CinderFella Appreciated

Manohla Dargis on Jerry Lewis:

Though Mr. Lewis meddled in the editing of CinderFella, a modern spin on the familiar fairy tale, the movie is an astonishment, despite some draggy moments and a little late-act sentimentalism that threatens to turn his character, an orphan in servitude to his greedy stepfamily, into a figure of pathos. Few scenes show the [Frank] Tashlin-Lewis union better than the knockout musical number in which Fella, swanked out in a crimson jacket for his initial meet-and-greet with the storybook princess, dances down an impossibly long staircase to the big, brassy sounds of Count Basie and His Orchestra.

By the time he makes his way to the understandably stunned-looking princess (Anna Maria Alberghetti), Fella has captivated the entire ballroom. He awkwardly takes the princess's hand, and the two begin to move harmoniously around the white polished floor. They separate, then join together, hitting the floor in synchronous, jazzy motion until Fella suddenly motions for her to stand still. And then, as the horns keep blasting and blaring, he begins jumping around her, drawing circles with his hands while his legs turn into airborne right angles. It's a ridiculous expression of pure kinetic energy and — as is often the case with this performer — a blast of untamed, untamable libido that threatens to destroy the carefully controlled gathering like a bomb.

The bomb doesn’t go off — it never truly does in his films — but he does throw it. That, in part, is what the French recognized about "le roi du crazy" before the Americans got hip to his transgressions. "In the homogenized and pasteurized, chlorophyll America of today," a French admirer wrote in 1956, "Jerry Lewis will continue to offer this unfailing formula for the little man in the face of mechanization." He added, "It's much easier and funnier to drive people crazy than to let yourself be driven to distraction by them."

Always thought David Byrne took some of his early "big suit" dance moves from CinderFella. It is some of the best nerd dancing you will ever see.

(YouTube has it, for the next five minutes or so)