Pardners (1956)

“We’ll be the greatest pardners, buddies, and pals!”

Synopsis:
A wealthy wanna-be cowboy (Jerry Lewis) joins his new “pardner” (Dean Martin) in a stand-off against masked raiders who are terrorizing a Western town.

Genres:

Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary admits to a childhood fondness for this fun if mediocre Dean Martin/Jerry Lewis comedy (their next-to-last together). Lewis is as nutty, juvenile, and physically dexterous as ever — though as Peary points out, he’s also genuinely quirky, adding a “touch of rebelliousness– and reckless abandon” to his character. Although a little goes a long way with Jerry Lewis, there’s no denying that he was a talented comedian in his own fashion; meanwhile, Dean Martin croons as nicely as ever.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Lewis secretly miming a story Martin is telling in the next room
    Miming
  • Lewis incompetently trying to roll a cigarette using Martin’s tobacco
    Rolling Cigarette

Must See?
No — though every film fanatic should see at least one Martin-and-Lewis comedy, and this may be as good a choice as any.

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One Response to “Pardners (1956)”

  1. Not a must.

    I saw all of the Martin & Lewis films when I was a kid. I don’t think I ever got them as a team. Weren’t their films together just spin-offs of the Hope & Crosby franchise? – this was Paramount Pictures, after all. (M&L also kind of remind me of the ‘I Love Lucy’ show – which started up around the same time; with Martin being the suave one who sings, while Lewis takes care of the zany stuff.) Worse, though the H&C pics themselves (which ffs should see at least one of; they’re not all that different) don’t generally hold up well today, the M&L flicks lag behind considerably.

    ‘Pardners’, for example, is simply blatantly safe, commercial fare. Now, is that necessarily bad? No. Except that it’s not at all funny. Much of it is forced. The songs are tepid. Agnes Moorehead steals the picture – and isn’t given enough screen time to steal more. Peary may have “a childhood fondness” for it – he’s entitled – but I couldn’t say ffs should see it. It may have pleased M&L fans in its day, but we’re not talking shelf life here.

    FFs should, on the other hand, see a number of the films Martin and Lewis made separately (to be commented on elsewhere). Martin has the classier filmography, overall, but Lewis did manage some real surprises later in his career (‘The King of Comedy’, ‘Arizona Dream’).

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