Enfant Terrible!: Jerry Lewis in American Film

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Murray Pomerance
NYU Press, 2002 - 274 pages
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The one thing everybody knows about Jerry Lewis is that he is beloved by the French, those incomprehensible hedonistic strangers across the sea. The French understand him, while in the U.S. he is at best a riddle, not one of us. Lewis is someone we take profound pleasure in excluding, if not ridiculing.

Enfant Terrible! Jerry Lewis in American Film is the first comprehensive collection devoted to one of the most controversial and accomplished figures in twentieth-century American cinema. A veteran of virtually every form of show business, Lewis's performances onscreen and the motion pictures he has directed reveal significant filmmaking talents, and show him to be what he has called himself, a "total filmmaker." Yet his work has been frequently derided by American critics.

This book challenges that easy reading by taking a more careful look at Lewis's considerable body of work onscreen in 16 diverse and penetrating essays. Turning to such films asThe Nutty Professor, The Ladies Man, The King of Comedy, The Delicate Delinquent, Living It Up, The Errand Boy, The Disorderly Orderly, Arizona Dream, and The Geisha Boy, the contributors address topics ranging from Lewis's on- and offscreen performances, the representations of disability in his films, and the European obsession with Lewis, to his relationship with Dean Martin and Lewis's masculinity. Far from an out of control hysteric, Enfant Terrible! instead reveals Jerry Lewis to be a meticulous master of performance with a keen sense of American culture and the contemporary world.

Contributors include: Mikita Brottman, Scott Bukatman, David Desser, Leslie A. Fiedler, Craig Fischer, Lucy Fischer, Krin Gabbard, Barry Keith Grant, Andrew Horton, Susan Hunt, Frank Krutnik, Marcia Landy, Peter Lehman, Shawn Levy, Dana Polan, Murray Pomerance, and J. P. Telotte.

 

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Contents

Introduction
1
I Jerry and Me
17
2 Jerry Lewis Faces Off
41
3 Jerry Lewis and Social Transformations
107
4 JerryBuilt
193
Works Cited
256
Contributors
265
Index
269
Copyright

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Page 256 - Neither techniques nor technologies are natural, nor do they evolve naturally. Contrary to André Bazin's idealist notions of the history of technology and of cinematic forms, their evolution is not natural but "cultural." responding to the pressures of ideology. These pressures suppress signs of technique and technology. For Jean-Louis Baudry. the technological apparatus of the cinema, ie, the camera, transforms what is set before it but conceals the work of that transformation by effacing all traces...

About the author (2002)

Murray Pomerance is Chair of the Department of Sociology at Ryerson University, whose edited volumes include "Ladies and Gentlemen," "Boys and Girls: Gender in Film at the End of the Twentieth Century," and "Sugar, Spice and Everything Nice: Cinemas of Girlhood.

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