stella's benefit, contains a deep irony, since, in spite of his superficial popularity and supreme sexual confidence, he is essentially friendless and incapable of deep feeling. If kindly Kelp is crippled by involuted intelligence, the sybaritic, self-seeking Buddy Love is stunted by affectlessness. (I am puzzled by the IMDb reviewer who found him insufficiently monstrous.)

Buddy Love's glittering lounge suits emit a satanic glow, and Jennifer, the caged mynah-bird, is a kind of familiar to Kelp, whose Faustian alchemy effects his painfully achieved and all-too-brief transformations into this eerie nightclub singer who generally only appears after nightfall (his one diurnal appearance being a spectacularly successful bid to persuade the otherwise pompous college Principal to sanction his headlining performance at the Senior Prom). In view of their acrimonious split it is tempting to view the Buddy Love persona as an acerbic commentary on Lewis's erstwhile partner Dean Martin, but the character also contains generous helpings of Frank Sinatra, and is perhaps best seen as a broad swipe at the Rat Pack. The wider message of the film is that kindness and intelligence (which Kelp already possesses) are far more important than the kind of shallow and flashy qualities that invest Buddy Love with his powerful but limited appeal (the rapid wearing-off of Kelp's formula, whose ingestion is attended by such agonising side-effects, shows that such a persona is literally unsustainable for any length of time).

Kelp's final speech at the Prom, when his appearance as Buddy Love has been cut catastrophically short, is indeed "heart-wrenching", but as both a summing-up of the main themes of the movie and a token of Kelp's increased self-knowledge, it is indispensable. This brilliant and disturbing film uses comedy as a vehicle to explore serious questions about the nature of identity. The Kelp who wins Stella's love is a better-integrated personality than either his earlier self or the grotesque alter-ego of Buddy Love, but a note of mild cynicism (defusing any hint of sentimentality in Kelp's Prom speech) is sounded when Stella pockets two phials of the formula put on sale by Kelp's formerly timid father (to whom he had entrusted it). (He had also entrusted it, of course, to his domineering mother, but it is perhaps significant to observe that the formula presumably only works with men.)


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