When jokes are made about Jerry Lewis being big in France, I just realize that it is mainly out of ignorance. If you look at some of the films he made, whether you like him or not, you have to admire what he did. Just the set design of THE LADIES MAN, a film he directed, should eliminate any criticism.
Over the years, I’ve seen all but a couple of his films. There have been two or three that have never been released even on VHS and are rarely shown on TV.
One of these rarities just turned up on Turner Classic Movies for the first time that I have noticed it. It is 1969’s HOOK LINE AND SINKER.
The basic premise, at least if you read the write ups, has Jerry being told by his doctor (Peter Lawford) that he has a terminal illness, with a limited time left. He then goes on a spending spree with his credit cards. Anne Francis plays his wife.
Like I mentioned, I like Jerry Lewis. A lot.
This is one of his very worst. Forget the fact that it isn’t funny, it isn’t even watchable. Incredibly dull too. There is very little of interest in the film. In fact, I had to look up the plot synopsis since, having seen this a couple weeks ago, have completely forgotten it. I remember Jerry sitting on an operating table, but that is about it.
There are some early moments, of his home life, that show some promise. But even though the set up could be made into something highly watchable, the film does nothing with it. Jerry even looks bored.
Maybe the fact that Jerry wasn’t behind the camera had something to do with it. By 1969, he was directing most of his films. With HOOK, George Marshall directed. This was his last feature, having directed films from the early silent era (his first credit was in 1916). Marshall is best know for directing DESTRY RIDES AGAIN.
The screenplay was written by Rodney Amateau, who directed previous Forgotten Film entry LOVELINES.
As I stated, I like Jerry Lewis. But even fans of his shouldn’t try to seek this one out.