The Bellboy

For other uses, see Bellboy (disambiguation).
The Bellboy
Directed by Jerry Lewis
Produced by Jerry Lewis
Written by Jerry Lewis
Starring Jerry Lewis
Alex Gerry
Bob Clayton
Milton Berle
Music by Walter Scharf
Cinematography Haskell B. Boggs
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release dates
  • July 20, 1960 (1960-07-20)
Running time
72 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $10 million
836,783 admissions (France)[1]

The Bellboy is a 1960 comedy film written, produced, directed by and starring Jerry Lewis. It was released on July 20, 1960 by Paramount Pictures and marked Lewis's directorial debut.


A studio executive (Jack Kruschen in an uncredited role) introduces the movie, explaining that it has no plot, but simply shows Stanley the hotel bellboy (played by Lewis) getting in one ridiculous situation after another, and that the movie is "so funny" before breaking out into hysterical laughter. Stanley does not speak, except at the very end of the movie. Lewis also appears in a speaking role playing himself escorted by a large entourage.


Principal photography took place from February 8 to March 5, 1960 and marked Jerry Lewis's debut as a director. Filming took place at the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida; Lewis would film during the day and perform in the nightclub at night.[2]

Before he began, Lewis consulted his friend Stan Laurel about the script. Since Laurel had worked in silent films and was a master of English pantomime, he offered suggestions. It is unknown if Lewis used any of Laurel's ideas in the production.[3] But it is believed Lewis paid homage to the comic by naming his character 'Stanley' after him. A Stan Laurel lookalike character also appears throughout the story, portrayed by writer and impressionist Bill Richmond.

The film marked the pioneering use of a video assist system, providing Lewis a way to see the action even though he was in the scene.[4]

Paramount wanted to have a Jerry Lewis movie for summer release (in North America). The movie that it wanted to release was Cinderfella, which had finished shooting in December 1959. Lewis wanted to hold back the release of that movie for the Christmas 1960 holiday and Paramount only agreed if Jerry could deliver another movie for summer. Therefore, while playing an engagement in Miami Beach, Lewis came up with this.


Milton Berle was in town performing at another hotel while Lewis was shooting the picture and agreed to make an appearance as himself and in a dual role as another bellboy. Comedian (and future co-writer with Lewis on many of Jerry's subsequent films) Bill Richmond does several cameos as Stan Laurel. Professional golfer Cary Middlecoff, the "Golf Doctor," appeared as himself.

Box office and other revenue

The film grossed about $10 million in the USA alone.[5]

U.S. and Canada rentals reached $3.7 million.[6]

Home media

This film was released on DVD on October 12, 2004.[9]

See also


  1. Box office information for film at Box Office Story
  2. Goyanes, Ily (August 26, 2010). "Celluloid City: Jerry Lewis Is The Bellboy at the Fontainebleau Hotel". Retrieved 2013-10-08.
  3. Jerry Lewis At Work (included in the Paramount DVD release of The Nutty Professor
  4. Franich, Darren (October 6, 2013). "The Bellboy (1960)". Movie Tech Breakthroughs: 10 That Broke the Mold. Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2013-10-06. Lewis wanted to be able to look at scenes even when he was on screen. So he used primordial video technology, putting a video camera next to the film camera. This system became known as video playback and was basically used by everyone in Hollywood, before everyone in Hollywood stopped shooting on film.
  5. Lewis, Jerry; Gluck, Herb (1982). Jerry Lewis In Person. New York: Atheneum. p. 226. ISBN 0-689-11290-4.
  6. "Rental Potentials of 1960", Variety, 4 January 1961 p 47.
  7. Sachs, Ben (May 23, 2012). "Now playing: Battleship, which isn't quite terrible". Chicago Reader. Retrieved 2013-10-08.
  8. "The Bellboy". The Quentin Tarantino Archives Community. June 21, 2002. Retrieved 2013-10-08.
  9. "The Bellboy: Review of the DVD Video". Retrieved 2013-10-08.
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