Jerry Lewis stars as Jerome Littlefield, an orderly in a private hospital who is always trying too hard – with the obvious comic results.
Although he is always well-meaning, he somehow manages to constantly do things wrong and keeps his job only through the constant intervention of the head doctor (Glenda Farrell).
Jerome gets hilariously involved with hospital apparatus; ambulances nearly run him down; in trying to bandage a patient he bandages up a nurse as well; he tries to clean the teeth of a patient who has none, and so on.
He is consoled after his various goofs by pretty nurse Julie Blair (Karen Sharpe), but the situation is complicated by a patient – Susan Andrews (Susan Oliver) – who has suicidal tendencies causing her to believe that nobody loves her.
Jerry has worshipped Susan from afar since their high school days, and his kind attention finally cures her. But when Susan asks Jerome to marry her, he realises that he is in love not with her but with Julie.
Lewis’s comic genius is very much a matter of taste. In France, he’s virtually canonised; elsewhere, though, he has admirers and detractors in equal parts. This – his 31st film – is exactly the type of movie that tends to infuriate both parties.
It’s very, very funny, with a wonderful climactic chase and a particularly hysterical Lewis moment where Jerry has sympathy pains with the choleric Mrs Fuzzibee (Alice Pearce, who played Lucy Shmeeler in On the Town).
However, the film also contains some of the most melancholy and cloying sentiment in the whole of Lewis’s oeuvre.
For once, director Frank Tashlin seems unable to control Jerry, which is not necessarily a bad thing, and the sight gags are tremendous.
Dr Jean Howard
Jack E Leonard