6.9/10
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33 user 19 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
Denise Galik ...
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

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A true story? See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

19 September 1980 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Melvin (and Howard)  »

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(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The name of the television game show was "Easy Street". The real life TV game-shows that it was a fictional amalgam of were The Gong Show (1976) and Let's Make a Deal (1963). The amount of money that Lynda Dummar (Mary Steenburgen) won for tap-dancing to The Rolling Stones' "Satisfaction" on the show was US $10,000. See more »

Goofs

When Melvin and Howard are driving the pickup truck into Vegas during the movie opening the drivers side headlight is out. When Howard is driving the truck during the closing both headlights are operating. 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

Referenced in Hard Eight (1996) See more »

Soundtracks

San Antonio Rose
Written by Bob Wills
Performed by Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys
Courtesy of MCA Records
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User Reviews

Some Film Moments Are Truly Better Than Money
14 March 2006 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

The film's opening interaction between Dumar (the quintessential dreamer/loser) and Hughes (who found his dream but lost himself)is hauntingly brilliant. As they drive along in Melvin's truck, on the cusp of desert's dawn, Melvin manages to draw Hughes out of his crusty and maniacal shell by getting him to sing one of his self-written songs. As dawn opens, Hughes is still singing. It is probably his most uncomplicated - yet happiest moment in years.

Melvin never does receive any money from the disputed and disregarded will. But he really does not care. He still has his dreams, and knows that validation can be found in impecunity as he reflects upon his encounter with Hughes: "No, I'm not going to see that money. That's all right. Because you know what happened? Howard Hughes sang Melvin Dumar's song. He sang it." Some moments are truly better than all the pain that money can buy.


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