The Sad Sack Private Meredith Bixby is so out of step in the Army that his six weeks of planned basic training has now stretched to 17 months. After he loses a tank, WAC Major Shelton, a psychologist, is assigned to make a good soldier out of him. She requests Corporal Dolan and Private Stan Wensalawsky to help with the training. Dolan and Stan both have scores to settle with Bixby and their “guidance” leads to more mishaps. Sergeant Pulley has them shipped out to Morocco. On leave in North Africa, Bixy wanders alone into a bar, has a few Moroccan Delights, which he thinks are malted milks, and becomes convinced that exotic singer-dancer Zita is THE girl for him. To protect him, Dolan tells him some lies about Zita, and Bixby, in despair, joins the Suicide Division of the Foreign Legion. He is kidnapped by a band of Arabian plotters and, guarded by the knife-happy Abdul, is ordered to assemble a stolen American cannon. Zita learns of his plight and gets Dolan and Stan to join her in a rescue …The Sad Sack
Jerry clown his way through basic training
The Sad Sack For his second film post Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis did a live adaption of George Baker’s World War II comic strip The Sad Sack. It was a role perfectly suited to his talents though I have to say that it looked like David Wayne was standing in for Dino.
It was a fateful day that Wayne and buddy Joe Mantell reporting back to Louisiana’s Camp Calhoun ran into Lewis on the train who in his usual innocence befriends these two. Because of him they’re late for reporting back and that’s only the beginning.
In fact Lewis who is blessed with a photographic memory, but has the coordination of a goony bird has set an army record of most time in basic training. He’s become an army project in that army psychologist Phyllis Kirk is sent down from the Pentagon and she puts Wayne and Mantell into personally supervising him through basic training. Seeing Lewis qualify on the rifle range is the funniest sequence in the film. The Sad Sack
Once finished the whole platoon is assigned to an Air Force base in Morocco for security as some classified items involving a new army weapon have vanished. In fact the whole weapon has been taken, but its apart and bad guys George Dolenz and Peter Lorre don’t know how to put it together. But the guy with photographic memory does.
The Sad Sack is a perfect part for Lewis and I have to say that David Wayne without getting in the way of the star gives a droll, but unobtrusive performance. It’s definitely a Dean Martin part without the songs. Jerry even gets some romance here in the form of Liliane Montevecchi who plays a Moroccan belly dancer in league with the bad guys, but who has a change of heart when she meets The Sad Sack.
You have to see how Lewis, Wayne, and Mantell foil the bad guys. This is a really good role for Jerry and holds up very well for today.