The Geisha Boy is a good Jerry Lewis comedy, one that rips along with never a backward glance at shattered remnants of plot behind it. Frank Tashlin, who wrote and directed, loads in wild sight and sound gags, parodies and takeoffs that relieve Lewis of some comic burden and show him in his best light.

The Geisha Boy is a good Jerry Lewis comedy, one that rips along with never a backward glance at shattered remnants of plot behind it. Frank Tashlin, who wrote and directed, loads in wild sight and sound gags, parodies and takeoffs that relieve Lewis of some comic burden and show him in his best light.

Tashlin’s screenplay, from a story by Rudy Makoul, has Lewis as a very low man on the show business totem pole. He is a magician who ‘can’t even get a job on daytime television’. He and his rabbit, Harry, join a USO tour of the Orient, because they couldn’t get a job anywhere else.

Lewis first tangles with the troupe’s headliner (Marie McDonald) who serves the picture as a kind of young Margaret Dumont; then with the army brass, represented by Barton MacLane, and finally with the Japanese themselves. There is a romance between Lewis and a Japanese widow (Nobu McCarthy) whose young son (Robert Hirano) ‘adopts’ Lewis as his father.

Lewis is at his best when he eschews some of the stock physical mannerisms that were originally his trademarks. He is more appealing and much funnier when he is playing more or less straight, using his timing and more restrained reactions for fine comedy effect. He is also effective in the few serious moments.

The Geisha Boy

Production

Paramount. Director Frank Tashlin; Producer Jerry Lewis; Screenplay Frank Tashlin; Camera Haskell Boggs; Editor Alma Macrorie; Music Walter Scharf; Art Director Hal Pereira, Tambi Larsen

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1958. Running time: 95 MIN.

With

Jerry Lewis Marie McDonald Sessue Hayakawa Barton MacLane Suzanne Pleshette Nobu McCarthy
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