Jerry Lewis in "The Ladies Man"

There is no better argument for Jerry Lewis’s visual and technical genius than The Ladies’ Man. After the wild success of Jerry’s directorial debut The Bellboy (part of a long string of his box office hits,) he was given unprecedented budgetary freedom — and boy, did he put it to good use. As a filmmaker, Jerry loved his toys, and for this big-budget brain-boiler he built the biggest, coolest playpen of them all: a four-story, sixty-room, open-faced dollhouse. This awe-inspiring set was so large that it comprised the entirety of two soundstages, each room armed with its own lighting kit, closed-circuit sound system, a working elevator, the world’s largest crane, and a battery of video monitors secreted around the set so Jerry could check his own performance at all times. Populating this dollhouse with (what else?) “dolls”, Jerry put a coterie of gorgeous dames to use in a series of hilarious, incredibly choreographed setpieces that could only be compared to the best of Buster Keaton or Jacques Tati, but with the signature cartoonish Jerry Lewis mania. Color, girls, dance, hilarity — this is comedy as spectacle, and it miraculously works as both!
Dir. Jerry Lewis, 1961, 35mm, 95 min. (Print courtesy of the UCLA Film & Television Archive)

Watch the trailer for “The Ladies Man”!
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