Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis Collection: Volume 2 – DVD Review

DVD available at Amazon.com

Director:
Norman Taurog

Cast:
Dean Martin….Dr. Steve Harris
Jerry Lewis….Homer Flagg
Janet Leigh….Wally Cook
Edward Arnold….The Mayor
Fred Clark….Oliver Stone
Sheree North….Jitterbug Dancer

Paramount Home Video presents Living It Up. Screenplay by Jack Rose & Melville Shavelson. Running time: 95 minutes. Unrated. Theatrical release: July 23, 1954.

Director:
Norman Taurog

Cast:
Dean Martin….Bob Miles
Jerry Lewis….Wilbur Hoolick
Diana Lynn….Nancy Collins
Nina Foch….Gretchen Brendan
Raymond Burr….Noonan
Nancy Kulp….Marty’s Mother

Paramount Home Video presents You’re Never Too Young. Screenplay by Sidney Sheldon. Running time: 102 minutes. Unrated. Theatrical release: August 25, 1955.

Director:
Frank Tashlin

Cast:
Dean Martin….Rick Todd
Jerry Lewis….Eugene Fullstack
Shirley MacLaine….Bessie Sparrowbrush
Eddie Mayehoff….Mr. Murdock
Eva Gabor….Sonia
Anita Ekberg….Anita

Paramount Home Video presents Artists and Models. Screenplay by Herbert Baker, Hal Kanter, Don McGuire & Frank Tashlin. Running time: 109 minutes. Unrated. Theatrical release: Nov. 7, 1955.

Director:
Norman Taurog

Cast:
Dean Martin….Slim Mosely
Jerry Lewis…Wade Kingsley
Jeff Morrow….Pete Rio
Agnes Moorehead….Matilda Kingsley
Lon Chaney Jr….Whitey
Lee Van Cleef….Gus
Strother Martin….Colonel G. Stonehill
Jeff Corey….Tom Chaney

Paramount Home Video presents Pardners. Screenplay by Sidney Sheldon. Running time: 90 minutes. Unrated. Theatrical release: August 1, 1956.

Director:
Frank Tashlin

Cast:
Dean Martin….Steve Wiley
Jerry Lewis….Malcolm Smith
Pat Crowley….Terry Roberts
Maxie Rosenbloom….Bookie Benny
Anita Ekberg….Actress Anita

Paramount Home Video presents Hollywood or Bust. Screenplay by Erna Lazarus. Running time: 95 minutes. Unrated. Theatrical release: Dec. 6, 1956.

Paramount Home Video presents Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis Collection: Volume 2. Five movies on 3 DVDs. DVD release: June 5, 2007.

Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis ruled the silver screen in the first half of the 1950s with their mix of comedy and music. Dean was the suave crooner. Jerry was the out of control man-child. After being the hottest nightclub act in America, they brought their routine to Hollywood. Together they made 16 films in seven years before they broke up the act. Dean went on to be appointed second in command of the Rat Pack. Jerry became a superstar in France. Volume 2 packages five of their final six films.

This box set features their work with two directors: Norman Taurog and Frank Tashlin. Taurog is best known for his nine movies with Elvis Presley including Blue Hawaii and the Frankie Avalon cult favorite Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine. He also won an Oscar for Best Director. He was producer’s Hal Wallis’ main director when it came to light comedies with musical numbers. Taurog’s best film with Martin and Lewis was Jumping Jacks featured in the first volume collection on DVD. Frank Tashlin was a Looney Tunes director that entered the world of live action without losing his cartoon vision. He’s the man who made Jayne Mansfield a superstar in The Girl Can’t Help It. Tashlin is in the midst of a revival as his best films and cartoons have been steadily coming out on DVD.

Livin’ It Up has Jerry driving a radioactive car. Everyone thinks he’s dying from atomic poisoning since he set off the Geiger counter. The media goes nuts about his misfortune. Dean plays a doctor who discovers that the radioactivity detected on Jerry is from a glow-in-the-dark watch. With so many people wanting to make Jerry’s final days pleasurable, Dean is reluctant to expose the truth. Instead he goes along for the ride as the two take Manhattan. Jerry gets taken for a major spin on the dance floor by Sheree North, a human dynamo. She dazzles in a white fringe dress and shakes every part of her body to put a smile on Jerry’s face. Decades later, she would play Kramer’s mom on Seinfeld. The film still speaks loudly about the media’s desire to create celebrities out of victims.

You’re Never Too Young has the boys tangled in Raymond Burr’s diamond heist. Jerry is an assistant barber that ends up with the hot rock. When he realizes that Burr is after him, Jerry disguises himself as a 12-year-old and hides out at a girl’s boarding school. Dean is a teacher at the school. While Jerry pulls off this transformation when he’s wearing a sailor suit, he doesn’t look like a teenager when he wears normal clothes. He’s got hairy arms and a huge pinky ring. It’s like he’s in a mobster version of Teen Wolf. The film has its moments, but Jerry should have gone the extra mile to sell himself as a kid. Would it hurt to remove a pinky ring?

Artist and Models is the best film in the box set. Dean is a struggling artist painting billboards in Manhattan to pay the rent. Jerry is his comic book obsessed assistant who keeps screwing up the gigs. Jerry squawks in his sleep about Vincent the Vulture. Dean uses these dream adventures for a comic book series. They become superstars. Things get messy when Jerry’s dreams reflect real Pentagon projects. A band of spies want to capture him. The movie spoofs the violence levels in comic books and the morality groups that wanted to scrub them clean. There’s a realistic romance between Jerry and Shirley MacLaine. Plus there’s Eva Gabor being the screen vamp instead of her sister Zsa Zsa.

Pardners is a mess. Jerry and Dean play the sons of ranchers that were killed by masked outlaws. After the slaughter, Jerry is taken to New York City by his mother. He’s a helpless sissy boy. Dean’s mom keeps him in the Wild West. Years later, these two cross paths when Dean has to save the ranch and needs Jerry’s help. Dean trains Jerry to be a man or at least not a completely hopeless mama’s boy. The two get revenge for their fathers while cranking out a musical number. This is not to be viewed without a couple shots of rotgut.

Hollywood or Bust was their final film. Dean rigs a drawing for a new car at a movie theater by creating counterfeit tickets. He plans on selling the car to pay off a major gambling debt. But movie fanatic Jerry turns out to also have the winning ticket. Instead of an investigation or giving a car to each winner, the theater has them share the grand prize. The two end up going on a cross country trip to Los Angeles so Jerry can stalk Anita Ekberg. There’s a great moment when they cruise through Las Vegas past a casino sign advertising Martin and Lewis performing. While they didn’t go out with a classic, Hollywood or Bust was better than their Western adventure.

Martin and Lewis had that rare duo chemistry that nobody has been able to maintain since their split. While we’ve had comic duos over the last four decades, none have been able to make as many successful films. This volume shows how brilliant they could be when working at their top of their game. You can also sense there were moments when neither was happy to be sharing the screen, but they were professional in their spite. While Volume 1 contained the first half of their cinematic legacy, Volume 2 is 3 titles short of completing all 16 of their joint ventures.At War with the Army, Money From Home and 3 Ring Circus are missing. This better mean there will be a Volume 3 in the near future. If you’re a fan of Martin and Lewis, you’ll be pleased with finally getting these five titles on the shelf – especially Artists and Models.

The DVD

VIDEO:
All five films are 1.85:1 anamorphic. The transfers show very little wear or dust. The Technicolor picture lets the hues glow.

AUDIO:
The soundtrack is Dolby Digital Mono. The levels on most of the films are good. You might crank it down when Jerry hits his high notes. There’s a French mono dub on all the films for all those fans of Jerry Lewis in Montreal. The subtitles are in English.

EXTRAS:
None. They didn’t even locate the original trailers.

The DVD Lounge’s Ratings for Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis Collection: Volume 2
CATEGORY
RATING
(OUT OF 10)
THE MOVIES

8
THE VIDEO

8
THE AUDIO

7
THE EXTRAS

0
REPLAY VALUE

7
OVERALL
8
(NOT AN AVERAGE)