Many consider the 1963 movie, The Nutty Professor, the finest film of Jerry Lewis. He co-wrote the film’s story with Bill Richmond and was also its director. The film’s selection in 2004 for preservation in the United States National Film Registry speaks volumes about its significance.
In the year 1996, a remake of this film was released with Eddie Murphy and Jada Pinkett-Smith in leading roles. The director of the 1996 movie is Tom Shadyac. An animated sequel of the 1963 movie came out in 2008.
Celeste Yarnall’s role in the film
Celeste Yarnall made her debut with this movie, playing the role of a college student. Among her co-stars in this film were Julie Parrish and Stella Stevens.
When a bully embarrasses and attacks Professor Julius Kelp, he joins a local gym for building his body. He is a socially awkward university professor with a nerdy look. The lack of physical strength prompts him to seek a solution in chemistry. He invents a serum, which turns him into the suave, handsome, and charming ‘Buddy Love’.
The personality he has newly acquired offers him the required self-confidence to pursue one of his students. Her name is Stella Purdy. She feels a strange attraction towards Buddy Love although she resents him. With a jazzy and breezy musical performance at the Purple Pit nightclub, Buddy wows the crowd. This is the place where most of his students hang out.
While at the club, he also mocks a bartender and waitress. He also punches a student. To the utter humiliation of Kelp, his chemical formula wears off at the wrong times. He continues to take the chemical, knowing that it brings his bad alternate persona to the fore. The reason is that he enjoys the attention that his alternate avatar receives. His true identity is revealed when he performs at the annual student dance.
This happens while giving a performance at the event when the chemical formula begins wearing off. Kelp then admits his mistakes and seeks forgiveness in an impassioned speech. Purdy meets him backstage and says that she prefers Julius Kelp over Buddy Love.
About the character of Julius Kelp
For Jerry Lewis, the character of Julius Kelp was a staple in most of his shows and films. It had appeared in one of his earlier films, Rock-A-Bye Baby. The character also appeared later in the films The Family Jewels and The Big Mouth. It was also seen in a variety of sketches on The Jerry Lewis Show during late 1960s.
Many believe that Buddy Love is a lampoon of his show business partner, Dean Martin. The two of them enjoyed tremendous success from 1946 to 1956. After a disagreement, both of them stopped speaking to each other for decades. This was consistently denied by Lewis citing it as a rumor. He stated that the two characters in the film that he played represents good and evil.
However, film critic Danny Peary had something else to say about this in his book, Cult Movies. He said that the character of Buddy Love represented a dark side of Jerry Lewis.