The Nutty Professor is a 1963 American science fiction-romantic comedy film produced, directed, co-written (with Bill Richmond) and starring Jerry Lewis. The score was composed by Walter Scharf. The film is a parody of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
In 2004, The Nutty Professor was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.
In 1996, a remake starring Eddie Murphy and Jada Pinkett-Smith was released, directed by Tom Shadyac.
Professor Julius Kelp is a nerdy, scruffy, buck-toothed, accident-prone, socially awkward university professor whose experiments in the classroom laboratory are unsuccessful and highly destructive. When a football-playing bully embarrasses and attacks him, Kelp decides to “beef up” by joining a local gym. Kelp’s lack of physical strength prompts him to invent a serum that turns him into the handsome, suave, charming and cheeky girl-chasing hipster, Buddy Love.
This new personality gives him the self-confidence to pursue one of his students, Stella Purdy. Although she resents Love, she finds herself strangely attracted to him. Buddy wows the crowd with his jazzy, breezy musical delivery and poised demeanor at the Purple Pit, a nightclub where the students hang out. He also mocks a bartender and waitress and punches a student. The formula wears off at inopportune times, often to Kelp’s humiliation.
Although Kelp knows that his alternate persona is a bad person, he cannot prevent himself from continually taking the formula as he enjoys the attention that Love receives. As Buddy performs at the annual student dance the formula starts to wear off. His real identity now revealed, Kelp gives an impassioned speech, admitting his mistakes and seeking forgiveness. Kelp says that the one thing he learned from being someone else is that if you don’t like yourself, you can’t expect others to like you. Purdy meets Kelp backstage, and confesses that she prefers Kelp over Buddy Love.
Eventually, Kelp’s formerly timid father chooses to market the formula (a copy of which Kelp had sent to his parents’ home for safekeeping), endorsed by the deadpan president of the university who proclaims, “It’s a gasser!” Kelp’s father makes a pitch to the chemistry class, and the students all rush forward to buy the new tonic. In the confusion Kelp and Purdy slip out of the class. Armed with a marriage license and two bottles of the formula, they elope.
During the short closing credits, each of the characters come out and bow down to the camera, and when Jerry Lewis, still portraying Kelp, comes out and bows, he trips and goes into the camera, breaking it and causing the picture to go black.
Jerry Lewis as Professor Julius F. Kelp/Buddy Love/Baby Kelp
Stella Stevens as Ms. Stella Purdy
Del Moore as Dr. Mortimer S. Warfield
Kathleen Freeman as Ms. Millie Lemmon
Howard Morris as Mr. Elmer Kelp
Elvia Allman as Mrs. Edwina Kelp
Julie Parrish as College Student
Milton Frome as Dr. M. Sheppard Leevee
Buddy Lester as Bartender
Med Flory as Warzewski, the football player