In different movies, he had different names—Seymour, Melvin, Myron, Morty—but for Jerry Lewis, the character he created was always The Kid: an eternal adolescent, awkward and elegant, knowing and naïve, exhilaratingly brash and painfully shy. Eventually, Lewis aged out of The Kid, becoming one of America’s most internationally honored filmmakers in the process, but even in Lewis’s late films, The Kid never left him entirely. His energy and unpredictability was always there, a threat and a promise.
March 16 is Lewis’s 90th birthday, an occasion MoMA is celebrating with a retrospective of some of his finest films, all presented in rare 35mm prints. And many programs come with a surprise: selections of outtakes, screen tests, home movies, and behind-the-scenes footage chosen by Robert Furmanek, Mr. Lewis’s personal archivist of many years. Please join us for this in-depth look at a profoundly American artist.
Organized by Dave Kehr, Adjunct Curator, Department of Film, MoMA, and Robert Furmanek, independent curator.
Special thanks to Ted Okuda, Anastasia Antonopoulou, and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.