Rock-A-Bye Baby (film)

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Rock-A-Bye Baby
Rockabyebaby.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byFrank Tashlin
Produced byJerry Lewis
Written byFrank Tashlin
Based onA previous screenplay
by Preston Sturges
Starring
Music by
CinematographyHaskell B. Boggs
Edited byAlma Macrorie
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
Running time
103 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Box office$3.1 million (US and Canada rentals)[1]
1,608,274 admissions (France)[2]

Rock-A-Bye Baby is a 1958 American musical comedy film starring Jerry Lewis. A loose remake of Preston Sturges' 1944 film The Miracle of Morgan's Creek, the film was directed and written by Frank Tashlin, and features Marilyn Maxwell, Connie Stevens and Reginald Gardiner. This film was Preston Sturges' last screenplay work in his lifetime, before his death on August 6, 1959 from a heart attack.

Plot[edit]

Clayton Poole (Jerry Lewis) is a small-town TV repairman whose former sweetheart, Carla Naples (Marilyn Maxwell), is now a famous movie star. Carla marries a Mexican bullfighter and becomes pregnant; her husband dies the day after the wedding in a bull-fight. Her agent, Harold Herman (Reginald Gardiner) tries to avoid a scandal by sending Carla into the country to give birth. He suggests that they send the baby back to the town where she grew up, Midvale. The cover story will be that she is going into seclusion to prepare for her next role, the lead in the religious epic The White Virgin of the Nile. After, she can adopt her baby. Carla says that her sister is too young and her father hasn't forgiven her for becoming a movie star, so Carla decides on Clayton to take care of her baby.

After she gives birth, Carla asks if Clayton will help her. Still professing his undying devotion, Clayton agrees to care for the child. He is very surprised to discover that it is triplets, not one baby. Carla's sister, Sandy (Connie Stevens), offers to help Clayton (she is in love with him and will do anything to get his attention).

Clayton works very had to take care of the triplets, taking on extra work and attending a course on motherhood at a local college, but Midvale's child services want to place them with a well-to-do two-parent family. He earns the respect of Carla's father (Salvatore Baccaloni) in his efforts to care for the triplets; both he and Carla's sister, Sandy, support Clayton keeping the babies.

On the final court day, the Naples family jump in to rescue Clayton and the triplets. Sandy enters the court in a wedding gown, pursued by her father, who is carrying a shotgun and claims that the babies are Sandy's. The Judge marries them, the implication being that they can keep the triplets. Meanwhile, Carla has seen the Midvale news and is afraid that her triplets will be taken from Clayton. She releases a press statement that triplets are hers and that she and Clayton are secretly married. Now suspected of bigamy, Clayton goes into hiding with the triplets.

Then, truth comes out: Carla was married to a famous and now-deceased Mexican bull-fighter, so Clayton isn't a bigamist nor is the father of the triplets. Harold, who is in-love with her, proposes. She accepts. Clayton then realizes that he's actually in love with Sandy, who has always loved him, not Carla. While taking a romantic walk and wondering when they can marry, they realize that they are married. Nine months later, Sandy gives birth to quintuplets. A statue of Clayton and his five babies is erected in front of the town courthouse, as Midvale's Hero.[3][4][5]

Cast[edit]

Cast notes:

  • Two of the original Keystone Kops, Hank Mann and Chester Conklin, have bit parts.
  • Jerry Lewis' son Gary Lewis plays "Clayton Poole" as a boy in a fantasy sequence.[6]
  • A picture of comedian Jack Benny was used as a photograph of "Carlos", the Mexican bullfighter that Carla married, and the father of her triplets.[6]
  • George Sanders is listed in some cast lists for the film,[7] but his part was cut before the movie was released, as was a small part played by Jerry Lewis' father, Danny.[6]

Production[edit]

Rock-A-Bye Baby was loosely based on Preston Sturges' 1944 film The Miracle of Morgan's Creek, which starred Eddie Bracken and Betty Hutton, and because of this Sturges received a writer's credit on the film, although he did not actually work on the project.

Rock-a-Bye Baby was filmed from November 18, 1957 through January 8, 1958,[8] and opened in Los Angeles on July 16, 1958, followed by a premiere in New York City on July 23. It went in general release shortly afterwords.[9] The film was re-released in 1962 on a double bill with another Jerry Lewis film, Don't Give Up The Ship.[6]

Songs and music[edit]

The songs in Rock-A-Bye Baby were written by Harry Warren (music) and Sammy Cahn (lyrics):[10][11]

  • "Rock-a-Bye Baby" – sung by Jerry Lewis[12]
  • "The Land of La-La-La" – sung by Jerry Lewis and Gary Lewis
  • "Love Is a Lonely Thing" – sung by Jerry Lewis
  • "Dormi, Dormi, Dormi (Sleep-Sleep-Sleep)" – sung by Salvatore Baccaloni and Jerry Lewis
  • "Why Can't He Care for Me?" – sung by Connie Stevens
  • "The White Virgin of the Nile" – sung by Marilyn Maxwell
  • "Rock My Baby, Rock" – sung by Jerry Lewis

Songs and music notes:

  • Another song by Warren and Cahn, "Me and My Baby", was written for the film but not used.[6]
  • The musical numbers in the film were staged by Nicholas Castle, Sr.[13]
  • Because of a musician's strike, Walter Scharf's score had to be recorded in Mexico City in March 1958, and causing union musicians to picket a preview of the film in Los Angeles on June 3, 1958. Some reports maintain that Lewis himself conducted the 100-piece orchestra.[6]
  • "Rock My Baby, Rock" is a spoof of rock and roll music, with Lewis fronting a group dressed and equipped in similar fashion to Bill Haley & His Comets, and incorporating a drum solo performed by Lewis.

Home media[edit]

The film was released on DVD and Blu-ray on February 14, 2012 through the Olive Films company.[14]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Cohn, Lawrence (October 15, 1990). "All-Time Film Rental Champs". Variety. p. M182.
  2. ^ Box office information for film in France at Box Office Story
  3. ^ Adams, Les Plot summary (IMDB)[unreliable source?]
  4. ^ TCM Full synopsis
  5. ^ Brennan, Sandra Plot synopsis (Allmovie)
  6. ^ a b c d e f TCM Notes
  7. ^ Allmovie Cast
  8. ^ IMDB Business data[unreliable source?]
  9. ^ TCM Overview
  10. ^ IMDB Soundtracks[unreliable source?]
  11. ^ TCM Music
  12. ^ This is not the song "Rock-a-Bye Your Baby with a Dixie Melody" by Jean Schwartz (music) and Sam M. Lewis and Joe Young (lyrics), dating from 1918, with which Jerry Lewis had a Top Ten hit in the 1950s. Nor is it (given the context of the film) the nursery rhyme of the same title.
  13. ^ TCM Full credits
  14. ^ https://www.amazon.com/Rock---Bye-Baby-Jerry-Lewis/dp/B006A8XGXE/ref=sr_1_1?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1324238249&sr=1-1[unreliable source?]

External links[edit]