Living It Up

Living It Up is a 1954 American comedy film starring the team of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis and released by Paramount Pictures.

Living It Up
Original film poster
Directed byNorman Taurog
Produced byPaul Jones
Written byJack Rose
Melville Shavelson
StarringDean Martin
Jerry Lewis
Janet Leigh
Edward Arnold
Music byWalter Scharf
CinematographyDaniel L. Fapp
Edited byArchie Marshek
York Pictures Corporation
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
  • July 23, 1954 (1954-07-23)
Running time
100 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$4.25 million (US)[1]
916,275 admissions (France)[2]

The film was directed by Norman Taurog and produced by Paul Jones. The screenplay by Jack Rose and Melville Shavelson was based on the 1953 musical Hazel Flagg by Ben Hecht, which was in turn based on the story "Letter to the Editor" by James H. Street.

An earlier film based on Street's story, Nothing Sacred, had been made in 1937 by Selznick International Pictures (released through United Artists) with Carole Lombard and Fredric March, and directed by William A. Wellman. The 1954 version had original music by Walter Scharf, cinematography by Daniel L. Fapp, art direction by Albert Nozaki and Hal Pereira, and costume design by Edith Head.

Living It Up also features Janet Leigh, Edward Arnold, Fred Clark, Sheree North, and Sig Ruman.


Homer Flagg is a railroad worker in the small town of Desert Hole, New Mexico. His big dream in life is to visit New York City while he is young.

One day he finds an abandoned automobile at an old atomic proving ground. His doctor and best friend, Steve Harris, diagnoses him with radiation poisoning and gives Homer three weeks to live.

Wally Cook, a reporter for a New York newspaper, hears of Homer's plight and convinces Oliver Stone, her editor, to provide an all-expenses paid trip to fulfill Homer's lifelong fantasy of seeing New York.

Steve, however, realizes that he made an error and Homer is only suffering from a sinus condition. Steve agrees to keep this new diagnosis a secret after Homer begs him ... particularly after meeting the attractive reporter. Steve announces that only he can provide medical treatment to Homer and must accompany him on the trip.

New York embraces Homer and he becomes a celebrity, with everyone following his every move in the paper. Homer even makes plans to marry Wally, despite the fact that she has fallen for Steve.

Meanwhile, editor Stone is anxious for Homer to die. Every day it is costing the newspaper money to support the dying man's extravagant requests, which includes ordering 3,000 shrimp cocktails for his hotel suite. Stone hires three specialists to examine Homer, who is given a clean bill of health.

To escape the fix that they have gotten themselves into, Homer fakes suicide. The newspaper gets the exclusive story. Wally gets married to Steve, and the two guys get new jobs in New York as street sweepers.


Dean MartinSteve Harris
Jerry LewisHomer Flagg
Janet LeighWally Cook
Edward ArnoldThe Mayor
Fred ClarkOliver Stone
Sheree NorthJitterbug Dancer
Sammy WhiteWaiter
Sig RumanDr. Emile Egelhofer
Richard LooDr. Lee


Living It Up was filmed from October 19 to December 18, 1953. Sig Ruman, who plays Dr. Emil Eggelhoffer, played the same role in the 1937 version.

Doing a jitterbug in a dance scene with Lewis, actress Sheree North's character is introduced by a master of ceremonies with her own name, "Sheree North."

The song "Every Street's a Boulevard in Old New York", performed by Martin and Lewis, was originally written by Jule Styne for the musical Hazel Flagg. Martin also sings Styne's songs How Do You Speak to an Angel? and Money Burns a Hole in My Pocket in this film.


The film was re-released with another Martin and Lewis film, Pardners, in 1965.

Home media

The film was included on a five-film DVD set, the Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis Collection: Volume Two, released on June 5, 2007.


  1. 'The Top Box-Office Hits of 1954', Variety Weekly, January 5, 1955
  2. Jerry Lewis films French box office information at Box Office Story
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