5.9/10
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25 user 9 critic

The World's Greatest Lover (1977)

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.

Director:

Gene Wilder

Writer:

Gene Wilder
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Cast

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

Taglines:

Go ahead - laugh!

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish | French

Release Date:

13 February 1978 (Denmark) See more »

Also Known As:

O Maior Amante do Mundo See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film's closing credits boldly declare "A loving thank you from Gene Wilder to his friend Federico Fellini for encouragement at just the right time." 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

Rudy Valentine: Don't can what I and say can't tell me!
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

Featured in My Stepmother Is an Alien (1988) See more »

Soundtracks

Shuffle Off to Buffalo
(uncredited)
Written by Al Dubin & Harry Warren
Sung by the movie extras on the bus
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Gene Wilder's tragi-slapstick masterpiece
28 May 2010 | by Felonious-PunkSee all my reviews

This movie studies a handful of themes, among them: romantic problems, issues of the individual versus conformity, and beauty versus mediocrity. It is set during the Hollywood silent movie days, when Rudolph Valentino was the rage. Wilder plays the lead role, the husband of a Valentino fan, who has to muster up the sexy man in himself in order to save the day. The sets are lush, Carol Kane is gorgeous, Wilder gives one of his most heartbreaking performances, and Harry Nilsson devotes his song "Ain't it kind of wonderful" to the soundtrack. Very ambitious, especially considering that Wilder wrote, directed and produced it.

Yes, it's true some of the gags are dated or overdone, but there are other things to enjoy. It's in the same league as Woody Allen's early slapstick comedies, like "Sleeper" and "Play it again, Sam", as well as the Mel Brooks' oeuvre.


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