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Melvin and Howard (1980)

7.0
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 3,081 users  
Reviews: 33 user | 16 critic

The story of hard-luck Melvin Dummar, who claimed to have received a will naming him an heir to the fortune of Howard Hughes.

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Title: Melvin and Howard (1980)

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Won 2 Oscars. Another 21 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Elizabeth Cheshire ...
Darcy Dummar
...
Chip Taylor ...
Clark Taylor
Melvin E. Dummar ...
Bus Depot Counterman
...
Little Red
...
Lucy
Gene Borkan ...
Go-Go Club Owner #1
Lesley Margret Burton ...
Go-Go Dancer
Wendy Lee Couch ...
Go-Go Dancer
Marguerite Baierski ...
Go-Go Dancer
Janice King ...
Go-Go Dancer
Deborah Ann Klein ...
Go-Go Dancer
Theodora Thomas ...
Go-Go Dancer
Edit

Storyline

This movie tells the possibly true story of Melvin Dummar. Melvin is a nice guy, but he is a total loser: unlucky, impractical and can't keep a job. One night, however, he helps an old man who has had a motorcycle accident in the desert. Melvin laughs when the old man says he is Howard Hughes, the eccentric multimillionaire. But when Howard Hughes dies, Melvin is mailed a will leaving him part of the estate! Written by Reid Gagle

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A true story? See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

19 September 1980 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Melvin (and Howard)  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In real life, Melvin E. Dummar did not receive the $156 million. According to Wikipedia, "While working at a service station in Willard, Utah, Dummar claimed to have discovered a disheveled and lost man lying on the side of a stretch of U.S. Highway 95 about 150 miles (240 km) north of Las Vegas, Nevada, near Lida Junction. Hughes asked Dummar to take him to the Sands Hotel in Las Vegas. Dummar claimed that only in the final minutes of their encounter did Hughes reveal his identity". The will was "was eventually rejected by the Nevada court in June 1978 as a forgery. The court declared that Hughes had died intestate" and "Dummar was largely discounted by the public as a phony and an opportunist". Moreover, "Dummar's claims [have] resulted in a series of court battles which have all ruled against Dummar". See more »

Goofs

While the men are in the truck talking, a sandwich being eaten has the bite area alternately changing from one side of the bread between shots. See more »

Quotes

Lynda Dummar: C'est la vie.
Melvin Dummar: What's that?
Lynda Dummar: French, Melvin. I used to dream of becoming a French interpreter.
Melvin Dummar: You don't speak French.
Lynda Dummar: I told you it was only a dream.
See more »

Connections

Version of Howard Hughes: His Women and His Movies (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

Downtown
Performed by Crazy Horse
Courtesy of Warner Bros. Records Inc.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Remembered this film from when it was first released - liked it then and now
10 October 2007 | by (Trenton, NJ) – See all my reviews

I saw this film back in 1980/81 when it was first released and liked it a lot then. Now have seen it again recently, and it still holds up. There is a certain joy of life depicted in this film that is in some ways also bittersweet (and yet refreshing). What is sad in some regards now is the realization upon seeing it again that the era of life portrayed here is now gone from the collective American psyche to some extent. That isn't to say the film is dated per se. It's just that Melvin isn't cynical at all and he doesn't seem to have a hateful bone in his body. He's neither a wimp nor a man of intellect but someone whose basic humanity emanates.

What helps the film, too, is the pairing of actors Paul LeMat as Melvin, and Mary Steenburgen as Melvin's wife, Linda -- they are an endearing couple.

I attribute the film's memorable tone and spirit to not only the actors (including Jason Robards & some of the supporting cast) -- I like to believe that director, Jonathan Demme, put his stamp on this, too. Now in retrospect am learning that the writer (Bo Goldman) probably deserves some kudos.


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