5.9/10
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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

This film is supposed to take place in the 1920s silent movie era, yet the movie extras riding in the bus to their location sing-along to "Shuffle Off to Buffalo", a Harry Warren-Al Dubin song written for the 1933 sound film "42nd Street." See more »

Quotes

[Zitz moves to strangle the projectionist in a fit of anger]
Projectionist: I'm in the union.
[Zitz restrains himself in time]
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

Referenced in Role Model: Gene Wilder (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

Fascination
(uncredited)
Written by Fermo Dante Marchetti
Instrumental version played on the violin in Valentino's tent and at the end
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Oh Boy, look at those Gams!
16 January 2015 | by ThatMOVIENutSee all my reviews

A neurotic baker goes with his wife to 1920s Hollywood for a screen test. However, his wife is obsessed with star Rudolph Valentino, and decides to chase after him, and well, nutty mishaps ensue.

While I do like this film as a guilty pleasure, I have to be critical and come clean: World's Greatest Lover is an uneven comedy that sums up the excesses of these wacky 70s comedies. But first, the good: The production values and score by underrated master John Morris (a Brooks regular, as well as Lycnh's Elephant Man) deliver, recreating the 'Old Hollywood' feel of the 1920s, and the actors are never awful, with the great Dom Deluise in fine form as the cartoonish studio boss.

But it's the humour is what makes the film hard to recommend: it follows an basic formula of slapstick, awkward situations and plenty of shouting and eye-bogging from Gene Wilder. Rise and repeat for an hour an a half, and that's the film. Dear old Gene has no control (he wrote, starred, directed and produced this) and without the steady hand of someone like Mel Brooks, he goes way past over-the-top, and almost creates something more like someone parodying Wilder, screaming like a banshee every couple of seconds. He himself is not necessarily terrible, but less generous viewers will be grated. However, his opening dream dance number is quite fun, and probably the film's highlight.

It's worth owning if you're a hardcore fan of Wilder, and it's taken a LONG time to finally receive a DVD, but, aside from aficionados, you're better off with Young Frankenstein or Blazing Saddles.


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