23 June 2009 | hitchcockthelegend
The boys sign off with unbridled joy.
Malcolm Smith loves the movies and especially Anita Ekberg. Getting one of his lucky feelings, Malcolm buys a ream of raffle tickets to win a car. Sure enough he wins, but so does gigolo gambler Steve Wiley, who, not unsurprisingly has won by less than honourable means. Refusing to give out two cars, the promotion merely tells the men that they will have to share the car. Much to Steve's annoyance as he has debts to pay. So deviously he agrees to drive with Malcolm to Hollywood, planning to ditch him at the first chance he gets. Only he hadn't figured on Mr. Bascom, Malcolm's Great Dane who's along for the ride, and an encounter with the pretty Terry Roberts. Yep, it's safe to say this is not going to be an ordinary road trip.
With their relationship deeply fractured at this time (this was their last film together), it's something of a surprise to find that Hollywood Or Bust is one of the finest films that Dean Martin (Steve) and Jerry Lewis (Malcolm) made. Everything that made the duo so massively popular is in here, even into the bargain daring to cast a satirical slant to the whiles and trials of Hollywood itself. A lot of the credit has to go to director Frank Tashlin. Tashlin, who was also at the helm for arguably the boys career high point Artists & Models, keeps the whole thing zippy, steering the duo in a direction to which they simply could not fail.
Sure enough the humour is almost juvenile at times, and yes Dean of course croons and tries to bed the girl (a spiky Pat Crowley as Terry), but it's got such a sense of joy to it, the kind of joy that much like Artists & Models, can really lift the blues. Stand out songs from the Sammy Fain and Paul Francis Webster score are "A Day in the Country" and "It Looks Like Love", whilst it will be tough not to giggle at some of the antics of Mr. Bascom and the irrepressible Lewis, particularly with one particular movie parody. Anita Ekberg comes and joins in the fun later in the piece, just in time for the riotous carnage that you know is around the corner.
If the sight of a Great Dane driving a car is not funny to you? Well chances are you should avoid this film completely. But that would be a shame for it's a delightful film, brisk and cheeky, it's most definitely one that's in desperate need of reappraisal from the grumpy brigade because it's a real blues lifter. 8/10