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This homage to the childhood days of the motion pictures starts in 1910, when the young attorney Leo Harrigan by chance meets a motion picture producer. Immediately he's invited to become a writer for him - the start of a sensational career. Soon he's promoted to a director and shoots one silent movie after the other in the tiny desert village Cacamonga with a small crew of actors. But the competition is hard: the patent agency sends out Buck Greenway to sabotage them. When they visit L.A., his crew is surprised by a new species: fans! Written by
Tom Zoerner <Tom.Zoerner@informatik.uni-erlangen.de>
Orson Welles urged Bogdanovich to photograph the film in black and white, but the studio baulked at this idea. At the March 2008 Bogdanovich retrospective held at the Castro Theater, San Francisco, the director's cut of the film was presented in a black and white print. See more »
Overdone slapstick gags make for a tedious look at early film-making...
If director Peter Bogdanovich hadn't used such a heavy-handed slapstick treatment of his little epic about early film-making called NICKELODEON, there might have emerged a fond tribute to the pioneering days of silent films in the early part of the 20th Century.
But instead, he has filled NICKELODEON with a whole series of non-stop sight gags that become tiresome and repetitious, even more so because none of the characters involved really come to life. As the pretty heroine of the piece, JANE HITCHCOCK has very limited abilities beyond staring wide-eyed into the camera lens for comic effect. BURT REYNOLDS at least does derive several good chuckles from his comedy efforts as a reluctant participant in RYAN O'NEAL's troupe of silent film actors.
O'Neal has obviously chosen to play his role as though he has just watched a Harold Lloyd film, wearing spectacles for his first entrance and doing the bumbling sight gags on cue, as hapless a hero as Lloyd was in all his comedies. He's not too bad, but is never as funny as he was in WHAT'S UP DOC?, an earlier Bogdanovich film.
Tecbnically, the film is handsomely produced and pleasing to look at in color, but STELLA STEVENS is given little to do in what amounts to a supporting role. JOHN RITTER doesn't have too much opportunity to display his comic gifts. Entirely too much footage is devoted to a rough and tumble fight between Reynolds and O'Neal that takes up too much time with too many slapstick pratfalls to emerge as anything more than filler.
The film plods along without the benefit of a tight script or a really compelling story and suffers, mainly, from the heavy-handed approach to comedy.
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