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Pardners

Pardners (1956) starring Jerry Lewis, Dean Martin

Synopsis of Pardners

Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis in PardnersIn Pardners, Rich momma’s boy Wade Kingsley Jr. an Eastern dude, tries to follow in his murdered father’s footsteps.  He returns to the West to partner up with Slim Moseley Jr.,the son of his father’s former partner. Wade overcomes Slim’s initial reluctance to accept him … By using his fortune to buy a prize cow and new car to help Slim.   Slim works as foreman on the Kingsley family ranch, currently under siege by a gang of outlaws called ‘masked raiders’. Wade generously tries to pay off the ranch’s mortgage with $15,000 of his own money.  But unfortunately neither ‘pardner’ realizes banker Dan Hollis’ secret.  He’s the son of their fathers’ murderer, and is the leader of the gang.

Review of Pardners

The good news is that Pardners is an enjoyable Martin and Lewis comedy.  The bad news is that it’s very formulaic.  There’s a strong sense that we’ve seen this before, sadly.  Having said that, it’s still very enjoyable.  Dean Martin is the handsome, hard-working cowboy, who’s trying to save his fiancée’s ranch.  Jerry Lewis is the zany, who’s trying to get out from under his mother’s thumb.  And not marry his fiancée that his mother’s picked out for him.  He’s genial, bumbling, and succeeding more by sheer luck (and money) than skill. There’s many funny moments, such as the dynamite conclusion, the rodeo, etc.  And Dean Martin several love songs, which are enjoyable without becoming distracting from the story.  I’d rate it a solid C, or 2.5 stars.

Cast of characters in Pardners

  • Slim Moseley (Dean Martin, My Friend Irma).  The protagonist, singing cowboy, who’s trying to keep his fiancée’s ranch afloat.  Despite the recurring raids by the mysterious “masked raiders”.  Who would have won the rodeo and the prize bull, except for the bumbling interference of …
  • Wade Kingsley (Jerry Lewis, The Nutty Professor).  Rich, pampered, good-hearted and inept.  He desperately wants to follow in the footsteps of his father.  And become best friends with his late father’s partner’s son.  Despite repeatedly making Slim’s life miserable.
  • Carol Kingsley (Lori Nelson, Revenge of the Creature).  Slim’s fiancée, who’s trying to keep her ranch from foreclosure.  And Wade’s cousin, who asks Wade’s mother for a loan to keep the ranch afloat.
  • Mrs. Matilda Kingsley (Agnes Moorehead, Citizen Kane).  Wade’s controlling mother – and widow.  Who wants nothing to do with the West, cattle, ranches, etc.  She has been controlling Wade his entire life … until he escapes.
  • Pete Rio (Jeff Morrow, This Island Earth).  Slim’s right-hand man … whose loyalty may be in doubt …
  • Dolly Riley (Jackie Loughery, Burke’s Law).  The lovely young lady on the runaway coach … That Wade rescues (with the unseen help of Slim) and falls in love with.
  • Dan Hollis (John Baragrey, The Colossus of New York).  The banker, who seems nice.  And definitely interested in Carol.  And, as crooked as his father, the leader of the masked raiders.
  • Cowboys – several famous actors made an appearance as various cowboys, including:

Songs in Pardners

  • Buckskin Beauty (Music by Jimmy Van Heusen, Lyrics by Sammy Cahn, Sung by Jerry Lewis)
  • The Wind! The Wind! (Music by Jimmy Van Heusen, Lyrics by Sammy Cahn, Sung by Dean Marti)
  • Pardners (Music by Jimmy Van Heusen, Lyrics by Sammy Cahn, , Sung by Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis)
  • Me ‘n You ‘n the Moon (Music by Jimmy Van Heusen, Lyrics by Sammy Cahn, Sung by Dean Martin)

Editorial review of Pardners courtesy of Amazon.com

Pardners – this Dean Martin-Jerry Lewis romp is liberally based on the 1936 Bing Crosby film Rhythm on the Range. Set around 1910, the film stars Lewis as the pampered son of female tycoon Agnes Moorehead. Yearning to return to the Wild West where his father was a famed peacekeeper, Lewis purchases a prize bull, destined for the ranch inherited by rodeo star Dean Martin. It so happens that Martin and Lewis’ late fathers were “pardners”, so Martin takes it upon himself to protect Lewis from the various and sundry tough hombres in the region. Through a series of bizarre plot convolutions, Lewis gains a reputation as a rootin’ tootin’ gunslinger, and in his hubris he decides to round up a gang of outlaws headed by Jeff Morrow. As a result, he nearly gets himself blown to smitherines, but Martin shows up in the nick of time to rescue Lewis and help him capture the bad guys. Lori Nelson and Jackie Loughery supply the film’s peripheral romantic angle. Pardners ends with Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis turning to the camera and promising that they’ll keep on making pictures for their faithful fans; ironically, the team was breaking up even while the cameras were turning.