The Disorderly Orderly

(Frank Tashlin, USA, 1964)


In the late '90s, egghead fans of pop culture scoured The Matrix (1999) for its anarchist message and passing references to French philosopher Jean Baudrillard.

Back in 1964, a previous generation of such intellos of cinema turned to the dazzling comedies of Jerry Lewis for lessons in Brecht, Pirandello and Marx.

And, by God, they were right. In The Disorderly Orderly, Jerry's body undergoes hysterical Zelig-like metamorphosis. Films, ads and television shows are mercilessly parodied and pilloried in a splendid preview of postmodernism.

And a finale, wallowing in the surreal destruction of a supermarket, celebrates the End of Civilisation as We Know It.

MORE Tashlin: Artists and Models, Who's Minding the Store? essay – Frank Tashlin

© Adrian Martin April 1991

Film Critic: Adrian Martin
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