Several years ago when Netflix started streaming some of their content via the Internet I would occasionally. It was only available to me on my computer and sitting in my office chair watching a movie seemed uncomfortable and awkward. Then about a year ago, I purchased a Roku which allowed instant viewing of the Netflix library through my projector system and to my television. Also at this same time, Netflix started adding the mother load of movies. Things that haven’t seen the light of day in decades, movies that had never nor would ever have a chance of being released on DVD.
There are so many movies that are on there now that I thought it might be helpful to start sorting through them for future group movie nights. Some are truly buried treasures, and some should have remained buried.
Last night I came upon something that I thought I’d never see… a Jerry Lewis movie I’d never heard of: It’s Only Money.
Combining two of my guilty pleasures, Film Noir and Jerry Lewis! Even though I completely see why people would hate Jerry Lewis, his boy/man character, Borscht Belt humor, gags that are so predictable you can see them coming a mile away… But he stil makes me laugh; especially his work with the wonderful director Frank Tashlin. Tashlin was an animator before a director and this film in particular brings the exaggerated styling of a Warner Brothers cartoon to life. Mix that with some dark and stunning cinematography, some brilliant characters like Jack Weston, Jessie White and Mae (Olive Oil) Questel, and you have a classic comedy that seems to have slipped through the cracks.
(One odd moment was that although I didn’t remember anything about this film; I did recall the horrifying lawnmowers featured in the climax. Monstrous machines with large grinding teeth that chase everyone around. I remembered the feeling of being terrified of them; but nothing else about the film. The lawnmowers are out a Stephen King novel. And made me wonder if he recalled them when he wrote his short story, The Mangler about a killer machine.)
Granted this film might not be for a group if you have people who hate Lewis, because Jerry is as Jerry as you can get. I gave up counting the number of times he did his ‘Hey Lady’ routine or made his Jerry-Lewis-being-funny face. But if you grew up with these slightly innocent romps they don’t disappoint.