Sex and slapstick: the Martin and Lewis phenomenon

Krutnik, Frank (2002) Sex and slapstick: the Martin and Lewis phenomenon. In: Pomerance, Murray (ed.) Enfant Terrible! Jerry Lewis in American film. New York University Press, New York, pp. 109-122. ISBN 9780814767061

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Abstract

Described by Canadian film director David Cronenberg as a witty, provocative and necessary re-evaluation of the phenomenon known as Jerry Lewis, "Enfant Terrible: Jerry Lewis in American Film" brings together new critical assessments of the work of this entertainer-actor-director by such distinguished scholars as Leslie A Fiedler, Marcia Landy, Andrew Horton, Krin Gabbard, Dana Polan, Lucy Fischer, David Desser, Peter Lehman and Frank Krutnik. The contributors address topics ranging from Lewiss on- and off-screen performances, the representations of disability in his films, the European obsession with Lewis, and the unusual representations of masculinity across his films. The chapter, Sex and Slapstick: The Martin and Lewis phenomenon was specially commissioned for this volume by editor Murray Pomerance, owing to the significance of Krutniks book "Inventing Jerry Lewis" (2000). This is the only chapter in the book to consider in depth Lewiss crucial 10-year partnership with crooner Dean Martin. Scrutinizing the teams work across a range of media (films, television, cabaret), the chapter explores their professional relationship in terms of a continuing instantiation of liveness that went far beyond the conventional opposition of comic and straight man to offer a complexly nuanced take on male homosocial relations. The chapter argues that beyond its intensively personal nature, this relationship permitted the articulation of a dizzying array of emotional and covertly erotic intensities between men that also performed a highly public, cultural function Locating the examination of Martin & Lewiss work and significance within scholarly debates on film stardom and screen comedy, the chapter also makes use of contemporaneous critical responses to the team within the mainstream press, the trade press and screen journals. It teases out the dynamics of the male partnership by examining in detail specific examples from their films and television shows

Item Type: Book Section
Additional Information: This specially commissioned chapter builds on Krutnik's ground-breaking work in Inventing Jerry Lewis (2000). Focusing on Lewis's crucial 10-year partnership with crooner Dean Martin across a range of media (films, television, cabaret), the chapter explores their professional relationship in terms of a continuing instantiation of liveness that went far beyond the conventional opposition of comic and straight man to offer a complexly nuanced take on male homosocial relations. Although it returns to approaches initially mapped out in Inventing Jerry Lewis, the chapter develops and refines them through the close analysis of new examples from the team's films and television programmes, and also from the reception of their work in the entertainment trade press and other contemporary primary sources.
Schools and Departments: School of Media, Film and Music > Media and Film
Depositing User: Frank Krutnik
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 18:48
Last Modified: 27 Jul 2012 09:12
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/18418
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