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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Music > Large Frame Format > Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis Collection - Vol. 2 (Living It Up/You're Never Too Young/Artists & Models/Pardners/Hollywood or Bust; DVD-Video)

Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis Collection - Vol. 2 (Living It Up/You're Never Too Young/Artists & Models/Pardners/Hollywood or Bust; DVD-Video)


Picture: C+     Sound: C+     Extras: D     Films: B- (Pardners: C)



Though their break up may have shattered the happy memories and entertainment they created to some extent, but the comedy team of Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin was so huge, their TV appearances and show was highly rated, while their box office helped keep Paramount on top in the 1950s.  After releasing a collection of some of their early films, Paramount has issued their later gems in the second volume of the Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis Collection.  At this point, the studio was putting the money, locations, duo and stars on the screen in a big way.  The following shows how.


Living It Up (Norman Tarzog/1954) is a remake of the 1937 comedy Nothing Sacred, with Lewis as a victim of radiation poisoning exploited by an ambitious reporter played amusingly by Janet Leigh in top form.  Martin is Lewis’ medical doctor and things only get wackier from there.  Sheree North made her film debut here and it holds up very well.


You're Never Too Young (Norman Tarzog/1955) is a funny comedy with Lewis impersonating a 12-year-old girl as Lewis is unknowingly slipped a priceless stolen diamond by thief/murderer/thug Raymond Burr, sending up his image at the time.  Nina Foch looks great and works nicely despite daring to remake of Billy Wilder’s 1942 hit The Major & The Minor.  The talent and ambition make it work.


Artists & Models (Frank Tashlin/1955) is a terrific romp about comic book nut Lewis following his favorite character to no end, dragging Martin along with him.  Things get wackier when both become involved in the comic book business.  With a great use of color that marks one of the film films ever to deal pop art, the guys are also surrounded by one of their best female casts including Shirley MacLean, Eva Gabor, Dorothy Malone and Anita Ekberg.


Pardners (Norman Tarzog/1956) is a weak remake of Tarzog’s own Bob Hope/Martha Raye vehicle Rhythm On The Range (1936!) about a millionaire cleaning up a town in the West.  A poor Western/Comedy not made much better twenty years later and as lame 80 years later.


Hollywood or Bust (Frank Tashlin/1956) beings back Tashlin and Ekberg in this amusing self-conscious romp about Tinseltown that has its moments, though not quite up to Artists & Models.  However, it is funny enough and their last great film together.



All the films were shot by the talented Director of Photography Daniel Fapp, A.S.C. and issued in beautiful three-strip, dye-transfer Technicolor prints.  Living It Up was shot in 1.33 X 1 block style 35mm, but the rest were shot in large-frame VistaVision format and presented in anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 here.  Color is not very consistent in any of the transfers, though some look better than others, but Living holds its own.  Detail can be a problem in all transfers, then you have some amazing shots and moments that are so vivid, detailed and deep that they make for demonstration quality playback for any system.  Paramount went all out on their VistaVision productions and the last Martin/Lewis films show it.


All are also in Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono, which is a shame since these tracks can sound compressed, one wonders how much of the Martin music is in a vault in stereo and a 5.1 upgrade should not be a major problem for any of these films.  When these hit HD, we hope they get new HD transfers, 5.1 sound upgrades and extras, the later of which are totally absent here.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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