|Directed by||Jerry Lewis|
|Produced by||Jerry Lewis|
|Written by||Jerry Lewis|
|Narrated by||Walter Winchell|
|Music by||Walter Scharf|
|Cinematography||Haskell B. Boggs|
|Edited by||Stanley Johnson|
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
|Box office||$10 million|
836,783 admissions (France)
A studio executive (Jack Kruschen in an uncredited role) introduces the movie, explaining that it has no plot, but simply shows Stanley the hotel bellboy (played by Lewis) getting into one ridiculous situation after another (via a series of blackout gags), and that the movie is "so funny" before breaking out into hysterical laughter. Stanley does not speak, except at the very end of the movie. Lewis also appears in a speaking role playing himself escorted by a large entourage.
Milton Berle was in town performing at another hotel while Lewis was shooting the picture and agreed to make an appearance as himself and in a dual role as another bellboy. Comedian (and future co-writer with Lewis on many of Jerry's subsequent films) Bill Richmond does several cameos as Stan Laurel. Professional golfer Cary Middlecoff, the "Golf Doctor," appears as himself. Lewis also appears as a fictional version of himself (credited in the opening credits as "Joe Levitch", which is his birth name).
Principal photography took place from February 8 to March 5, 1960 and marked Jerry Lewis's debut as a director. Filming took place at the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida; Lewis would film during the day and perform in the nightclub at night.
Before he began, Lewis consulted his friend Stan Laurel about the script. Since Laurel had worked in silent films and was a master of English pantomime, he offered suggestions. It is unknown if Lewis used any of Laurel's ideas in the production. But it is believed[who?] Lewis paid homage to the comic by naming his character 'Stanley' after him. A Stan Laurel lookalike character also appears throughout the story, portrayed by writer and impressionist Bill Richmond.
Paramount wanted to have a Jerry Lewis movie for summer release (in North America). The movie that it wanted to release was Cinderfella, which had finished shooting in December 1959. Lewis wanted to hold back the release of that movie for the Christmas 1960 holiday and Paramount only agreed if Jerry could deliver another movie for summer. Therefore, while playing an engagement in Miami Beach, Lewis came up with this project.
The film grossed about $10 million in the USA alone.
Eugene Archer of The New York Times wrote that some parts of the film were "surprisingly successful" and that it was to Lewis' credit that "he has kept his energetic demeanor in reasonable check," to the point that some of his fans "may find the comedian disappointingly restrained."Variety stated: "Several of the sequences are amusing, but too many are dependent upon climactic sight gags anticipated well ahead of the punch ... There are latent elements of Charlie Chaplin's little tramp, Jacques Tati's 'Hulot,' Danny Kaye's 'Mitty' and Harpo Marx's curiously tender child-man, but the execution falls far short of such inspiration." John L. Scott of the Los Angeles Times commented that there were "some very laughable situations" in the film, adding, "Some gags don't come off too well, but there are so many that the poorer ones quickly get lost in the fast shuffle."The Monthly Film Bulletin reviewer wrote: "Too many scenes are both pointless and witless; sometimes the gag doesn't work, sometimes the direction is to blame. And Lewis's habit of ending each joke with a display of cross-eyed, simian mugging is scarcely endearing. Nevertheless, there remain some half-dozen moments of genuine comic invention."
This film was released on DVD on October 12, 2004.
Lewis wanted to be able to look at scenes even when he was on screen. So he used primordial video technology, putting a video camera next to the film camera. This system became known as video playback and was basically used by everyone in Hollywood, before everyone in Hollywood stopped shooting on film.