Jerry Lewis’ “Visit to a Small Planet” Is Still a Trip Worth Taking

Since the passing of Jerry Lewis earlier this month at the age of 91, we’ve found ourselves revisiting the rich body of work that he left behind. Based on a play by Gore Vidal (who also scripted), 1960’s Visit to a Small Planet is a goofy sci-fi comedy that stars Lewis as Kreton, a bumbling alien from another world who is tasked with traveling to Earth to learn about human nature. Before you can say “fish out of water,” Kreton finds himself interacting with an ordinary family, learning about concepts that are, uh, alien to him like love and romance. But trouble rears his head after he falls for the family’s beautiful daughter (played with charming grace by Joan Blackman). Will this far-out love affair reach the stratosphere? Or is it doomed to be yet another star-crossed heartbreaker? To say any more would be to give away the quirky film’s many charms, so here’s the film’s original trailer to give you an idea of what you can expect from the flick:

It’s worth noting that Visit to a Small Planet isn’t Lewis’ only foray into the universe of science fiction comedies. In 1982, he co-starred with Madeline Kahn and Marty Feldman in the bomb Slapstick of Another Kind. That movie — which is (fortunately?) not currently available on DVD or Blu-ray is an unfunny bastardization of Kurt Vonnegut’s novel Slapstick, and is only of interest to the most hardcore fans of Jerry Lewis. As for everyone else, we recommend once again taking a Visit to a Small Planet to experience the laughs waiting for you there.

  • williamsommerwerck

    “Visit to a Small Planet” is another “unfunny bastardization” — of Gore Vidal’s play. The movie has little to do with the play. Kreton (ie, cretin) is an alien come to enjoy the Civil War — and when he discovers he’s 100 years late, decides to stir up another war.

    The camera negative and all existing prints of this execrable garbage should be rounded up and burned.

    I had the pleasure (at the age of 12) of seeing Cyril Ritchard in the touring company. (Ritchard directed and starred in the play.) It really should be revived — Kevin Spacey, perhaps?

    • Gabriel Abate

      Dude, you need to calm down. I like “Visit to a Small Planet”, I laughed when I saw it as a kid in ’60’s and I’ll still laugh when I see it now on DVD. If you don’t like it, just say you don’t like it, and leave it at that. Don’t go bonkers.

  • Movie Fan

    As an alien trying to figure out humans, this film used Jerry Lewis’s silliness to full advantage. He didn’t quite fit, but considering the humans he was observing, neither did they. To each one’s own.