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DON’T RAISE THE BRIDGE, LOWER THE RIVER (director: Jerry Paris; screenwriter: book by Max Wilk/Max Wilk; cinematographer: Otto Heller; editor: Bill Lenny; music: David Whitaker; cast: Jacqueline Pearce (Pamela), Jerry Lewis (George Lester,), Nicholas Parsons (Dudley Heath), Terry-Thomas (H. William Homer), John Bluthal (Dr. Pinto), Bernard Cribbins (Fred Davies), Patricia Routledge (Lucille, Girls; Scout Leader), Pippa Benedict (Fern Averback); Runtime: 99; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Walter Shenson; Columbia Pictures; 1968)

Dreary comedy, where the laughs are not forthcoming.

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Dreary comedy, where the laughs are not forthcoming. The former actor on the Dick Van Dyke Show, Jerry Paris (“How Sweet It Is!”/”Viva Max”/”Police Academy 2/Their First Assignment”),turns to directing and proves to be mediocre. This incurious film is based on the book by humorist Max Wilk, who wrote the screenplay. Even the French should find it difficult to praise this flat Jerry Lewis vehicle.

The nonsense plot involves George Lester (Jerry Lewis), a harebrained schemer American entrepreneur living in London, whose latest get-rich-quick scheme fails and causes him marital problems with his attractive wealthy wife Pamela (Jacqueline Pearce).Trying to save his marriage, the hapless George remodels his wife’s country manor house into a Chinese discotheque while she is abroad.

The convoluted plot has George keep trying to get back with his estranged wife and settle his huge debts, as he partners with his old pal, the gap-toothed con manH. William Homer (Terry-Thomas), and believes he can win his wife back with his latest fool-proof scheme. The scheme is some hokum to do with stealing a high-speed oil-drill owned by Pamela’s snob suitor Dudley (Nicholas Parsons) and selling it to cartoonish Arab oil sheiks. Complications arise when George comes down with the mumps and is forced to use unsuspecting airline steward Fred Davies (Bernard Cribbins) to transport the microfilmed blueprints to Lisbon in his teeth. But Lisbon dentist Dr. Pinto (John Bluthal) extracts the blueprints and double-crosses the con men. How things get resolved is just as uninteresting as what has so far transpired.

It’s heavy-going fare, with not much to admire.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”