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The World's Greatest Lover (1977)

PG  |   |  Comedy  |  13 February 1978 (Denmark)
5.8
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Ratings: 5.8/10 from 1,371 users  
Reviews: 24 user | 10 critic

A neurotic baker travels to Hollywood to attend a talent search for an actor to rival the great Valentino. Although not an actor, through blind luck he succeeds - to a certain degree!

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Rudy Hickman
...
Annie Hickman
...
Adolph Zitz
Fritz Feld ...
Tomaso Abalone
Mark Silberman ...
Cousin Buddy
Robert Ball ...
Bald Man (as Robert E. Ball)
Randolph Dobbs ...
Yes Man #1
Sandy Rovetta ...
Woman Dancer
Hannah Dean ...
Maid
Rita Conde ...
Whore #1
...
Whore #2
Teda Bracci ...
Whore #3
Elaine Everett ...
Whore #4
Gustaf Unger ...
Producer
Harry Gold ...
Freddie the Runner
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Storyline

In the early 1920s Hollywood, Adolph Zitz, who surrounds himself with yes men, wants his movie studio, Rainbow, to be the greatest in town by making a movie called the "World's Greatest Lover" and finding that next star to outshine Rudolph Valentino as the renowned screen lover of his time. Mild mannered and somewhat hapless Rudy Hickman dreams of being such a movie star, he daydreaming about it so much that he is unable to hold onto his bakery jobs. With his supportive but highly hysterical wife Annie Hickman by his side, Rudy, using the stage name Rudy Valentine, pulls up stakes from Milwaukee and heads to Hollywood to try out for that part. He ends up getting a screen test like the thousands of other hopefuls flooding Hollywood for the chance. Annie, who loves the movies herself but who is naive from not having had much exposure to the world, has ulterior motives for going to Hollywood. Both Annie's Hollywood mission and Valentino himself will affect what happens to Rudy in ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

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Go ahead - laugh!

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

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Release Date:

13 February 1978 (Denmark)  »

Also Known As:

O Maior Amante do Mundo  »

Filming Locations:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The name of the new film at Rainbow Studios was "The World's Greatest Lover". As such, the film within a film has the same title as the film itself. See more »

Goofs

The "audition" record that Rudy listens to is obviously an LP running at 33 1/3 rpm. LPs would not be invented until the late 1940s. See more »

Quotes

Annie Hickman: Rudy, I'm frightened.
Rudy Valentine: You're the one who said you wanted me to try out for this contest!
Annie Hickman: Well, I do. I do. I just don't want you to get your heart set on winning.
Rudy Valentine: Do you think I wanna come in 13th?
See more »

Crazy Credits

There is a credit to Frederico Fellini, who was not on the picture, 'for encouragement at the right time'. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Role Model: Gene Wilder (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

Fascination
(uncredited)
Written by F.D. Marchetti
Instrumental version played on the violin in Valentino's tent and at the end
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Wilder 'bout Fellini
17 July 2007 | by (London, England) – See all my reviews

Coming out at the same time as Ken Russell's rather more amusing Valentino, The World's Greatest Lover suffers from Gene Wilder's sporadic tendency to mistake the grotesque for the side-splitting. Thus we get the odd huge close-up of mouths covered in shaving foam and a lot of tiresome hysteria and tongues. We also get far more of Dom DeLuise mugging away as if semaphore were back in fashion than is strictly necessary, though he's not as OTT here as in Sherlock, for which we can at least be grateful. Unfortunately, we get much more of Wilder's tendency to mistake hysteria for the hysterical – when in doubt, shout seems to be his motto – with Wilder adding a nervous tic that sees him stick out his tongue when he gets nervous. And he gets nervous a lot. Be still my aching ribs… It's a reworking of Fellini's near career killing early flop The White Sheik, even including a Felliniesque lineup of hookers at a bus stop in one scene, only without Fellini's restraint (yes, you did read that right), with Wilder's unemployed baker heading for Hollywood to enter a screen test to find the next Valentino while his young wife seeks out the real thing. Wilder does acknowledge the debt in a screen credit that's part thank you to 'my friend', but seems more name-dropping in a film that comes across as something of a vanity project – certainly with Wilder starring, writing, directing, producing and even writing a song for the film, it's fair to say where the buck stops on this one. One of those films that at once offers fairly lavish period production design but often a complete lack of understanding of silent cinema – yes, we do get sped-up comedy scenes - it's definitely pre-Kevin Brownlow's Hollywood, which completely destroyed most of the then-common myths about silent cinema that this embraces. Indeed, anachronisms abound, with the feel (and the songs) often more Thirties than Twenties, which perhaps wouldn't matter quite so much if it were all funnier. It's not a total disaster – there's the odd good line (a conductor announcing "Hollywood, home of the stars and several featured players"), a nicely natural performance from Carol Kane before she became a mess of mannerisms to rival Wilder and it does offer a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see James Hong playing a Norwegian (or is it Svedish?) studio executive, complete with excellent accent. (Also to be glimpsed among the bit parts in the supporting cast are Danny De Vito as an assistant director, Billy Sands – Paparelli in Sergeant Bilko – as a studio guard and, as the boss of a bakery, David Huddleston, here billed as 'Michael Huddleston's Father'!)


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