I can’t pretend to have any objectivity about Jerry Lewis. I grew up worshiping him. And while I came to realize that he was fallibly human I never stopped being impressed, especially after I met him. That’s why I didn’t hesitate when the publisher asked me to contribute a foreword to a new edition of his 1971 book The Total Filmmaker (Michael Wiese Productions)
I have an original hardcover copy of the book on my shelf but this quality paperback reprint has many additions that make it worth owning: introductory essays by Nicolas Cage, Deana Martin, and Jerry‘s widow as well as several notable filmmakers (Randal Kleiser. Caleb Deschanel and Peter Arnold) who attended his classes at USC in the late 1960s. Cage’s piece is especially touching.
There are also rare photos of Jerry at work and pages from his shooting scripts complete with handwritten notes and storyboard sketches.
For all the acclaim he received from audiences and even some critics as s performer, he was proudest of his work behind the camera. This book, adapted from his lectures, is clearly written in his voice and reaffirms his dedication to the medium of film… although I would love to see what he would have done with some time to play and an iPhone.