Artists and Models, which provided the Dean Martin-Jerry Lewis duo with its finest screen hour, is a dizzily self-reflexive play on movie illusion.
Eugene Fullstack (Lewis) is a comic book addict whose colourful dreams are transcribed – and secretly sold – by Rick Todd (Martin). They are mirrored by two women – sultry graphic artist Abby (Dorothy Malone) and ditzy Bessie (Shirley MacLaine).
Tashlin’s endlessly inventive game of permutation and combination between these four characters builds up to a great piece of burlesque mayhem: Eugene and Bessie’s delirious détournement of the kitsch romantic ballad Inamorata.
The plot launches without warning into an international espionage intrigue (enter Eva Gabor), and a splendid musical demonstration of image-and-sound artifice (When You Pretend).
Abigail ‘Abby’ Parker
Secret Service Chief Samuels
Secret Service Agent Rogers
Secret Service Agent Peters