In spite of almost universal criticism, this immensely accomplished comedy remains actor/co-writer/director Jerry Lewis’s best and funniest screen work.
It’s really “Doctor Jerry and Mister Love” (the film’s French title translated), as Lewis plays buck-toothed and awkward chemistry professor Julius Kelp who is hooked on lovely student Stella Purdy (Stella Stevens).
Lewis makes and takes a potion that turns him into singing lounge lizard par excellence, Buddy Love, who is an instant hit at the nightclub hangout The Purple Pit.
Love intimidates the bartender, sucker-punches a student, entertains singing at the piano and comes on to Stella with an insultingly narcissistic attitude.
The potion’s effects, though, are erratic and have a habit of wearing off just as Buddy is rounding second base with Stella or singing at the piano. That’s when Julius Kelp’s adenoidal voice sneaks back, forcing Love to make some unplanned, embarrassing exits.
The witty design and the use of fabulously rich Paramount Technicolor are major bonuses, and this clever movie remains extremely funny.
Professor Julius Kelp/Buddy Love
Dr Hamius R Warfield