Cracking Up (film)
Theatrical Poster for the Belgian Release (Under its original title)
|Directed by||Jerry Lewis|
|Produced by||Peter Nelson
|Written by||Jerry Lewis
|Distributed by||Warner Brothers|
|Release date(s)||April 13, 1983 (France)|
|Running time||83 minutes|
Cracking Up is a comedy film directed by and starring Jerry Lewis. Originally titled Smorgasbord, it was filmed in 1981-82 and only received limited distribution in the United States. It is the last film to be directed by Lewis.
Warren Nefron (Jerry Lewis) is a klutz who cannot do anything right. He tells his psychiatrist, Dr. Pletchick (Herb Edelman), his problems. Through a series of flashbacks the viewer sees Nefron's life story.
Warren is such a failure that even his many attempts to commit suicide fail. Eventually the psychiatrist uses hypnosis to cure Warren. However, although Warren is now cured, the psychiatrist has experienced transference and now has all of Nefron's problems.
The story ends with Warren and a young woman attending a film called Smorgasbord.
It includes many cameos, including Sammy Davis Jr., Dick Butkus, and Milton Berle. In December 1982, after filming completed, Lewis underwent triple-bypass heart surgery at the Desert Springs Hospital, Las Vegas NV.
The film is basically a series of short comic skits, set-pieces, and black-out gags, unified by Nefron's attempt to overcome his phobias and malaise, fit into society, find meaning, and achieve happiness. The opening credit sequence is a tour-de-force performance of Nefron (Lewis) unable to get traction on the furniture and floor of his doctor's waiting room (a wry comment, under the pratfalls, on vinyl and plastic decor) and has justifiably become a fan favorite. Other highlights are when Nefron tries to order dinner from a waitress who insists on listing every option on the menu (done in a whiny nasaly voice), a Southern sheriff with a glove problem (Lewis, who plays at least two other parts as well), and a running gag involving Nefron's attempts to quit smoking.
The film was released theatrically in some European countries, notably France (where it was released on April 13, 1983 by Warner Bros.), Belgium and Italy. It was previewed in the U.S. in Wichita, Kansas under its original title Smorgasbord but was not subsequently released in the U.S., going directly to cable and on videocassette. In May 1985 it was given a two-day run at New York's Thalia Theater, again under its original title, and then played a smattering of revival houses, art cinemas, and film festivals.
Home media 
Warner Archive released the film on made-to-order DVD in the United States on May 18, 2010.
- Jerry Lewis as Warren
- Herb Edelman as the Psychiatrist
- Zane Buzby as the Waitress
- Milton Berle as the Lady
- Foster Brooks as the Pilot
- Dick Butkus as Anti-Smoking Enforcer
- Francine York as Marie
- Sammy Davis, Jr. as Himself
|This film article about a 1980s comedy is a stub. You can help Wikipedia by expanding it.|