The Nutty Professor

The crown jewel of Jerry Lewis’s career plays in tribute to this singular artist.

NR, 107 minutes

The crown jewel of Jerry Lewis’s directorial career, The Nutty Professor is his most undeniable masterpiece — the film to thrust upon Jerry doubters  and dare them to deny its perfection. With perfectly-combined, awesome color coordination, it is a visual feast.  s well, Jerry creates not just one, but two brand-new, completely original characters that are each miracles of meticulous acting craft. Just creating the iconic klutzy Professor Kelp would be enough: a personage so memorable, both in appearance and voice, as to haunt all of our subcortexes forever, if only second-hand through a staple character from the “Simpsons” stable (Professor Frink). But then you’ve also got Kelp’s frighteningly funny and terrifyingly sexy alter ego Buddy Love: the suave, greazy Rat Pack incarnation of Lewis’ Id.  Every molecule of Buddy Love’s body, every inch of his movement, is completely realized, in a comedic acting ballet that will have your jaw on the floor.  So wipe off our lipstick, slide over here, and let’s get started. (1963, Jerry Lewis, US, 107 min, NR)

Tues: Post-show Q&A with Jonathan Knipp (UIUC Media & Cinema Studies)

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