Rock-a-Bye-Baby (1958) ⭐️⭐️

Director: Frank Tashlin. Cast: Jerry LewisMarilyn MaxwellReginald Gardiner,Salvatore Baccaloni

This film perfectly encapsulates the mood, the colour and the charm of the late 1950s: a time of innocence and naivety (but also, as ever, of slight misogyny and a bit of misjudged racism).The plot (if we can call it that) revolves around a Hollywood star who gets pregnant with triplets, but to avoid the scandal (and losing a part in a movie) she decides to hand over the babies to an old flame of hers (Jerry Lewis of course).

Jerry Lewis, here on his solo outing without Dean Martin, does what he usually does, but also show a sweeter side of him in the film, especially when dealing with the triplets and tries the perfect dad: there are some perfectly enjoyable scenes here and there, though the best in the film is right at the beginning and has nothing to do with babies but with a hose pipe going mad. What I found very odd about this is how the film spends an awful long time to set up all the characters and the “stakes” and then in the last 5 minutes it subverts them all and in a blink of an eyes it slaps on a happy ending which comes out of nowhere and it’s completely unearned. But hey, it’s a Jerry Lewis after all: they rarely make sense.

Overall it’s a mid-to-average one, perfectly charming, sweet and watchable, with a few sweet gags here and there but only recommendable if you are a Jerry Lewis fan… which my 8 years old son is, because every week we now have to endure one of these for his movie-night choice. We’ve seen a lot worse.

As movie buff (read: geek) I couldn’t help noticing that the exterior of the town was filmed at the Universal backlot where 30 years later they would film “Hill Valley town square” in Back to the Future: they look exactly alike!

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