Monday, October 21, 2019

Bill and Ted have an adventure

In my recent batch of Amazon purchases, I picked up this Jerry Lewis box set, since I think I'd only blogged about one of the 10 movies in it, and the price was more than right. Recently, I sat down to watch one of the movies in the set, The Stooge.

The movie starts off with Jerry's comic partner at the time, Dean Martin. he plays Bill Miller, part of a vaudeville "double" act (that is, an act with two people) circa 1930. He wants to find success as a "single", although people around him advise him against this, including his manager Leo (Eddie Mayehoff) and his wife Mary (Polly Bergen), who even feels a bit neglected by Bill.

Sure enough, Bill's attempts to be a single are not a success, and his manager suggests he get a "stooge", that is, somebody who can sit in the audience and yell out some pre-arranged heckling for the guy up on stage to riff off of and make the act much funnier. Cut to Ted Rogers (that's Jerry Lewis if you somehow couldn't recognize him). He works on Tin Pan Alley for a music publisher, but it's a wonder he hasn't been fired multiple times over. His boss would be happy to have him leave for greener pastures, so it's suggested that Ted could be the stooge.

Ted sits up in a box with a woman nicknamed "Frecklehead" (Marion Marshall), and when he starts interacting with Bill, the repartee turns out to be a big hit. The two go on the road, but Bill continues to think of himself as a single, never identifying Ted by name, since he believes that doing so would give away the fact that Ted is a stooge and it's all scripted. This despite the fact that all the critics are naming Ted. Mary and Frecklehead tell Ted that Bill is exploiting him, but Ted just wants the act to work.

The Stooge is one of those movies where it's pretty darn obvious exactly where the movie is headed, but where you don't mind because the fun is in getting there. If you don't like Jerry Lewis' manic style, then you may not like the movie, but otherwise I think it's a perfectly fine film.

As for the box set, it's well constructed for the price. There are 10 DVDs, so each movie gets its own DVD. It's in a case thicker than your average single DVD case, with one movie on a spindle on the inside left, one on the inside right, and the other eight on four inserts that attach to hinges within the case. Each of the inserts has two spindles which are not directly back to back; in other words, one of the DVDs on each insert is closer to the top of the case and the other closer to the bottom. Apparently some of the movies have extras, although I wasn't looking out for those on The Stooge.

The Stooge is good enough that it's worth watching on its own, but in a box set at this price point, it can't be beat.

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