The classic Cinderella story was reversed here with Jerry Lewis in the leading role (he also produced the film).
Fella (Lewis) is a clumsy simpleton. When his father dies, poor Fella is left at the mercy of his snobbish and wicked stepmother (Judith Anderson) and her two stuck-up sons, Maximilian (Henry Silva) and Rupert (Robert Hutton).
As he slaves away for his nasty step-family, Maximilian and Rupert attempt to find a treasure which Fella’s father has supposedly hidden on the estate. Meanwhile, hoping to restore her dwindling fortunes, the stepmother plans a fancy ball in honour of the visiting Princess Charmein (Anna Maria Alberghetti) whom she hopes will marry Rupert.
Eventually, Fella’s Fairy Godfather (Ed Wynn) shows up to convince him that he has a shot at winning the Princess himself. Music at the ball is provided by none other than Count Basie and the Princess is sumptuously gowned by Academy Award-winning designer Edith Head.
While Cinderella traditionally has a carriage transformed from a pumpkin, Fella rides to the ball in a glamorous motor car valued at $75,000 with mink seats, a television set, bar and telephone. The vehicle – with a pearlescent paint job and 24-carat gold trim – was created by James Skonzakes (better known as Jim Street) and known as the Golden Sahara II.
Jerry Lewis’ musical entrance down the grand staircase was done in one take – but his seven-second rush exit up those same 63 steps put too much strain on his heart and landed him in hospital.
Anna Maria Alberghetti
Shari Lee Bernath
Fella Aged 11
Maximilian as a Boy
Rupert as a Boy