Movie Reviews

DVD Review: “Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis Collection, Volume Two”

(Paramount. 3 Discs. Not Rated. Color. 8 hours, 9 minutes.) Living It Up (1954, directed by Norman Taurog), You’re Never Too Young (1955, dir. Taurog), Artists and Models (1955, dir. Frank Tashlin), Pardners (1956, dir. Taurog), Hollywood or Bust (1956, dir. Tashlin).

Martin and Lewis reigned at Paramount from 1949 to 1956, and made 17 films together (including their cameo in Hope & Crosby’s Road to Bali). This set contains their last 5 joint efforts before their acrimonious split. By this time, all the movie studios were under siege from television, and trumpeting their new widescreen, color and stereo processes to lure folks back into theaters. The films here benefited from this as Martin and Lewis enjoyed top-drawer production values, Edith Head’s costumes, rich Technicolor, and fabulous VistaVision! I could tell you the plots of these movies but they all stick to the same formula: Jerry clowns, Dean sings, Jerry gets in trouble, Dean gets exasperated, female lead feels sorry for Jerry but eventually falls for Dean, happy ending. OK, there’s one exception: in Artists and Models Jerry does get a girl (Shirley MacLaine; also, look for Swedish force-of-nature Anita Ekberg sashaying her way through a few of these). So, either you’re on board with the boys, or you’re not; if you are, enjoy this handsome set. No extras, not even a paltry trailer.