September 23, 2017
Jerry Lewis Tribute: Two Masterpieces by the Total Filmmaker
Presented courtesy of Paramount Pictures
A supremely talented comedian, Jerry Lewis (1926-2017) was a towering and complex figure in popular culture who inspired a wide range of responses throughout his unparalleled career. He was a brilliant nightclub performer and television star who became a major film star for Paramount in the 1950s, and then made the transition to film director. He was an innovative and consummate craftsman behind the camera, and was widely admired as an auteur by critics and directors around the world. This brief tribute features what are arguably his two masterpieces as a director, two enduring classics that prove that he was indeed—to use the title of one of his books—the Total Filmmaker. In 1988, Jerry Lewis was the subject of the very first retrospective at the Museum of the Moving Image in our permanent building, and he graced our theater in 2015 in a Comedy Hall of Fame program, where he was interviewed by his longtime admirer and colleague Martin Scorsese.