The Nutty Professor (1963)
|Category||Comedy||Featurette-Paramount In The 50's Retrospective Featurette|
|Year Of Production||1963|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (56:12)||Cast & Crew|
|Start Up||Language Select Then Programme|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Jerry Lewis|
Paramount Home Entertainment
Louis Y. Brown
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
German Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||Yes|
|Action In or After Credits||Yes|
Soon Buddy Love is the talk of the campus and he is admired by both the male and female students of the college. Stella Purdy is attracted too, but seemingly in spite of herself. Although Buddy Love has become the new King of Cool, Stella is both drawn to and repulsed by Buddy. While Buddy Love is confident, he is also totally arrogant and brash. He takes what he wants and has little regard for what any might think. He knows that he'll sway everyone to his way of thinking, and so he acts accordingly. But the effect doesn't last forever and after a few hours the formula begins to wear off and the nerdish Professor Kelp begins to show through the bold Buddy Love exterior. Whenever this happens, Buddy runs away before his true identity is revealed.
But the double identity can't continue forever and it all comes to a head when both Buddy Love and Professor Kelp are invited to the School Prom. Buddy, at the overwhelming vote of the students is to be part of the night's entertainment and Prof. Kelp as a chaperone. With the professor required by the school to be a chaperone for the evening, the dual personas are destined to clash, and do they ever! But, the real question is - what will Stella think and who will she chose?
This film was directed and co-written (with Bill Richmond) by Jerry Lewis and he does a good job with his own material. This film is the perfect star vehicle to showcase the comedic talents of Jerry Lewis with his unique brand of goofy physical comedy. This he does to great effect without the need for elaborate special effects that the film's 1996 remake (starring Eddie Murphy) so much depended on. The physical transformations that Jerry Lewis undergoes are, with the exception of prosthetic teeth, totally acted. Instead of the easier morphing technique which of course was not available to the filmmakers of 1963, Jerry Lewis has to become Buddy Love and revert back to Professor Kelp almost totally through good old-fashioned acting. This he does with complete competence. It is a real treat to see Lewis in what could almost be called a straight role, something he has done only a few times, such as in Martin Scorsese's classic The King of Comedy: 1983. As to the style of character that is Professor Kelp, Lewis plays him in the style generations of film-goers are familiar with: nerdy, clumsy, nasal-voiced and nervous. All these traits he pushes to the limit to further contrast the film's two personas.
It is amazing the amount of times that when this reviewer has mentioned the film The Nutty Professor that people automatically assume that I'm referring to the 1996 Eddie Murphy remake. Although it's been almost 40 years since this film was released, it surely must be regarded as the superior film with genuine acting and story over prosthetic appliances and scatological jokes. This film stands for many as the crowning achievement of Jerry Lewis. While it may not be quite as funny as some of the early buddy films with Dean Martin, it is probably the one that many will regard as Jerry Lewis's film career high point. If you have only seen the Eddie Murphy version, you really do owe it to yourself to see the original. Recommended.
This film is presented on DVD in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, which varies slightly but acceptably from the original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1. The transfer is 16x9 enhanced.
The image presented on this disc is quite sharp and focused with the exceptions of when a frosted or soft focus lens is used, particularly on actress Stella Stevens. Whenever she is on-screen, her image is purposely blurred (see 44:08 and 58:22). This is a common technique used in films of this era and is intended by the director. Shadow detail is quite good with, for example, detail in the darkened night club scenes easily made out. Low level noise is kept at bay even in dark scenes and also with images that consist of single colours.
Although this film is about 40 years old, the colours are quite vibrant and don't seem to have faded with time. The print used for the transfer to DVD is very clean and the colours have a fresh vibrancy to them. Some of the colour use is fairly dated (some of Buddy Love's suits can only be described as "What The....?") but the quality is true and this film probably hasn't looked this good since it was released theatrically.
The compression job done to this disc is quite good with macro blocking and pixelization kept out of sight throughout the presentation. Aliasing is a minor issue with this title and is largely absent with the notable exception of Buddy Love's striped suit that has so many thin lines that it is a sea of shimmering. This can be seen at 58:30 and any other time the suit is on-screen. There is some minor frame jumping to be seen during the feature such as at 8:49 where the whole frame seems to move up and down and also at 36:10 where the image jumps for just a slight moment. There are some slight light fluctuations visible during some scenes where a character may be standing in front of a solidly coloured wall. This looks to be a problem with the original film stock and doesn't have anything to do with the film's transfer to DVD. These minor artefacts are not overly distracting to the enjoyment of the film, but they are noticeable. Film artefacts are largely absent with only the very occasional nick and fleck evident.
This disc offers several subtitle options with the English subtitles conveying as best as possible the meaning of the spoken word without being word for word. So much is conveyed in Jerry Lewis' voice while in the Professor Kelp role that subtitles will almost always come off a very second best which isn't so much an issue with those that don't use English as a first language as it is with those that are hard of hearing.
This disc is RSDL formatted with the layer change taking place at 56:12 which is just a few seconds before the start of Chapter 9. An odd place for a layer change, but not overly disruptive to the film.
There are 5 audio tracks available on this DVD with all bar English being presented as Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded soundtracks. The English track is in Dolby Digital 5.1.
The quality of the dialogue is very good with the spoken word easily understandable throughout this picture. There is what seems to be some fairly ordinary dialogue looping that is detectable during several scenes in this film One major example is visible and audible between 71:12 and 72:35. Within this section of the film, the sound doesn't seem to quite match what looks to be spoken. Again, this is an artefact that doesn't destroy the mood or overall quality of the film, but it is noticeable.
Music for the film is by Walter Scharf who provides a horn-oriented score that has a slightly dated sound but is totally in keeping with the tone and mood of the film. Louis Y. Brown provides the song "We've Got a World that Swings" which is performed by Buddy Love in the film.
The surround channels provide the requisite amount of atmosphere without being overly active. The presentation is more akin to a matrixed surround sound mix rather than a full-blown discrete 5.1 mix.
|Surround Channel Use|
The Audio Options menu offers the 5 languages available, these being:
The Subtitle menu is styled in the same manner as the Audio Options menu with all the above language options listed with the addition of Danish, Dutch, Norwegian, Swedish and Turkish. The menu is static and without audio. It is 16x9 enhanced.
The Special Features menu is themed as the other menus are with the image being of a cowering Professor Kelp being stood over by one of his students. The option available on this menu is:
The Special Features menu is presented static, silent and is 16x9 enhanced.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The video is quite good with no major flaws visible. A very clean print for its age.
The audio is workable with a ProLogic-like 5.1 mix available.
The extras are almost nonexistent with only a promotional video clip available.
|DVD||Panasonic A300-MU, using S-Video output|
|Display||Hitachi CP-L750W LCD Projector. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to DVD player. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||VAF DC-X fronts; VAF DC-6 center; VAF DC-2 rears; LFE-07subwoofer (80W X 2)|