Way… Way Out (1966)

Jerry Lewis does less of his wacky character here, and tries playing it straight, not for gonzo laughs. He’s nearly laid back compared to Robert Morley’s curtain rattling performance as Jerry and Connie Stevens “first married couple on the moon. He’s a handler like Leo G. Carroll was for Napoleon Solo in the Man From Uncle. Brian Keith appears several times in short inserts as a gruff-but-still-gruffer General who orders third act action where Jerry must “secure the moon”.

Sure, all the sets are drenched in futuristic lighting as the story is set sometime after the Sixties, doesn’t say when though. So in the background are cool concept cars of the future, during the Earth based scenes. You see solid patches of red and brilliant white furniture,(and very cool clear, plastic pillows), straight out of movies like “In Like Flint” or the British set designer for Sixties movies Ken Adam.

The Moon base location has cool looking pods for sleeping/working–and yes the patented “Batman”-style, big, blinking lights computers are strewn all over your eyeline, which I totally loved as a kid. Lighting-wise, the production simply pours all available light at all times during the indoor moon scenes, which has a television-feel about it; later verified by the technical names, especially Jack Martin Smith, who worked scores of sci-fi/fantasy pics during the Sixties for TV and low budget independents.

The film is super-sexy with tease galore supplied by Anita Ekberg’s fab legs, shot from at least three angles during her opening house call on the American married couple living next door on the moon. There’s all sort of adult-level innuendo that flew over my head at the time: things about wife swapping, watching two girls makeout on one’s wedding night, and others that are cleverly enfolded into the dialog, some PC types of the Two-Thousands would call this “leering” and it probably is, hehe.

Dick Shawn as the Tarzan-like Russian counterpart to Jerry simply does his patented “thing” with grimacing and good accents. There’s an extended sequence of everybody getting drunk and kinda swapping, which today’s producers would be cutting out because bad things happen to people who drink to excess, right? –oh yeah everybody knows that. The drunk thing was big in the sixties for some reason. Dick Shawn’s other picture that year “What Did You Do In The War, Daddy?” had him being drunk through days of story time.

Seeing this movie without any warning would certainly remind some of Austin Powers; it’s inescapable really. However I saw this tonight with a 28 year old who reminded me, “Austin Powers got it’s look from this, not the other way around”