The Family Jewels (film)

The Family Jewels (film)

The Family Jewels
Directed by Jerry Lewis
Produced by Jerry Lewis
Written by Jerry Lewis
Bill Richmond
Starring Jerry Lewis
Sebastian Cabot
Music by Pete King
Cinematography W. Wallace Kelley
Edited by John Woodcock
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release dates
  • July 1, 1965 (1965-07-01)
Running time 99 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $2,600,000 (US/ Canada rentals)[1]

The Family Jewels is a 1965 American comedy film. It was filmed from January 18-April 2, 1965 and was released by Paramount Pictures on July 1, 1965. The film was co-written, directed, and produced by Jerry Lewis who also played seven roles in the film. Lewis' co-star, Donna Butterworth, made only one other film, Paradise, Hawaiian Style, with Elvis Presley. Gary Lewis & The Playboys have a cameo, singing their hit song "This Diamond Ring".


  • Plot 1
  • Connections to other Jerry Lewis-related Productions 2
  • Home media release 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


Donna Peyton (Donna Butterworth) is a ten-year-old girl who inherits a $30,000,000 fortune when her millionaire industrialist father passes away. Per terms of his will, Donna must choose one of her six uncles (all played by Jerry Lewis) to become her new "father". Lewis also plays Willard Woodward, the family chauffeur who takes Donna to all of her uncles to stay with them for two weeks. Donna's uncles are:

  • James Peyton, a ferryboat captain, her father's oldest brother who served in the U.S. Navy during World War II.
  • Everett Peyton, a famous circus clown who hates kids and moves to Switzerland to avoid U. S. taxes.
  • Julius Peyton, a professional photographer who photographs female models.
  • Captain Edward "Eddie" Peyton, a pilot based in Los Angeles, California who owns his own airline ("Eddie's Airways, the Airline for the Birds") consisting of one plane, a Ford Trimotor.
  • Skylark Peyton, a Holmesian detective who loves tea and lived in England until he lost his passport and moved back to the United States. He is accompanied by his faithful companion, Dr. Matson (Sebastian Cabot) but Skylark pays more attention to a pool game in Robert Strauss's pool parlour than to Donna.
  • Bugsy Peyton, a gangster who everyone thought was killed by the mob. Only interested in Donna's inheritance, he kidnaps her. Willard rescues her by tricking the gangsters into believing they are surrounded by armed soldiers.

The more time she spends with her uncles, the more Donna realizes that Willard should be her father: he was always a father to her even when her real father was still alive, because her father was too busy to spend time with her. Unfortunately the family lawyers will not allow her to choose Willard, insisting that she must choose one of her uncles. At the last minute, Uncle Everett shows up unexpectedly, asking Donna to choose him. To everyone's surprise, Donna agrees, and the two leave together. As they walk down the hallway, Donna reveals that she knows the truth: "Uncle Everett" is actually Willard in disguise. She recognized him because, as always, his shoes were on the wrong feet.

Connections to other Jerry Lewis-related Productions

The clown makeup used by one of Lewis' characters was devised by Jerry Lewis for 3 Ring Circus. It was reused by Lewis a second time in Hardly Working.

Several of the film's characters were caricatured in Will the Real Jerry Lewis Please Sit Down, an animated series.

Home media release

The film was released twice on DVD. Paramount released it on October 12, 2004 and Warner Archive re-released the film on made-to-order DVD on June 20, 2013.[2]


  1. ^ This figure consists of anticipated rentals accruing distributors in North America. See "Big Rental Pictures of 1965", Variety, 5 January 1966 p 6
  2. ^

External links