Frank Tashlin

"His pictures were littered with cultural references and in-jokes, both aural and visual, and while they were often uneven in quality, Tashlin's fine visual sense ensured that they were always colourful and exciting to watch. He made particularly good use of the new larger and wider screen and the glossy 50s colour, and French critics like Truffaut and Godard regarded him as the most audaciously modern of 50s comedy directors." - Joel W. Finler (The Movie Directors Story, 1985)

Frank Tashlin

Director / Screenwriter / Producer
(1913-1972) Born February 19, Weehawken, New Jersey, USA

Key Production Country: USA
Key Genres: Comedy, Slapstick, Romantic Comedy, Comedy of Errors, Farce, Satire, Odd Couple Film
Key Collaborators: Hal Pereira (Production Designer), Jerry Lewis (Leading Actor/Producer), Walter Scharf (Composer), Tambi Larsen (Production Designer), Paul Jones (Producer), Haskell Boggs (Cinematographer), W. Wallace Kelley (Cinematographer), Daniel Fapp (Cinematographer), Leland Fuller (Production Designer), Francesca Bellini (Character Actress), Kathleen Freeman (Character Actress), Jayne Mansfield (Leading Actress)

"Lately respected comedy writer and director, who started out as a cartoonist. His work with Jerry Lewis has been especially highly regarded; while his exuberant style and ability to follow a gag through to its ultimate outrageous conclusion suggest an affinity more properly with silent comedy than with the sophisticated restrictions of sound." - The International Encyclopedia of Film, 1972
"His characters were cartoon-like grotesques (frequently played by the likes of Bob Hope and Jerry Lewis), and his stories basically ragbag strings of gags rooted in slapstick and sexual innuendo, but there is a genuinely frenetic energy and anarchic, even surreal irreverence in his best films; sadly, his later work was increasingly marred by Lewis' penchant for maudlin sentimentality, and in the 60s he seemed simply to lose his way." - Geoff Andrew (The Director's Vision, 1999)
"Tashlin's films are intermittently and inorganically funny; the humor comes in splashes and quickly dries up. Sometimes his gags are actually destructive of visual continuity and can only be ended with a fade-out and a fresh start... The tone of his satire is momentarily much more mordant than the sentimental form of the finished films allows. Why should Jerry Lewis live happily ever after when Tashlin sees him as a demented creature, driven by pathos in one direction and the American success motor in the other?" - David Thomson (The New Biographical Dictionary of Film, 2002)
"Originally a cartoonist, Tashlin is to the 1950s what Preston Sturges is to the 40s. Tashlin's comedy reflects a fascination with machines and fantasy. To paraphrase Andrew Sarris, if Jerry Lewis hadn't been around to star in his comedies, Tashlin would have invented him." - William R. Meyer (The Film Buff's Catalog, 1978)
“A one-time cartoon director, Tashlin became a scriptwriter in the 1940s and began directing in the 1950s. He directed the Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin comedy team in several of their most effective works, among them Hollywood or Bust (1956). Tashlin parodied contemporary culture, including the film industry itself. In Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? (1957) his targets included Hollywood's obsession with well-proportioned blondes, personified in the film by Jayne Mansfield, and the film industry's anxiety about television.” - Robert Sklar (Film: An International History of the Medium, 1993)
"Tashlin succeeded in combining his flair for outrageous, cartoon-like, almost surreal gags and love of social parody with a strong visual sense which was ideally suited to the wide screen and bright pop-art colours." - The Illustrated Who's Who of the Cinema, 1983
"There's always been some moron-who usually went by the name of 'producer' - who would have to justify his existence, and interfere." - Frank Tashlin
TSPDT Guide
Highly Recommended
Son of Paleface (1952), Hollywood or Bust (1956), The Girl Can't Help It (1956), Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? (1957)
Recommended
Artists and Models (1955), Rock-a-Bye Baby (1958)
Worth a Look
Susan Slept Here (1954), Cinderfella (1960), The Disorderly Orderly (1964)
Approach with Caution
The Geisha Boy (1958), Bachelor Flat (1962), It's Only Money (1962), Who's Minding the Store? (1963)
Acclaimed Films / IMDB Filmography
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Films / Books
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