Nutty Professor [1963]

Jerry Lewis's 1963 Jekyll and Hyde variation has always been tagged by two popular assumptions: one is that it is his best work as a comic filmmaker, and the other is that Lewis's Mr. Hyde equivalent--the slick, ultra-arrogant, good-looking womanizer Buddy Love--actually lampoons the director's former partner, Dean Martin. Well, The Nutty Professor certainly is Lewis's best film. But all one has to do is watch it to realize the motivation behind Buddy Love is more confessional: he's really much more like Lewis's darker, narcissistic side, while the shlubby scientist (also played by Lewis) from whom Love springs is closer to the star's screen image. You can watch all this psychodrama yourself and have a lot of good laughs at the same time with this unusual film, which still surpasses Eddie Murphy's recent remake--though not necessarily by a wide gap. --Tom Keogh

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