Made primarily as a Christmas attraction for family audiences, CINDERFELLA (1960) stars Jerry Lewis in a gender-bending spin on everyone's favourite fairytale, co-starring Judith Anderson and Ed Wynn.
Fella (Jerry Lewis) lives with his overbearing stepmother (Judith Anderson) and two stepbrothers (Henry Silva and Robert Hutton) in his dead father's Beverly Hills mansion, where he's treated like a servant--and a klutzy one at that! Forbidden to attend a party being held in honour of the visiting Princess Charming (Anna Maria Alberghetti), Fella's eccentric Fairy Godfather (Ed Wynn) steps in to lend a helping hand...
Unless you're a Jerry Lewis fan (and there really is no 'gray area'), you won't entirely appreciate his performance in CINDERFELLA. Lewis was given lots of free rein with his performance in this movie, and the constant mugging sometimes causes the feather-light story to become bogged down. Anna Maria Alberghetti provides a sweet Princess but her role is fairly minor. Judith Anderson ("Rebecca", "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof") does manage to turn the stepmother into an ultimately sympathetic character, something you don't really get in any other 'Cinderella' movie.
The DVD includes some fun outtakes and bloopers, plus a commentary track with Jerry Lewis and his friend, singer Steve Lawrence. (Single-sided, dual-layer disc).
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Byron Kolln (Byron_Kolln)
Byron has been actively involved in theatre since the age of 12. He has had a great variety of roles (both on-stage and off). In addition he has hosted the long-running "Show Business" programme … more
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The team of Jerry Lewis and director Frank Tashlin (The Geisha Boy) were at the peak of their hit-making prowess withCinderfella, a klutzy take on the fairy tale. Jerry is the stepson in a snooty family, dominated by wicked stepmother Judith Anderson and lounge-lizard brothers Henry Silva and Robert Hutton. Fairy godfather Ed Wynn turns up one day, not only promising "Fella" a happy-ever-after but basically accusing the old fairy tale of ruining the lives of countless married couples by raising unrealistic expectations of Prince Charmings in every home. (Tashlin always had a nose for psychoanalytic explanations along with the pratfalls.) The movie's very slow--especially whenever Ed Wynn is around--and has a strange taste for "interior monologue" songs, emphasizing the mawkish side of Lewis's personality. The good comic scenes are worth it, especially a lengthy sequence at an elongated dinner table, which Lewis must navigate repeatedly. His physical skills are showcased in a musical mime to Count Basie's "Cute" (Basie and his orchestra also appear in the big ballroom scene) and some violently geeky dancing. This one is unlikely to win over non-Jerry fans, but the already initiated will be fine with it.--Robert Horton