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

Lupe Ontiveros' film debut. 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

Rudy Valentine: I don't wanna be Rudy Hickman! I'm selling the furniture, I'm selling the car, I'm changing my name and we're going to Hollywood.
Annie Hickman: Hollywood?
Rudy Valentine: Yes. I'm gonna try out for that movie contest.
Annie Hickman: But, Rudy...
Rudy Valentine: My Uncle Harry knows people out there. He can help us.
Annie Hickman: Rudy, there'll be thousands of men.
Rudy Valentine: I can win it.
Annie Hickman: They'll be coming from all over America.
Rudy Valentine: I can win it.
Annie Hickman: Rudy, they'll be professionals.
[...]
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

Spoofs The Sheik (1921) See more »

Soundtracks

You Oughta Be in Pictures
(uncredited)
Music by Dana Suesse
Played when Rudy walks on the set for his audition
See more »

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User Reviews

 
"I love you now, I loved you when we first met, and even after you'd forgotten all the pain I've caused you and perhaps even forgotten me, I'll love you then."
15 June 2016 | by oOoBarracudaSee all my reviews

1977 brought the second attempt of Gene Wilder to produce, direct, write and star in another film. The World's Greatest Lover was a varsity effort by the new director to produce a piece based on a movie star in the 1920's. Gene Wilder stars with Carol Kane, and Dom DeLuise to tell the tale of a man who chases his dream of movie stardom by traveling to Hollywood answering the call for a search for the world's greatest lover. Sometimes, it takes traveling far from home to realize that you already have everything you could ever want.

Hollywood studio head Adolph Zitz (Dom DeLuise) is competing with the strapping, good-looking, Errol Flynn-esque star of another studio. Zitz decides to post a call asking for men across the country to come to Hollywood and audition for his film The World's Greatest Lover and become a star. Meanwhile, back home in Milwaukee working in a bakery, meek Rudy Hickman (Gene Wilder) dreams of being such a movie star and decides to travel with his bored and listless wife, Annie (Carol Kane) for the audition. All of his life Rudy has wanted to work in the movies and be a star, he daydreams of stardom so much he neglects his work and is unable to keep a job. Rudy ends up getting a screen test, and as his excitement builds with his dream getting closer to reality, his wife is sucked into the Hollywood lifestyle and attempts to have an affair with the famous screen actor Rudolph Valentino. Realizing that he is losing grip on the life he has in search of the life he longs for, Rudy must make the decision to leave his dream in his head, or risk losing everything to chase it.

What to say about The World's Greatest Lover, you can tell Gene Wilder was incredibly ambitious and wanted to become a director. Much like The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother, Wilder was unhinged in this venture and clearly does better starring in a film that he is not directing. He would have been better if deciding to continue directing not having a starring role in the film. The film starts out with a good premise, then loses its story with poor fluidity and wild performances from all actors involved. There were a few good gags, and it was a nice homage to classic silent cinema, but not much else shines in this film. The directing bug definitely bit Wilder, and clearly sucked too much blood. As much as I love Wilder as an actor and writer, he falters in the director's chair.


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