Wednesday, April 10, 2013

284. Artists and Models (1955)

Running Time: 109 minutes
Directed By: Frank Tashlin
Written By: Don McGuire, Frank Tashlin, from the story Rock-A-Bye Baby by Michael Davidson and Norman Lessine
Main Cast: Jerry Lewis, Dean Martin, Dorothy Malone, Shirley MacLaine, Eddie Mayehoff
Click here to view the trailer

NOTE: I hope everybody is digging my new page topper, as much as I am. Since I'm adamant about keeping the orange/brown design, because it really houses everything as neatly as I like it and because it's what I'm used to, I figured there was no reason that we still couldn't spice things up with a picture. Of course I'm talking about the screen still from "Contempt" of Brigitte Bardot. I'm going to try and remember to change the picture out every few weeks or so, or whenever I remember to. Now then...


Wouldn't you know it! One of the last two movies to grace my "unfound" list pops up On Demand, via my cable provider. I would have NEVER thought to check there, if it wasn't for my wife wanting to skim through the "free movies" section and there it was - "Artists and Models". The last place I would've looked, yet the most accessible.

If you're unaware, in the 50s Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis were a crazy popular comedy/musical/entertainment team. They played a lot of nightclubs (from what I understand, they played the Copacabana frequently) and even got movie deals. They starred in over ten films together and of course, THE BOOK just HAD to include at least one of them. "Artists and Models" has Martin as Rick Todd, a fledgling artist, who can't hold down a job, mainly because of his clumsy, accident waiting to happen friend Eugene Fullstack (Lewis) who costs him job after job...inadvertently, of course. When Rick and Eugene meet their neighbors upstairs - two females; one an artist, one a model/secretary - Rick's mental cylinders start to turn. When Rick and Eugene follow Abigail (Malone) and Bessie (MacLaine) to the offices of a comic book publisher, one thing leads to another and Rick gets himself an long as he can come up with a new comic book idea. He's in luck, however, because it just so happens that Eugene is in LOVE with comic books and frequently dreams about them, even providing running commentaries. The best part is that Eugene's dreams are original ideas. Rick sits up each night, listening to Eugene dream, taking notes and handing in the ideas, to praise from his new publisher. Meanwhile, Rick begins to fall in love with Abigail, while Bessie has already fallen for Eugene, but he's too oblivious to realize her signals.

Listen, there's a lot  more than that, but the plot of this movie is often full of holes and often too nonsensical to even put into words. However, I actually really did like it. As far as I see it, there are two reasons to see "Artists and Models". They are Dean Martin's voice and Jerry Lewis' antics. I realize that a lot of people are turned off by the comedy of Jerry Lewis and believe me, I can totally understand those people. There are times when he borders on the annoying, but all in all, I find the guy to be hilarious, a breath of fresh air in this Judd Apatow era of comedians, with their lewd, crude and lascivious remarks and gestures. Here, you have a guy who was willing to do almost anything to get a laugh, whether it be make silly noises with his mouth, fall over furniture or scream, inaudibly. It didn't matter, you could just tell he thrived off of his comedy. Then you have Dean-O, whose voice could calm a rabid dog. I just love hearing Dean sing. He has such a soothing tone and much like Lewis and his comedy, you can tell Dean is having a ball out there, singing and dancing, like during "The Lucky Song", a scene reminiscent of "Singin' in the Rain", where Dean dances and sings up and down the street, accompanied by children.

So that's really it. Without these two, this movie would've been a train wreck and I can even honestly tell you now that most people might consider it one anyway. It really had no place being amongst 1001 other "must see" movies and as I mentioned above, I'm sure it was only included, so that we could see at least one Martin & Lewis film. The plot is so full of holes it resembles a piece of half eaten Swiss cheese and eventually it gets too goofy. You'll know it's getting too goofy at about the time Eva Gabor shows up (looking magnificent, if I might add). I think "Artists and Models" could've also stood to have about twenty or so minutes shaved off, because, while I was fully entertained throughout the picture, there WERE some touch & go moments at the end, where I just wanted it to end.

RATING: 7.5/10  This one COULD shock the world and land a "Ten Worth Mentioning" spot easily and become my #1 guilty pleasure. We shall see...


April 10, 2013  8:41pm


  1. A minor victory in at last tracking this down.. involving having to buy an Italian import.
    I guess i knew I wouldn't like it before I started, so accusations that I wasn't fair are valid.
    I just don't get Jerry Lewis type slapstick. Every thing was so OBVIOUS all the time. Oh look, a row of paint pots high up on a platform. Jerry Lewis will never step in those, knock them off will he?
    The only thing I can say in favour of this is that it wasn't as offensive as Nutty professor.

    Hey, from somewhere, a spell check device has started happening on this. great - I hope that will help people read my awful spelling and even worse typing.
    Except it's been taken over by Americans! Harbour Colour. Favour. Flavour. Yep, all wrong according to this...

    1. See, for me, Lewis was a real find when watching through THE BOOK. I had never seen anything of his and as far as I knew, his greatest claim to fame was the telethon that he ran every year, here in the States, on Labor Day.

      He was a real breath of fresh air in a world that's been overtaken by "comedy geniuses" like Judd Apatow, who rely to heavily on obscenities and shock comedy.


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