Jerry Lewis, plays a third-rate USO magician named Gilbert Woolley, working the Far East circuit with his pet rabbit Harry. Nearly fired for accidentally humiliating haughty movie star Marie McDonald, Gilbert's career is salvaged by kindly Japanese aristocrat Sessue Hayakawa; it seems that Gilbert is the only person who is able to make Sessue's lonely, orphaned nephew Robert Hirano laugh. An international incident nearly develops when hero-worshipping Hirano tries to follow Gilbert back to the US, whereupon the poor prestidigitator is accused of being a kidnaper. Like most of the Jerry Lewis/Frank Tashlin collaborations, The Geisha Boy is highlighted by several eye-popping sight-gag sequences. The best bits include a ballpark scene featuring several members of the 1958 Los Angeles Dodgers (notably Gil Hodges) and a sledgehammer-subtle "throwaway" concerning Sessue Hayakawa's previous appearance in Bridge on the River Kwai. Less successful are the maudlin scenes between Jerry Lewis and little Robert Hirano, with both performers ladling on pathos with a trowel. Oh, yes: Geisha Boy served as the film debut of Suzanne Pleshette.
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