The Disorderly Orderly
|The Disorderly Orderly|
Theatrical lobby card
|Directed by||Frank Tashlin|
|Produced by||Paul Jones|
|Written by||Norm Liebermann and Ed Haas (Story)
Frank Tashlin (Screenplay)
|Music by||Joseph J. Lilley|
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
|Box office||$2,700,000 (US/ Canada rentals)
1,434,122 admissions (France)
The Disorderly Orderly is a 1964 American comedy film released by Paramount Pictures, and starring Jerry Lewis. The film was produced by Paul Jones with a screenplay by director Frank Tashlin, based on a story by Norm Liebermann and Ed Haas.
Jerome Littlefield (Lewis) is an orderly at the Whitestone Sanatorium and Hospital who suffers from "neurotic identification empathy"—a psychosomatic problem that causes him to suffer the symptoms of others and interferes with his ability to function effectively on the job. His unwitting propensity for slapstick-style mayhem sorely tries the patience of Dr. Howard (Glenda Farrell) and Nurse Higgins (Kathleen Freeman).
When his high school crush Susan Andrews (Susan Oliver) is admitted to the hospital after a suicide attempt, Jerome gradually comes to the realization that his problem is a result of his years-long obsession with her. While he fails to establish a romantic relationship with Susan, he does lift her spirits, thus banishing any thought of suicide and giving her the will to live.
A runaway gurney is chased by several ambulances and causes the destruction of ceiling-high canned goods displays in a grocery store. Littlefield is cured of his problem, reunited with his girlfriend Julie (Karen Sharpe), and looking forward to resuming his interrupted medical school career.
- Jerry Lewis as Jerome Littlefield
- Susan Oliver as Susan
- Kathleen Freeman as Nurse Higgins
- Glenda Farrell as Dr. Howard
- Karen Sharpe as Julie
- Alice Pearce as Patient
- Barbara Nichols as Patient
- Jack E. Leonard as Patient
- Everett Sloane as Mr. Tuffington
The title song, sung over the opening credits, is performed by Sammy Davis, Jr.
While Howard Thompson of the New York Times (December 24, 1964) liked a few comedic bits and praised some secondary performers, he generally panned The Disorderly Orderly writing, "[The film] runs dry at the end of the first third — like a juiceless watermelon — and splits open, with about the same results."
The film was released to Region 1 DVD in United States in October 2004.