Eugene (Jerry Lewis) is a comic book-obsessed children’s author with an overactive imagination and Rick (Dean Martin) is his struggling artist roommate who begins to use Eugene’s dreams as the basis for a successful comic book. With his elaborate camera angles and lightning-fast editing, director Frank Tashlin earned an early reputation for bringing a cinematic experience to his cartoons at Warner Brothers and Disney, and his Technicolor live-action from 1955 works in the opposite direction. The exaggerated situational comedy and hyperreal characters embodied perfectly by Lewis and Martin—along with Shirley MacLaine and Dorothy Malone as the upstairs neighbors—make Artists and Models feel like Looney Tunes  in masquerade. A milestone satire of mid-1950s pop culture, Tashlin’s eye-popping film turns nearly every hot topic from its era into a joke: from Senate subcommittee hearings and the Cold War to the space race and the publishing business. Presented on a rare IB Technicolor Print! Print courtesy of the Chicago Film Society.

Preceded by:
Jerry Lewis Cinema Chain Outtakes
1970, 35mm, 5m

Swooner Crooner
Frank Tashlin, 1944, USA, 35mm, 8m
In Tashlin’s Oscar-nominated parody of World War II and entertainers of the time—from Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby to Jimmy Durante and Cab Calloway—Porky Pig’s military egg business faces production problems when a dapper crooning rooster distracts the hens from their jobs. Print courtesy of the Academy Film Archive.

“Unlike Bugs or Daffy whose every flinch of behavior had to shoot through a rational, human brain and onto a sheet of paper, Jerry Lewis came to Frank Tashlin inked and animated with his own wide range of insane emotions to spread across their first feature collaboration together. Tashlin stretched Jerry’s infinite talents wider across the screen than any other Lewis collaborator, and in return, molded and shaped Jerry Lewis the filmmaker. Tashlin’s dynamic animation principles are on full display here, long before Jerry applied them to his early self-directed films (one glance at Jerry’s own boards for The Nutty Professor and Tashlin’s influence is instantly tangible: Jerry’s choices in framing, pacing, gag reveals, and adventurous camera angles were right out of the Frank Tashlin instruction manual.)” –Owen Kline