“I love private investigators! I want you to investigate me!”
While apprenticing with a private eye (Jesse White), a clutzy television repairman (Jerry Lewis) accidentally discovers he’s the long-lost nephew of a millionairess (Mae Questel) whose slimy fiancee/lawyer (Zachary Scott) is colluding with her butler (Jack Weston) to acquire her money at any cost.
This Frank Tashlin-directed private-eye spoof is prime Jerry Lewis material, affording his nebbishy alter-ego plenty of opportunities to engage in broadly humorous slapstick antics. Tashlin fills the screen with numerous inventive sight gags (see stills below), and the supporting cast members all portray their characters with appropriately cartoonish flair: Zachary Scott conveys a steady level of barely concealed contempt for his bride-to-be, the pudgy but relentlessly good-natured Mae Questel (voice of Betty Boop and Olive Oyl), while Jack Weston is gleefully homicidal as Scott’s accomplice, and Jesse White demonstrates unexpected sex-appeal as the aptly named “Pete Flint”. Less successful is buxomy Joan O’Brien as Questel’s personal nurse, whose character seems to waver between genuine concern for Lewis’s safety and an undeniably gold-digging itch (does she really love him?). Ultimately, this one is only must-see viewing for diehard Lewis fans, but film fanatics likely won’t feel their time has been wasted.
Note: Among the fifteen Jerry Lewis titles included in GFTFF (too many!), I recommend that ffs check out the following: At War With the Army (1950), Artists and Models (1955), The Bellboy (1960), The Nutty Professor (1963), and King of Comedy (1982); The Errand Boy (1961) is also worth a look simply for its brilliant “orchestra pantomime” scene.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Many fun, cartoonish sight gags
No, though of course Jerry Lewis fans will want to check it out.