Three movie genres of the 1930s are satirized in this spoof of the traditional double feature. In "Dynamite Hands" a delivery boy turns prizefighter in order to raise enough money for his kid sister's eye operation. Later, however, he turns his back on his father-figure manager and librarian girlfriend when he is distracted by a flashy gangster and sexy night club diva. Intermission has a coming-attractions trailer for "Zero Hour," a World War I aviation drama. In the second feature, "Baxter's Beauties of 1933" a Broadway impresario hears he has only a month to live and is determined to mount one more hit on the boards. When his drunken diva of a star cannot go on opening night, he finds that the ingénue he chooses to replace her is his long-estranged daughter, whom he has not seen since she was a girl. All three stories feature the same cast in repertoire. Written by
A quick glance at the user comments will tell you that this film is worth seeing. I'm neither a musical fanatic nor a boxing enthusiast, but the numbers, performances and nuances were entrancing.
Somehow, Donen found the perfect blend for the self-reflexive genre picture, a combination that is exceedingly difficult for modern filmmakers to get a handle on. The viewer is watching a spoof yet all of the elements are still real. We feel for the pitifully archetypal characters because it seems that they realize their fate as symbols. George C. Scott's glances of reaction, just askew of breaking the third wall, depict someone who is aware of his limited fate, but still experiences with all of his emotions every situation as if he doesn't know it's coming. In this way, the actors, as in the Brechtian mode of theater, are somewhat like audience members themselves. They know the story and the ending, but they can't help suspending their disbelief, just for fun.
The musical numbers work in the same way. They are spoofs, fulfilling specific purposes and making all the proper illusions, yet are thoroughly enjoyable as musical numbers.
"Movie Movie" isn't necessarily a great movie, but it gives the illusion of greatness in its sincerity. In a medium where the audience often feels that they are the butt of a joke only the director knows the setup to, "Movie Movie" puts across the feeling that the director genuinely enjoys movies and expects everyone involved to derive the same pleasure from them.
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