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Melvin and Howard (1980)

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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:
... Howard Hughes
... Melvin Dummar
... Darcy Dummar
... Lynda 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 | Plot Synopsis

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A true story? See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Language:

Release Date:

19 September 1980 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Melvin (and Howard)  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$4,309,490
See more on IMDbPro »

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

Actor Jason Robards was the third actor to play Howard Hughes in a full length movie. In the three years prior to this film, Victor Holchak had been the second in Hughes and Harlow: Angels in Hell (1977) whilst Tommy Lee Jones had been the first in The Amazing Howard Hughes (1977). See more »

Goofs

While the men are in the truck talking, a sandwich being eaten has the bite area alternately changing from one side of the bread between shots. See more »

Quotes

Lynda Dummar: It says you can be anything you want to be if you'll just believe in yourself. And you believe in yourself - it's just the believing hasn't been enough to let you become what you believe you can be.
Melvin Dummar: Honey, they didn't burn down Rome in one day - you got to keep pluggin'.
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Soundtracks

Hard Way to Go
Performed by Danny Darst (as Daniel Dean Darst)
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User Reviews

 
No Special Effects, No Mega-Buck Stars, Just a Great Film
4 June 2004 | by See all my reviews

In this day of $100 million plus movies with special effects that drown out the dialog and stars with out-sized egos and paychecks to match, a film like Jonathan Demme's minor masterwork, "Melvin and Howard," would be lucky to get a video distributor. Even a quarter century ago on its initial release, the film was largely ignored by audiences despite glowing reviews, Academy Awards, and critics kudos. However, those who make the effort to seek out this wonderful fable will be rewarded. Based on a story that may or may not have been true, "Melvin and Howard" spins the tale of an easy going hard luck kinda guy named Melvin Dummar who gives a lift to an old man he finds asleep in the desert. The man says that he is Howard Hughes, and, years later, when Hughes dies, Melvin finds a will that has been left on his filling station desk that names him as one of the heirs to the Hughes fortune. Since we know the ending before the film starts, the pleasures lie in the quirky characters and situations that screenwriter Bo Goldman and a terrific cast have created. Despite the circus that surrounded the question of the will's validity, Melvin was content just knowing that, during their drive, Howard Hughes had sung a song that Melvin had written. His evident joy in that simple event was a rare personal quality even in 1980. There are a lot of other unpretentious, yet memorable, moments in this outstanding film.


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