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The Patsy ()

directed by
featuring Jerry Lewis, Ina Balin, Everett Sloane, Phil Harris, Keenan Wynn

Toward the end of Jerry Lewis's Paramount studio period, Lewis slapped together this bitter comedy about Hollywood phoniness and fame that has to be the most rancid portrait of the Hollywood star system in the Rat Pack era this side of Clifford Odets. When a famous entertainer suddenly is killed in an airplane crash, his team of flunkies -- producer Caryl Fergusson (Everett Sloane), writer Chic Wymore (Phil Harris), press agent Harry Silver (Keenan Wynn), director Morgan Heywood (Peter Lorre in his final film role), valet Bruce Alden (John Carradine), and secretary Ellen Betz (Ina Balin) -- decide to continue their life style by finding a complete unknown and manufacturing him into a Hollywood star. That unknown turns out to be the nervous and inept bellboy Stanley Belt (Jerry Lewis). They train Stanley to become an over-night singing sensation, and despite a disastrous recording session and a failed nightclub performance, the public relations blitz makes Stanley's recording of "I Lost My Heart in a Drive-In Movie" a smash single. So much so that Stanley is given a shot at appearing on "The Ed Sullivan Show." Expecting the worst, Stanley's management team abandons him right before his performance. But Stanley musters up enough confidence to go on the live program alone and manages to surprise his pessimistic ex-staff. A collection of Hollywood celebrities circa 1964 --George Raft, Ed Wynn, Ed Sullivan, Mel Torme, Rhonda Fleming and Hedda Hopper -- make cameo appearances. High spots include an apocalyptic music lesson with voice teacher Dr. Mule-rrr (Hans Conried), Ed Sullivan performing a bizarre impersonation of himself, and an ending that would make even Jean-Luc Godard blush. Paul Brenner, Rovi Hide synopsis

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