In 1915, Kansas theatre usher Merton Gill is a rabid silent-movie fan. When he brings Mammoth Studios free publicity by imitating star Lawrence Rupert's heroics, they bring him to Hollywood to generate another headline; he thinks he'll get a movie contract. Disillusioned, he haunts the casting offices, where he meets and is consoled by Phyllis Montague, bit player and stunt-woman. When Merton finally gets his "break," though, it's not quite what he envisioned... Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
"Merton of the Movies" is a Red Skelton movie that sure lacked originality. It's based on the movie by the same name from 1924 and was already remade in 1932. Additionally, the plot bears a very strong resemblance to a Harold Lloyd film from 1932--"Movie Crazy". So, while this 1947 film is nice, it's all terribly familiar. Plus, the Lloyd film was a heck of a lot better.
Skelton plays the title character, Merton Gill--a rube from a small town that thought his path to becoming a movie star was by taking a correspondence course. So, when he wins a trip to Hollywood, he incorrectly assumes it's because of his diploma--but it's really just a publicity stunt. However, he's not deterred and tries to get work as an extra. But he's a clumsy oaf and seems to be out of place in dramas-- until his girlfriend (also an actress) convinces the studio executives to use his terrible footage and just market the films as comedies. Soon, Merton is a star but has no idea everyone is laughing at him. What's next?
This is a rather agreeable film but not much more. Skelton has done better stuff but it's a decent time-passer provided you haven't seen these other films--then it just seems a bit repetitious.
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