For half-witted barbers apprentice, Wilbur Hoolick (Jerry Lewis) life is a continual series of mishaps. But the biggest mishap of all is when Noonan (Raymond Burr) – a wanted killer – plants a stolen diamond in his pocket while on the run from the cops.
Wilbur later evades Noonan – accidentally – by dressing as an 11-year-old boy to travel at half-fare on the train.
When the conductor becomes suspicious of his age, Wilbur hides out in the compartment of Nancy Collins (Diana Lynn) – a teacher at a fashionable school for young girls – and spends the night there.
She has no idea that the “boy” is a grown man (stretching dramatic licence to breaking point) and to protect Nancy’s good name with her fiance Bob Miles (Dean Martin) and her superiors, Wilbur has to continue the masquerade at the school.
His troubles multiply when 200 overzealous schoolgirls cast eyes on him. Mitzi McCall, a 22-year-old comedienne, makes her film debut as “Skeets”, a bobbysoxer who gets a crush on Wilbur.
The film is witty and literate with a memorable score by Arthur Schwartz and Sammy Cahn, and some splendid dances – staged by Nick Castle. The cast is unusually strong for a comedy.
The film is widely acknowledged to be a remake of The Major and the Minor (1942).
Veda Ann Borg