It seems a natural fit that a comedian who often plays meek nice guys would eventually land in a genderbent fairytale. If Jerry Lewis has a specialty in stories, it may well be nebbish men’s wish fulfilment fantasies, and few stories are more wish fulfilment than Cinderella.
In an era where we’re taking our traditionally white male role model character roles and trying to be conscious about putting more women and people of color there, it may seem a little backward to turn one of the canon fairytale princesses into Jerry Lewis, but I think the reason I’m not too discomforted by it is that Cinderella is a pretty classical feminine role type, and it’s not a position one would expect to find a fictional man who is the protagonist in. So it’s an underutilized permutation that stands exploring in media.
And here is a Jerry Lewis Shenanigan. I didn’t realize he was a mental hospital orderly when I picked this up, and I’m sure there are going to be elements that haven’t aged well, but hey, slapstick, right?
What attracts me to this movie is the names. Jerry Lewis, Ray Walston, Agnes Moorehead, and Frank Tashlin (whom I know as a golden age Warner Bros. cartoon director). It occurs to me I haven’t seen any of Ray Walson’s work from before the 90s. Sometime I should track down My Favorite Martian.
I’m realizing now that I’ve chosen another movie that will probably be light on plot. The focus will likely be on getting Jerry Lewis’s character into situations where he can do physical comedy routines. However, it won’t be as tightly fixed on that as a film from the era of Buster Keaton.