This year's retrospective is dedicated to Jerry Lewis
From October 18th to November 24th at the Austrian Filmmuseum
Jerry Lewis has always been a film artist who polarized: Some saw him as a great comedian, who continued the tradition of Chaplin, Laurel & Hardy and Buster Keaton, others saw him as shrill hyperactive clown with infantile humor responding to the lowest instincts. The large-scale retrospective of Viennale and Austrian Filmmuseum screens more than 30 works of Jerry Lewis.
We went in search of details less known about Jerry Lewis:
Jerry Lewis was not only very successful in the movie business, in 1977, after he had collected millions of dollars for the fight against muscular dystrophy, he was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. But in the end Amnesty International was awarded
Jerry Lewis was not only an actor and director but has also taught the film class at the University of California. Two of his students were called George Lucas and Steven Spielberg.
Professor John Frink from the series THE SIMPSONS is based on Jerry Lewis' role of Professor Kelp from THE NUTTY PROFESSOR (1963). In the episode "Treehouse of Horror XIV" (2003 ) Lewis lent his voice to John Frink senior.
According to his own statement Lewis's best friend, next to Dean Martin, was entertainer Sammy Davis Jr. When Davis was confronted with racist attacks for being in a relationship with a white woman, he asked Lewis for advice.
Lewis took over the lead role in the film THE DAY THE CLOWN CRIED, to which he also wrote the screenplay and was the producer. Because of legal dispute the film, which tells the story of a clown in Auschwitz during the 2nd World War, was never released. Lewis commented on the work recently: "I was ashamed of the work, and I was grateful that I had the power to contain it all, and never let anyone see it. It was bad, bad, bad."
In 1969 he was planning a cinema chain named "Jerry Lewis Cinemas", which should only show family-friendly movies. The project failed already in the planning phase because of the decline in popularity of the classic family cinema and resulting in quarrels within the management. The project "Jerry Lewis Cinemas" resulted in countless lawsuits and court appointments.