The Nutty Professor (1963), Recommended, TSPDT #919

Professor Julius Kelp (Jerry Lewis)

Having only been exposed to Jerry Lewis through Scorsese’s The King Of Comedy and an episode of Mad About You, I didn’t expect to like this movie. However, while I don’t see the comic genius that others see; I did enjoy it. The movie is about a professor who makes up for his looks with his brains, but the professor has trouble seeing it that way. He gets horny for one of his students named Stella Purdy, pisses off a jock, and gets a beat down, ending up in the position pictured above.

Stella Purdy (Stella Stevens) As Seen From The Cabinet

So being a professor in chemistry, he concocts a potion that will turn him into a ladies man. Unfortunately for him, it turns him into an arrogant prick named Buddy Love, which might have been enough for the other girls in his class, but Stella doesn’t really warm up to him. Like heroin, the first transformation is the easiest, but each subsequent transformation take more and more of the potion.

Buddy Love (Jerry Lewis)

At times the film reminded me Jacques Tati even though their comedic styles are very different. I see a similarity in terms of Lewis’ tight control over the film, especially the set design and use of color.

Lewis treads a fine line between funny and unbearably annoying. He may cross that line in other films, but he didn’t cross it here. At least that’s my opinion, so I recommend it.

6 thoughts on “The Nutty Professor (1963), Recommended, TSPDT #919

  1. I love Stella Stevens and hate Jerry Lewis. I can never remember a time when he wasn't annoying…If I could somewhat ignore him, some of his movies, including this one were okay!

  2. I pretty much agree with your assessment! What's interesting about the film is that Lewis seems to be saying that good girls are indeed attracted to bad boys. Some critics have suggested that Lewis based Buddy on former film partner Dean Martin. That may be true, but there’s also a lot of the real-life Lewis in Buddy, too.

  3. I think Buddy is more the real Lewis if you caught him in a nasty mood. Dean has always seemed like a confident version of Cary Grant than somebody with a major ego.You could also make the case that it's what's inside that counts, but sometimes we need an activating energy to bring it out and then time to integrate that into ourselves.

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