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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Rock A Bye Baby (1958)

After a quickie secret marriage to a bullfighter in Mexico which finds her a widow within 24 hours, a movie actress (Marilyn Maxwell) finds herself pregnant. With the biggest movie role of her career before her, she drops out and secretly has the babies and asks an old boyfriend (Jerry Lewis) to take care of the babies while she goes off to Egypt to make her movie. Very loosely based on Preston Sturges' screenplay to MIRACLE OF MORGAN'S CREEK, director Frank Tashlin does what he can with the erratic material. The laughs are sporadic and all in all this is one of Lewis's weakest efforts. Still, as always, there are laughs to be had like when Lewis plays multiple characters as he pretends he's on television or Ida Moore as an old lady obsessed with TV commercials (probably the most Tashlinian moment in the film). Unfortunately, though not a musical as such, the film is saddled with several truly awful songs by Sammy Cahn and Harry Warren though the White Virgin Of The Nile production number with Maxwell is intentionally cheesy and amusing. The cast includes Connie Stevens who gets "and introducing" billing, Hope Emerson, Reginald Gardiner, Isobel Elsom, James Gleason, Hans Conreid and the Italian opera star, Salvatore Baccaloni.

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