AMAD: Money From Home (1953) Me and my big mouth. I’d get rid of it except it’s a handy place to keep my teeth.
Published at: Sept. 26, 2008, 8:13 a.m. CST by quint
Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with today’s installment of A Movie A Day.
[For those now joining us, A Movie A Day is my attempt at filling in gaps in my film knowledge. My DVD collection is thousands strong, many of them films I haven’t seen yet, but picked up as I scoured used DVD stores. Each day I’ll pull a previously unseen film from my collection or from my DVR and discuss it here. Each movie will have some sort of connection to the one before it, be it cast or crew member.]
Okay, so short-short version of AMAD today. I was out of the house at 9am for an interview with CITY OF EMBER’s Gil Kenan and then at the Alamo all day for the finale of Fantastic Fest then directly off to the Longhorn Caverns for the closing night party where I got to shake Bill Murray’s hand and get all schoolgirl giddy. I got home just after 3am and hadn’t checked my email all day. So when I got through the 1200 or so backlog of email, I popped in today’s AMAD called MONEY FROM HOME.
I just finished it and I’m nearly 23 hours awake, so now I’m going to play it fast and loose, getting as many of my exhausted thoughts down as I can before I slip into my movie-coma for what I will assume will be the entirety of Friday.
We jump to the Martin and Lewis comedy from the director of yesterday’s HOUDINI George Marshall. This marks the first Jerry Lewis movie of the column, but far from the first Dean Martin movie. I’m familiar with their work together, but I think this may be the first Martin and Lewis comedy I’ve seen. Don’t hold me to that, but my hazy sleep-lusting brain won’t pull up a title of a Martin & Lewis movie I’ve seen prior to this one.
I do know that I always loved the idea of these two paired. I’m particularly a big Dino fan, but haven’t seen enough Lewis to commit. I see how he can irritate the fuck out of people, but there’s something so endearing in how over-the-top he goes, just how hard he tries to get his audience to laugh that I can’t help but give myself over to his incredibly unique slapstick comedy.
However, I will say that I don’t think I could take Jerry Lewis in more than small doses. I think even I would end up irritated if I had myself a Lewis marathon.
In this picture he plays an assistant Veternarian and loony cousin to smooth-talking shuckster “Honey Talk” Nelson (Dean Martin) who finds himself in a bad scenario as his IOUs spread all over town after a particularly long bad luck streak are all bought up by local gangster Jumbo Schneider (Sheldon Leonard). Jumbo uses his image and influence to force Dino into using his charms on the blonde and beautiful owner of a particular horse thought to be the front runner in an upcoming race.
Marjie Millar plays this woman and because of Honey Talk’s reputation for being a ladykiller, he’s the ideal man to worm his way into her life and get her to throw the race or drop out fully, allowing the horse the gangster wants to win a strong chance.
But none of that really matters. This movie isn’t about the plot, which is basically just the coatrack to hang a dozen different Martin & Lewis bits on. We have a gut-laughing brilliant scene as Lewis plays romantic, singing outside of Millar’s window… of course he’s just lip-synching as Dino sings for him, the melody playing on Millar’s radio. She turns the station and we see Lewis go from lip-synching romantic ballads to Opera to crazy Spanish music to a work-out routine.
We also have a sequence where Lewis is disguised as one of the veiled brides of The Poojah, a Muslim millionaire traveling by train who mistakes the costumed Lewis for one of his harem and essentially stalks him around a train car, trying to get his rape on.
And then there’s the crazy finale where Jerry Lewis somehow ends up being the Jockey on the horse that all the characters need to win the race, defeating the evil gangsters, etc, etc.
It’s a nutty movie, silly beyond belief. Hell, silly above anything else, but that silliness is kind of what drew me into it and kept me watching as the sun was beginning to come up.
Plus there’s a character, one of Jumbo’s goons, named “The Big Midget.” I’m sorry, that’s just brilliant.
Final Thoughts: I really wish I could go a little more indepth on this one, but this is the final movie overlapping Fantastic Fest, so I shouldn’t be off for the next few weeks. I actually quite enjoyed this movie, but it’s not for everyone. If you don’t like Jerry Lewis then this film certainly won’t change your mind. In fact, it’ll probably make you want to put your fist through the television, but if you do dig on Jerry Lewis, you’ll love it. Young Lewis being fucking insane (he sings to a monkey at one point. No shit) and Dino being the great straight man who at times can barely hide his laughter just oozes charm and charisma. Overall, it’s a slight movie… candy, if you will. This won’t stick with me, but damn if I didn’t enjoy the hell of it while I was watching.
The schedule for the next 7 days is:
Friday, September 26th: PAPA’S DELICATE CONDITION (1963)
Saturday, September 27th: DILLINGER (1945)
Sunday, September 28th: BATTLE OF THE BULGE (1965)
Monday, September 29th: DAISY KENYON (1947)
Tuesday, September 30th: LAURA (1944)
Yay, sleep! Here I come!
Tomorrow is another George Marshall movie… I guess I’ll have to make a point of talking about his work on PAPA’S DELICATE CONDITION, a rather obscure ‘60s comedy starring Jackie Gleason and Glynis Johns since this will be the third movie of his in a row we cover.
Tomorrow or Saturday I’ll have the page of all the horror titles that are going in the random Horror Movie A Day that’ll run from October 1st through October 31st. Some fun stuff in there, I hope.
Okay, the coma begins in about 4 minutes… I’ll see you folks on the other side, hopefully… and I’ll just have to accept that I may awaken with some scary Christopher Walken future-sensing powers…