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Melvin and Howard (1980)

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2:44 | Trailer

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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.

Director:

Jonathan Demme

Writer:

Bo Goldman
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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:
Jason Robards ... Howard Hughes
Paul Le Mat ... Melvin Dummar
Elizabeth Cheshire ... Darcy Dummar
Mary Steenburgen ... Lynda Dummar
Chip Taylor Chip Taylor ... Clark Taylor
Melvin E. Dummar Melvin E. Dummar ... Bus Depot Counterman
Michael J. Pollard ... Little Red
Denise Galik ... Lucy
Gene Borkan Gene Borkan ... Go-Go Club Owner #1
Lesley Margret Burton Lesley Margret Burton ... Go-Go Dancer
Wendy Lee Couch Wendy Lee Couch ... Go-Go Dancer
Marguerite Baierski Marguerite Baierski ... Go-Go Dancer
Janice King Janice King ... Go-Go Dancer
Deborah Ann Klein Deborah Ann Klein ... Go-Go Dancer
Theodora Thomas 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

Taglines:

Poor Melvin. All he wanted was to be Milkman of the Month. Instead, he lost his job, his truck, and his wife. Then Howard Hughes left him $156,000,000. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

19 September 1980 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Melvin Dummar Story See more »

Filming Locations:

California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$7,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$4,309,490
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Stereo

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

According to Halliwells, the picture has often been compared to the films of Preston Sturges. 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: 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 Mystery Science Theater 3000: High School Big Shot (1994) See more »

Soundtracks

Hello Walls
Written by Willie Nelson
Performed by Faron Young
Courtesy of Capitol Records
See more »

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User Reviews

Great
21 June 2003 | by LeMille0See all my reviews

I saw this film only recently. I was sparked to see it because I was interested in seeing Paul LeMat in what I had heard to be was his most defining film role. From the first scene I was hooked. The scene in which the character of Melvin picks up Jason Robards, playing Howard Hughes, in the desert. The two singing Bye Bye Blackbird to each other and then remarking about the scent of sage and greasewood was both touching and humorous. Robards short performance in the film was underrated and one of the best I have seen him give. Paul Le Mat is wonderful, giving a performance that is oozing with comical sweetness and vulnerability. He is one of the only actors I have seen to truly embody the blue-collar man authentically. Mary Steenburgen in daffy and hilarious. There was not a lacking actor in the film in my opinion. It is a travesty that Paul LeMat never achieved the success that he could have with performances like this and in his many other seldom viewed films. This offbeat treat is one of the best written movies I have seen in a long time. If you get the chance to see it, please do.


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