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CADDY, THE (director: Norman Taurog; screenwriters: story by Danny Arnold/Edmund L. Hartmann; cinematographer: Daniel L. Fapp; editor: Warren Low; music: Joseph J. Lilley; cast: Dean Martin (Joe Anthony), Jerry Lewis (Harvey Miller, Jr), Donna Reed (Kathy Taylor), Barbara Bates (Lisa Anthony), Joseph Calleia (Papa Anthony); Runtime: 95; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Paul Jones; Paramount; 1953)
“Typical Jerry Lewis vehicle.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

This is a typical Jerry Lewis vehicle when he was on top of the world as both the most highly paid comedian as well as the most popular. It features the team of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, where Jerry does the physical slapstick comedy and Dean belts out a number of unmemorable songs such as the feature song “That’s Amore.” Other numbers include “It’s a Whistle-In’ Kinda Mornin,'” “What Wouldcha Do Without Me,” and “One Big Love.” Norman Taurog directs without tripping over himself; the screenwriters are Danny Arnold and Edmund L. Hartmann. A number of real-life golf pros make cameos, such as Ben Hogan, Sam Snead, and Jimmy Thomson.

This comical romp is told in flashback as a popular music hall duo answer a reporter’s questions on how the San Francisco boys got together. Harvey Miller Jr. (Jerry Lewis) keeps getting fired from jobs, and finds his only love in life is for golf. He relates how his father was a PGA champion and taught him everything about golf, but he could never play the pro circuit becomes of his phobia to playing in front of people. Joe Anthony’s (Dean Martin) folks own a restaurant on Fisherman’s Wharf and a fishing boat, but Joe wasn’t interested in following in their footsteps. Instead he returns home after a long absence and finds Harvey engaged to his sister Lisa (Barbara Bates), and when he learns there’s lots of money to make as a pro golfer he has Harvey become his teacher. Harvey proves to be a good teacher and Joe a good pupil, and Joe goes pro with Harvey by his side as a caddy. At their first tournament, Joe meets the lovely Kathy Taylor (Donna Reed) and she becomes his love interest. Winning causes Joe to get a big head and he ditches Harvey. When Joe’s parents need money or they will lose their restaurant, Harvey maneuvers to get Joe into a big-money PGA tournament but a fracas develops on the golf course and they’re disqualified. But a talent scout found their antics hilarious and got them into showbiz.

There are a number of sketches strung together showing Lewis acting as a destructive force in the proper middle-class world and causing embarrassment to those close to him as he acts spastic. Lewis’s comedy is an acquired taste, as his comedy borders on being totally obnoxious. Some might get off on this, as his jerky mannerisms are aimed at upsetting the proper citizens who make the rules for society (which maybe can be translated to those pompous critics who sneer at his films while the public clamors for them). It seems to me that Lewis’s rebellion is unintentional, as his anti-social antics are just a lot of kitsch.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”