I went to the movies as soon as this one was released
My friends and I laughed so hard. Even at age 10 I thought the movie was
totally funny and engaging. Jerry Lewis was my favorite comic back then
I also liked the child actress Donna Butterworth. She and Jerry had
chemistry. I loved the characters and I remember Sabastian Cabot trying to
squeeze into or out of a car; too funny.
Whatever happened to Donna Butterworth? She acted in an Elvis movie and
that was it for her. If anyone knows, let me know..
Beginning of Lewis' fatal decline as director and funnyman.
One has nearly always gotten the impression from watching the antics of
Lewis that the humor is being undermined by a fatal egotism which knows no
reasonable or acceptable boundaries. 1965's The Family Jewels marks the
beginning of Lewis' long decline--his wish to play seven roles, far from
constituting a bravura tour de force, is simply a sign of his nauseating
hubris and megalomania. What better way to dominate the proceedings and
garner all the attention for oneself than to occupy seven of the eight
principal roles? Also, Lewis at this stage is teetering indecisively
being a director of kiddie flicks and turning out films designed to appeal
(or at least be tolerated by) a mature audience. Here he fails dismally.
kiddie humor is mostly forced; the adult content betrays Lewis'
all-consuming flaws of cloying sentimentality, self-righteousness, and
hackneyed plot devices. You KNOW the little girl will pick the chauffeur
be her "father," you KNOW the foppish Brit will turn out to be a pool
the thug will have a heart of gold, etc. I get the impression that it is
about this point Mr. Lewis should have sought long-term psychotherapy so
that he could have combatted the inner demons built up during the course
his (admittedly harrowing) childhood. Even at the self-expressed risk of
losing his sense of humor, this move would have been cost-effective--his
film previous to this, The Disorderly Orderly, was, in many respects, his
last hurrah. Sadly, The Family Jewels (note the smirkingly referential
title; note the poster in which a cloyingly "cute" moppet with a soft
beret is surrounded by seven phallic Jerry Lewises) deserves its
as a flop. But at least it's a very interesting case study..