Money from Home

| June 26, 2017

Once upon a time, you could go to the theater and see Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis in Technicolor AND 3-D in their 1953 collaboration, Money from Home. A milestone for the team, Money from Home would be Martin and Lewis’ only 3-D film (weird to think about seeing a Martin/Lewis musical in 3-D given how 3-D is used nowadays) and marked their first starring appearances in a color film! Apart from the 3-D gimmick and the team’s premiering lead in a color feature, Money from Home is hardly a standout film from the Martin/Lewis filmography, but it does deliver on plenty of laughs as the narrative escalates.

When you hear about the reasons of the Martin and Lewis split, I always think about films of Money from Home’s sort: providing plenty for Jerry Lewis to do comedically while Martin fades into the background as the romantic lead. Sure, the film starts out Martin-strong with Martin playing compulsive gambler Honey Talk, who finds himself in deep with the mob and forced to find a way to take a specific race horse out of a specific horse race. To do so, he enlists the aid of his bumbling cousin Virgil (Lewis), and only thereafter does the comedy really ramp up, as it becomes consistently more entertaining throughout. Unfortunately, it does so at the expense of Martin, who is funny but decidedly underutilized.

Lewis, as usual, kills though. His character putting on a British accent as he impersonates a noted British jockey kept me in stitches, and he predictably delivers on the physical comedy. So I find in Money from Home everything I look for from Jerry Lewis, but little of what I hope to see from Dean Martin. Of course, I find myself saying that about most Martin and Lewis collaborations. (The film also mercifully keeps the musical numbers to a bare minimum, which should be celebrated.)

In spite of its problems, Money from Home is worth checking out, given that it was such a milestone for the duo. And if you’re keen on picking up a copy, the Blu-ray release from Olive Films is definitely the way to go. Though it lacks any special features, the transfer is beautiful, clean and crisp throughout. While the release doesn’t include the film in 3-D as it was originally released, the picture does pop with all the vibrancy you’d expect from a film in Technicolor. Now there is a bit of discoloration in the print about an hour in that flickers down the middle of the frame for about three minutes, but it’s an otherwise stellar transfer that’s worth adding to your collection if you’re a fan of the Martin/Lewis teaming.

[One thing I should note about Money from Home with regard to content, however, is that there are a host of “Arabian” characters throughout that play into decidedly 1950’s stereotypes. While not an uncommon depiction for its time, it might offend those with a more modern and culturally sensitive sensibility. More importantly, though, it might be one you want to wait to introduce your kids to until they’re old enough to discuss the nuance of such problematically dated racial depictions.]

About the Author:

Jef is a writer and educator in Chicago, Illinois. He holds a degree in Media & Cinema Studies from DePaul University, but sometimes he drops it and picks it back up again. He's also the Editor-in-Chief of FilmMonthly.com and is fueled entirely by coffee (as if you couldn't tell).
Filed in: Video and DVD
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