Artists and Models (1955): Frank Tashlin Comedy, Starring Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis

Artists and Models (1955)  (See below review of Artists and Models, 1937)

This musical comedy, directed by Frank Tashlin in VistaVision, was Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis’ 14th feature together and their biggest budgeted project.

Production values are high, especially costumes designed by Edith Head.

Tashlin, then best known for the Looney Tunes, also helmed the team’s last film, Hollywood or Bust, and later collaborated on half a dozen pictures in which Lewis starred solo.

The tale revolves around the concept of the Odd Couple: A struggling Greenwich Village artist and his goofy roommate unwittingly get involved in spy intrigue.

After Rick Todd gets a job drawing for a gory science fiction comic book, he desperately needs story ideas. For help, he turns to his roommate, Eugene Fullstack, a fan of lurid comics who keeps having wildly imaginative nightmares as a result of what he reads.

Rick starts stealing the plot lines from Eugene’s dreams to use in his work, but the two of them get into trouble because the stories somehow contain real national security secrets. As a result, they are pursued by both U.S. agents and spies, with typically funny, chaotic results.

 

Artists and Models (1937)

In this musical comedy, directed by the versatile and prolific helmer Raoul Walsh, Jack Benny, in one of his first starring roles, plays Mac Brewster, an advertising executive who tries to land a silverware account, and then hold on to it as his biggest client.

The artists of the title include the gifted comedian-cartoonists Peter Arno and Rube Goldberg.

The silver company is run by Alan Townshend (Richard Arlen), who employs in the office Paula Sewell (Ida Lupino), a woman longing to compete in the Artists and Models Ball and win the title of Queen.

Poor Paula: professional models are frowned upon at the Ball, and all entrants must be debutantes. Among them is the snooty Cynthia Wentworth (Gail Patrick), who looks to be a shoo-in to win. But Paula has a plan of how to win the desirable crown—and more.

Among the highlights is a scene in which the brilliant jazz musician Louis Armstrong performs a tune with Martha Raye.

Oscar Nominations: 1

Song; Whispers in the Dark, music by Frederick Hollander; lyrics by Leo Robin

Oscar Awards: None

Oscar Context:

The Song Oscar went to Harry Owens’ “Sweet Leilani” from “Waikiki Wedding.”

 

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