Rock-A-Bye Baby (1958)

Popular wisdom asserts that Lewis did his best work under director Frank Tashlin’s supervision. It seems a reasonable enough assertion. Lewis’s gags are given structure and direction by Tashlin-he’s not pulling himself in 8 directions at once (as in Three on a Couch or The Family Jewels) or indulging in failed pathos, since let’s be honest here, his only non-failed pathos was the prom-speech that ended The Nutty Professor.

I was very curious to see what this film was exactly, since the premise of Lewis adopting triplets seemed, well, curious, as the premise of most solo Lewis outings is “Jerry Lewis breaks things.” However, none of the expected child abuse occurred. The film as a whole was fairly sweet if somewhat raunchy. Nowhere near the amount of strained sentimentality one would expect. Some gags showed some real invention and this is the film where Lewis has the most bizarre gadgets; if Lewis were Buster Keaton and The Ladies Man his Seven Chances, his picture dealing with horrific anxiety around the opposite sex, Rock-A-Bye Baby would be his take on The Electric House, his picture dealing with the anxiety the gadgets around you might get the better of you. One of the better Lewis solo-outings.

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