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Tashlinesque – The Hollywood Comedies of Frank Tashlin

In all of Frank Tashlin’s work, there is nothing quite so boldly staged as the delirious sequence in 1961′s The Ladies Man, in which Jerry Lewis, the film’s director and Tashlin’s nominal pupil, deconstructs a panic attack in twenty five seconds. Framed inside an enormous set that resembles the interior of a gargantuan and painstakingly detailed dollhouse, Lewis’ character, a terrified schlemiel by the name of Herbert H. Heebert, is in the midst of a mad dash up the set’s elaborate staircase when suddenly he’s literally beside himself with fright, splitting into two, then three, then four similarly fearstruck replicants, zig-zagging about the hallways until they all disappear one after another into the safety of their bedroom, the door slamming in quick succesion with four emphatic bangs. No, there was nothing close to this deft and dizzy blend of Psychology 101 and slapstick in Tashlin’s portfolio,

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