Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

The Patsy (1964)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

The Patsy (1964)

In actor/director/co-writer Jerry Lewis' comedy about Hollywood pretense and celebrity, similar to Frank Tashlin's The Girl Can't Help It (1956) and even My Fair Lady (1964),The King of Comedy (1982), and Trading Places (1983):

  • the film's premise: following the death of famous comic Wally Brandford in an airplane crash in Alaska (footage from The Mountain (1956)), klutzy Beverly Hilton Hotel bellhop Stanley Belt (Jerry Lewis) - a totally-untalented unknown nebbish - was recruited and trained to replace him by a management team composed of an entourage of Hollywood professionals, including impresario/producer Caryl Fergusson (Everett Sloane), joke writer Chic Wymore (Phil Harris), publicist/press agent Harry Silver (Keenan Wynn), director Morgan Heywood (Peter Lorre in his last film appearance), stylist/valet Bruce Alden (John Carradine), and secretary Ellen Betz (Ina Balin), Stanley's future love interest
  • the timely appearance of bumbling, no-talent, red-blazered bell-hop Stanley into a hotel suite - clumsily dropping a tray of glasses and bucket of ice cubes, and eventually falling off a balcony into the hotel's swimming pool
  • the scene of Stanley receiving voice lessons from music Professor Mulerr (Hans Conreid), and Stanley's multiple close-calls destroying the teacher's priceless antiques collection in the extravagant music studio; at the end of the training sequence during Mulerr's painfully long-held note after his right hand had been smashed inside the grand piano lid (and Stanley's own dissonant note joining him), the walls and ceiling of the room crumbled and self-destructed
Stanley's Disastrous Voice Lessons
in Professor Mulerr's Music Studio
  • the sequence of Stanley's failed lip-synching recording session, as he first made his way through a cluster of microphones, booms, and cables to an uncooperative music stand; when he attempted to sing, Stanley's voice was inaudible; someone in the control room yelled out: "I need more voice from the trio!" - Stanley was seen to be backed by a trio of singers (three incarnations of himself, all in ugly drag) who were singing "yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah"
  • Stanley's horrible live, lip-synching performance (to a pre-existing track) of his single: "I Lost My Heart in a Drive-In Movie" - a Billboard # 1 smash hit, on the KLUTZ-TV show, Teenage Dance Time, where he was first introduced by Dick Clark-lookalike Lloyd (Lloyd Thaxton); as the song began, Stanley mimed plucking guitar strings with his necktie, then missed his starting cue and began singing completely out-of-synch - and using four different 'voices'; as various keywords were heard, he pantomimed corresponding actions (for example, "heart" - he placed his hand over his heart, "drive-in movie" - he pretended to steer a car, at the sound of a honking horn - he did one pelvic thrust, and along with the line: "I wasn’t a bit hungry. I just wanted to taste her lip" - he puckered up with fish-lips, etc.)
  • the scene of Stanley's stage-fright during a very unsuccessful appearance at the Copa Café nightclub during his debut performance, when he stumbled onto the stage, clumsily interacted with the microphone, and then delivered an awful, stand-up joke-telling comedy act: "On the way here, my dog chased the car a lot. Uh, speaking of my uncle, he said I'm a psycho ceramic. And I said, 'Oh! What's that?' And he said, 'A crackpot.' My uncle said it. Then l have, uh, an aunt. l mean, l have a... And, uh, very absent-minded. And one day, uh, she had an itch and she poured syrup down her back and scratched her waffle...Are there any requests?"; someone in the hostile audience yelled back: "Yeah! Get off!"; he then suggested "I could do a number - my hit record - would anyone like to see that?”, but after he ineptly failed to set up a phonograph player for lip-synching his hit song and broke the record, he ad-libbed: "I could hum a part of it. Since you love jokes, that would be good, then. And since the phonograph wasn’t good, then maybe I could remember the song by heart - it would be better if I remembered it by mouth" - finally, after garbled attempts at singing, he did a few facial gags, and then asked: "Do you wanna hear more of that song?" - and his handlers in the audience magically transformed into a firing squad shooting at him
  • the flashback fantasy sequence of Stanley's humiliating high-school prom dance-hop experience, that he reminisced about with Ellen; he recalled how he had been mocked by other students for his rented tuxedo before he met the equally-gawky, teenaged Ellen and danced with her in the gymnasium of Harrington Heights HS; Ellen kindly reminded him after their shared memory together: "Of course it was good. The sweet things and the good things aren't always the things that make us better people. I think the heartaches and pleasant things, even the heavy burdens we've had placed upon us, make us stronger in the long run. And yes, it's nice to have pretty memories, and our hearts are happier when pain doesn't exist. But 'bad' is a test. If we can carry on after a bad thing happens, then we've grown up some. Wouldn't you agree?"
Flashback: Stanley's Awkward Prom Night With Ellen
  • Stanley's climactic live-TV appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, a "Big Night in Hollywood" silent pantomime skit, where he was introduced with a nod to Lewis himself: "The Beatles [and] Martin and Lewis all made their debuts"
  • in the finale, after Stanley had been disowned by his entourage because they thought he was a failure, Stanley fell backwards to his 'death' from the hotel suite's 10th floor balcony when backing up from the ever-loyal Ellen; she began weeping, but when he reappeared (revealing it was only a fake cityscape set), he reassured her, and used her real name (Ina Balin): "Aren't you overacting a little bit, Ms. Balling, Balin, Balin? It's a movie, see? I'm fine. The people in the theater know I ain't gonna die. It's a movie stage. Here, look at this, see? There's wires and lights and I'm gonna make more movies. So I couldn't die. It's like a make-believe. It's a dumb city"
  • when she responded to his real self: "Mr. Lewis, you are a complete nut," he replied, in jest: "Which reminds me, I'm having nuts and whipped cream for lunch. Would you join me please? Crew - that's lunch! One hour for the actors and seven days for the technicians. It's a movie set breaking once and for all, to go to have lunch..." - the camera reversed itself and broke the fourth wall, revealing the crew on the other side of the camera, as he walked off arm-in-arm with Ellen (Ina Balin); he had proved to be a success

Clumsy Beverly Hilton Hotel bellhop Stanley Belt (Jerry Lewis)

Stanley's Failed Lip-Synching Recording Session (Backed by a Trio)

Stanley's Live Performance of "I Lost My Heart in a Drive-In Movie"

Stanley's Debut at the Copa Cafe Nightclub

Firing Squad After Failed Performance

Ellen (Ina Balin) to Stanley: "If we can carry on after a bad thing happens..."

Stanley's Faked 'Death'

"Crew - that's lunch!"


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