Caddy, The (1953): Sports Comedy Musical, Starring Dean Martin and Je

Norman Taurog directed The Caddy, a sports musical-comedy, starring the team of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, at the height of their popularity.

The movie is known for Martin’s introduction of the hit song “That’s Amore,” which became hugely popular for decades. (It’s one of Martin’s signature elements).

This movie contains cameo appearances by some of the lead professional golfers of the era (playing themselves), including Ben Hogan, Sam Snead, Byron Nelson, and Julius Boros.

The tale centers on Harvey Miller, who is expected to follow in his footsteps–his father was a famous golf pro–but Harvey is full of anxieties, he’s afraid of crowds.

Instead, at the advice of fiancée Lisa, Harvey becomes golf instructor. Meanwhile, Lisa’s brother Joe becomes Harvey’s first client, and Joe proves good enough to start playing in tournaments, with Harvey as his caddie.

They encounter a wealthy socialite who Joe wins over.

Joe’s success goes to his head and he begins to mistreat Harvey. When they quarrel and cause a disruption at a tournament, Joe is disqualified. However, a talent agent witnesses the spectacle and advises they go into showbusiness.

Harvey manages to conquer his fear, and they become successful entertainers.

At the end, Harvey and Joe meet up with another comedy team who look just like them: Martin and Lewis!

The movie was shot from November 24, 1952 through February 23, 1953 and was released by Paramount on August 10, 1953.

It was later rereleased in 1964 on a double bill with another Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis picture, You’re Never Too Young (1955).

This was the team’s first film since At War with the Army (1950) to be made by their own production company, York Pictures Corporation.

During the shoot, on January 8, 1953 production was suspended for 23 days when Lewis entered Cedars Hospital with fever. As a result, the movie became Martin and Lewis’ most expensive to date.

Oscar Context:

The score for the film includes the hit “That’s Amore,” sung by Dean Martin, which was nominated for an Oscar for Best Original Song.  However, it lost to the hit “Secret Love” from the Doris Day movie, Calamity Jane.

The team made promotional radio message for the movie. Several outtakes, available on The Golden Age of Comedy: Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis CD, feature the duo trying to get through five lines of dialogue. When either one of them messed up a line, they exchanged  profanity.

The film is included on 8-film DVD set, the Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis Collection: Volume One, released on October 31, 2006.

Donna Reed

The career of Donna Reed saw huge upswing after The Caddy. Five days prior to release, Columbia exhibited From Here to Eternity, starring Reed. Reed went on to win the Best Supporting Actress for that film. The two pictures were shown in theaters during the same period and both were commercially successful.

Cast
Dean Martin as Joe Anthony
Jerry Lewis as Harvey Miller Jr.
Donna Reed as Kathy Taylor
Barbara Bates as Lisa Anthony
Joseph Calleia as Papa Anthony
Fred Clark as Mr. Baxter aka Old Skinhead
Clinton Sundberg as Charles, Butler
Howard Smith as Golf Official
Marshall Thompson as Bruce Reeber
Marjorie Gateson as Mrs. Grace Taylor
Frank Puglia as Mr. Spezzato
Lewis Martin as Mr. Taylor
Argentina Brunetti as Mama Anthony
John Gallaudet as Jonathan Bell
William Edmunds as Caminello
Henry Brandon as Mr. Preen
Tom Harmon as Himself (Golf Announcer)
Nancy Kulp as Emma, Drunk’s Wife

Credits:

Directed by Norman Taurog
Screenplay by Danny Arnold, Edmund Hartmann
Produced by Paul Jones
Cinematography Daniel L. Fapp
Edited by Warren Low
Music by Joseph J. Lilley
Production company: York Pictures Corporation
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release date: August 10, 1953
Running time 95 minutes
Budget: $1,864,112
Box office $3.5 million (US); 1,008,197 admissions (France)

Note:

TCM showed the movie on November 19, 2021.