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HTF REVIEW: The Bellboy (1 Viewer)

Scott Kimball

May 8, 2000

The Bellboy

Studio: Paramount

Year: 1960

Rated: NR

Length: 71 minutes

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1, anamorphically enhanced

Audio: English Dolby Digital Mono, French Mono, Commentary Track

Subtitled in English, French and Spanish, and Closed Captioned in English

Special Features: Commentary by Jerry Lewis and Steve Lawrence; Rehearsals, Bloopers, Deleted Scenes, Trailer

S.R.P. $14.99

Release Date: October 12, 2004

The Bellboy was a film that Jerry Lewis threw together on short notice to make a summer release in 1960, so as to put off his film Cinderfella for his preferred Christmas release.

The film has no plot - it is a series of “silly sequences” tied together with a common theme, the work of a non-speaking, bumbling Bellboy at the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami.

Jerry Lewis is Stanley, the Bellboy - but he also appears as himself. The film is a showcase for Lewis’ pantomime, and many of the scenes have become classic, often repeated routines over the years. There is the dog walking scene, the telephone gag, misplaced room keys, and unusual run-ins between Stanley and Milton Berle... and Jerry Lewis.

This is a pleasant and funny film, and it was Jerry Lewis’ directorial debut. It is elegant and simple, and has some of the funniest Jerry Lewis solo moments put to film.

The Transfer
The Bellboy appears in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio, and is anamorphically enhanced. The image has good detail in most scenes, but some scenes exhibit a moderate grain that obscures fine detail. The majority of scenes are relatively free of grain and highly detailed.

Contrast is very good, with deep blacks that manage to preserve detail in the shadows, and whites that never bloom or clip.

The print is relatively free of dust and scratches, displaying those problems only occasionally.

The audio is Dolby Digital Mono. Frequency response is good. Dialog is always clear and intelligible. This is about what you’d expect from this period, nothing more.

Special Features

Commentary by Jerry Lewis and Steve Lawrence

Much like the commentary on The Nutty Professor, Lewis and Lawrence seem to frequently forget to make comment as they watch the film. There are long periods of silence, amongst mostly mundane conversation. There is less technical detail in this commentary than on Professor. Lewis does talk a bit about his history, and relationship with Paramount. This commentary may be of interest to hardcore Jerry Lewis fans, but there really isn’t much here. On the other hand, dialog plays such a minor role in the film that it is easy to keep up with while watching the commentary.

Rehearsals (7:20)
Jerry and Walter Winchell Rehearse
Telephone Gag (a variant of the scene that appears in the film)
Jerry’s Nightclub Act (this one is nice)

Blooper - Milton Berle (0:32)

Deleted Scenes (2:43)

Bill Richmond as Stan Laurel
Too Many Bags
A Star Arrives

Jerry Receives a Letter from Stan Laurel (0:32)
Jerry Lewis and Bill Richmond (as Stan Laurel) respond to a letter from Stan Laurel on the set.

Promo Spots (6:20)
Walter Winchell Reports
It Happened in Room 728A
It Happened in Room 728B

The Bellboy Bus Tour (1:33)
Chris Lewis Comments on the promotional tour of The Bellboy.

Theatrical Trailer (3:33)

Final Thoughts

The Bellboy is one of my favorite Jerry Lewis films, and it is fairly well represented here on DVD. The commentary and twenty plus minutes of special features are icing on the cake.


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