Nutty Professor

The Nutty Professor

4.4 5
Director: Jerry Lewis, Stella Stevens, Del Moore, Kathleen Freeman

Cast: Jerry Lewis, Stella Stevens, Del Moore, Kathleen Freeman


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Professor Julius F. Kelp (Jerry Lewis) is an addle-brained, absent-minded chemistry instructor always incurring the wrath of the university administration by continually blowing up the classroom laboratory. The shy guy has his eyes on the student body of Stella (Stella Stevens). When a football-playing bully humiliates him, Kelp tries to concoct a chemical to help him


Professor Julius F. Kelp (Jerry Lewis) is an addle-brained, absent-minded chemistry instructor always incurring the wrath of the university administration by continually blowing up the classroom laboratory. The shy guy has his eyes on the student body of Stella (Stella Stevens). When a football-playing bully humiliates him, Kelp tries to concoct a chemical to help him gain physical strength and stature. The potion turns him into the handsome, hard-edged nightclub singer named Buddy Love. The mild-mannered professor's alter ego becomes a self-absorbed campus favorite at the Purple Pit, a hangout for hip cats and kittens. Stella falls for the enigmatic entertainer who wows the crowd with his jazzy, breezy delivery and cool demeanor. Buddy mixes it up with the bartender (Buddy Lester), who is instructed on how to mix the latest drinks by the professor-turned-party animal. The drawback of the potion is that it wears off at the most embarrassing an inopportune times for Buddy, turning him back into the helpless Kelp. Buddy performs at the annual student dance, and while on the dais, the elixir starts to wear off. The students and staff watch in amazement as he changes back into the professor. He gives an impassioned plea that people must learn to like themselves before others can like them in return. Stella still wants to be the teacher's pet, and the two make future plans together.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Donald Liebenson
You can fact-check a legacy, but you can’t fact-check a legend. So, while the critical record books regard the considerable Jerry Lewis oeuvre dismissively -- the French like him, goes the cliché -- the viewer is left to wonder: Why was Lewis such a star? All the answer anyone needs can be found in his masterwork, The Nutty Professor (Docteur Jerry et Mister Love, to its most ardent fans). At No. 99, it just made the American Film Institute's list of the 100 funniest films of all time. Lewis stars as Professor Kelp (the model for Professor Frink on The Simpsons). Accident-prone, socially awkward, and repressed, Kelp creates a formula that hideously unleashes his lounge-lizard alter ego, the supremely arrogant Buddy Love, who wows the kids at the Purple Pit night spot ("one of the great swingers of all time") and romances student Stella Purdy (the luscious Stella Stevens). While Eddie Murphy played Love for laughs in his more mean-spirited remake, Lewis has nothing to Hyde as the monstrous Buddy ("Here you are, baby," he romances Stella. "Take this, wipe the lipstick off, slide over here next to me, and let's get started"). This special edition boasts a pristine transfer that does justice to the hallucinatory color design. Lewis's informal commentary with Steve Lawrence is welcome but something of a missed opportunity (he does not address long-held speculations that Buddy was his malevolent take on former partner Dean Martin), and a few of the bloopers seem to show Lewis getting his Love on with crew members. If you're going to own one Jerry Lewis film, The Nutty Professor makes the grade.
All Movie Guide - Bruce Eder
It's said that every clown secretly wants to play Hamlet. For Jerry Lewis, however, playing Professor Julius Ferris Kelp in The Nutty Professor (1963), a variant take on Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, was a more than satisfactory substitute. Co-authored, directed by, and starring Lewis, the movie's reputation has suffered from the fall in its creator's reputation over the ensuing 40 years. And Lewis' portrayal of Professor Kelp, the Jekyll half of his Jekyll-and-Hyde combination, is so overtly, surreally comical, with his chipmunk-like physiognomy, that the film was thought of and sold as a kid's movie. It is a comedy about a fairly serious and complex subject, a personality that is out of balance and its owner's quest for wholeness -- it actually has much more in common with such Steve Martin vehicles as All of Me than it does with such gag-laden Lewis vehicles as Who's Minding the Store? The movie has a fascinating subtext about masculinity repressed and suppressed from the cradle that makes it one of the boldest Hollywood "comedies" of its era. The flashback scenes between Howard Morris and Elvia Allman, as Kelp's parents, are funny and surreal, but also have a tragic edge to them -- and at 88 minutes in, there's a piece of dialogue between Lewis' and Stella Stevens' characters that is so quietly poignant and so piercingly on target that it almost turns this movie, for an instant, into a tragedy. With the help of Kelp's experiments upon himself, that repressed masculinity suddenly manifests itself, transforming the introverted, intensely cerebral Kelp into the self-confident, charismatic, extrovert Buddy Love. The latter actually bears a striking resemblance to Frank Sinatra in his Rat Pack days, and, what's more, to Sinatra at his realistically obnoxious, which he could be. Where Lewis resembles Dean Martin is in the quality of his portrayal, which rivals Martin's best screen performances. As a director, Lewis also proves a marvelous shaper of other performances -- he captures Stella Stevens, an actress whose career showed more promise than fulfillment, as an iconic figure of fresh, young, newly ripened female sexuality. Without a false note in her performance, or a wasted move or blink of an eye, she's a memorable mix of innocence, guileless lust, impetuousness, and wide-eyed wonder at the unbridled side of masculinity that she sees in Buddy Love. The shooting, editing, and scoring of the fantasy scene in which Kelp suddenly sees Stevens' character in different provocative guises recalls (and, indeed, parodies) the multi-faceted, idealized visions of Leslie Caron's character in her first on-screen appearance in Vincente Minnelli's An American in Paris. And that brings us to the music which, beyond the presence of Les Brown and his band, and Lewis' Buddy Love singing most impressively, features Walter Scharf having great fun with variations on such Paramount music library staples as Richard Rodgers' waltz "Lover" and Victor Young's "Stella by Starlight," all to very sophisticated comedic effect. And beyond the merits of its performances and direction, The Nutty Professor functions on yet another level, its Jekyll-and-Hyde story tailored to the '60s just as they were starting to swing; between them, Julius Kelp and Buddy Love embody the struggle between two rival visions of manhood, one responsible and circumspect, and the other bold, reckless, and grasping. The movie is a loopy take on the culture war that was just coming to the fore in 1963, between established staid ideals of the previous generation and the more hedonistic extrovert sexuality embodied by the morality of the 1960s, and represented by the image of the Rat Pack and the cool "swinger" Buddy Love (one can also detect the lurking influence of Playboy magazine in Love's behavior). The movie does over-reach a bit, trying to be too many things to a few too many people, and it ends three minutes later than it should have; but The Nutty Professor is as distinctive an achievement as the best works of Charles Chaplin, Buster Keaton, or Harold Lloyd.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Paramount Catalog
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Special Features

An intimate look at an artist who has entertained and educated audiences for more than eight decades Commentary by Jerry Lewis and Steve Lawrence Documentaries Featurettes Deleted scenes Bloopers Theatrical trailer

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Jerry Lewis Prof. Julius Ferris Kelp,Buddy Love
Stella Stevens Stella Purdy
Del Moore Dr. Hamius R. Warfield
Kathleen Freeman Millie Lemmon
Med Flory Football Player
Howard Morris Father Kelp
Norman Alden Football Player
Milton Frome Dr. Leevee
Buddy Lester Bartender
Marvin Kaplan English Boy
David Landfield College Student
Skip Ward Football Player
Julie Parrish Student
Master Henry Gibson Student
Mushy Callahan Cab Driver
Joe Forte Faculty Member
Gavin Gordon Salesman Clothier
Dave Willock Bartender
Celeste Yarnall Actor
Elvia Allman Mother Kelp
Brown Himself
Murray Alper Judo Instructor
Gary Lewis Boy
Doodles Weaver Rube
Francine York Student
Walter Scharf Conductor

Technical Credits
Jerry Lewis Director,Producer,Screenwriter
Ralph Axness Asst. Director
Robert R. Benton Set Decoration/Design
Louis Y. Brown Songwriter
Sam Comer Set Decoration/Design
Ernest D. Glucksman Producer
Edith Head Costumes/Costume Designer
W. Wallace Kelley Cinematographer
Paul K. Lerpae Special Effects
Lil Mattis Songwriter
Hal Pereira Art Director
Bill Richmond Screenwriter
Walter Scharf Score Composer
Arthur P. Schmidt Co-producer
Jack Stone Makeup
Walter Tyler Art Director
Wally Westmore Makeup
John M. Woodcock Editor


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The Nutty Professor 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
one must have comedy
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I bought my copy of ''The Nutty Professor'' after watching the copy I rented. It was really good. Professor Kelp makes a potion that turns him into Buddy Love, a rude man. This game of Jekyll-Hyde works pretty good, until the times when Buddy Love changes back into Kelp at the most embarrasing moments. This is definately a movie to own, although I think the remake was much better.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this would have to be one of jerry lewis best movies.the transformation of professor kelp to the good looking but vain buddy love was well acted.also jerry remembering his childhood was a this movie even if you are not a fan.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago