6.9/10
3,651
36 user 22 critic

Melvin and Howard (1980)

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

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Won 2 Oscars. Another 15 wins & 9 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
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Storyline

This movie tells the possibly true story of Melvin E. 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:

Poor Melvin. All he wanted was to be Milkman of the Month. Instead, he lost his job, his truck, and his wife. Then Howard Hughes left him $156,000,000. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

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Release Date:

19 September 1980 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Melvin (and Howard)  »

Filming Locations:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The first film in the sub-genre "biopic of someone undeserving" or "BOSUD" from Dennis Bingham's "Whose Lives Are They Anyway? The Biopic as Contemporary Film Genre". Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski later popularized this notion in their screen-writing for Ed Wood (1994), Auto Focus (2002), Man on the Moon (1999), and The People vs. Larry Flynt (1996). See more »

Goofs

The scene where Melvin and Linda are gambling in the casino, their young daughter is sitting with them. Minors are strictly forbidden in any casino gaming areas, especially next to the tables. 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

Featured in The 75th Annual Academy Awards (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

(I Can;'t Get No) Satisfaction
Written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards
Performed by The Rolling Stones
Courtesy of Abkco Records
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 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.


7 of 9 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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