Medical student Jerome Littlefield works as an orderly at a private clinic where he creates havoc due to his ineptitude.Medical student Jerome Littlefield works as an orderly at a private clinic where he creates havoc due to his ineptitude.Medical student Jerome Littlefield works as an orderly at a private clinic where he creates havoc due to his ineptitude.
The Disorderly Orderly casts Jerry as a would be doctor who but for one thing might have his MD degree, he's a natural born klutz. He's working at a private hospital where every task he's given turns into a disaster. He'd be fired but for the fact that the hospital head Glenda Farrell was once involved with Jerry's father and she looks on him as a child with special needs. The head nurse played by Lewis film regular Kathleen Freeman would like to strangle him as does Everett Sloane the chairman of the hospital board after a couple of encounters with him.
It's a psychological block that Jerry has, he empathizes too much with the patients and he tries too hard. The scene that brings that out is when he has to listen to Alice Pearce as one of the patients go through her laundry list of ailments. Lewis's reactions are positively hysterical.
Truth be told not everything is his fault. There's a surreal scene where Jerry is trying to fix patient Barbara Nichols's television of the snow showing. He opens it up and an arctic blast comes through the television. Truly not his fault, but also very funny.
As it turns out the cause of his complex arrives at the hospital in the person of Susan Oliver who was a prom queen back in his high school who Jerry didn't have the nerve to approach. Contact with her cures him though not the way you think or what you think.
Lewis's performance hits on all levels from the screamingly funny to a sad kind of pathos especially involving Oliver. His relationship with her as an innocent reminds me a lot of Lou Costello in several of his films.
The last ten minutes involving a chase scene with two ambulances reminds me of the chase in The Bank Dick later revived in In Society. There's also a nice cameo from Jack E. Leonard as another patient who gets the better of Jerry.
The Disorderly Orderly is an absolute must for Jerry Lewis fans of yesterday and today, it belongs at the top of his comedy classics.
- Oct 24, 2011