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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.

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:

A true story? 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

The name of the television game show was "Easy Street". The real life TV game-shows that it was a fictional amalgam of were The Gong Show (1976) and Let's Make a Deal (1963). The amount of money that Lynda Dummar (Mary Steenburgen) won for tap-dancing to The Rolling Stones' "Satisfaction" on the show was US $10,000. See more »

Goofs

At the end of the truck ride to Vegas, Hughes doesn't know how to open the passenger door from the inside, but in Dummar's flashback at the end of the movie (when Hughes gets to drive the truck), Hughes has no trouble opening the door. 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'.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Hard Eight (1996) See more »

Soundtracks

Fortunate Son
Written by John Fogerty
Performed by Creedence Clearwater Revival (as Creedance Clearwater Revival)
Courtesy of Fantasy Records
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Interesting But Not a Hidden Gem
1 June 2017 | by gavin6942See all my reviews

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.

I can't say I'm an expert on Howard Hughes, and I have never heard this story before. After watching the film and looking into it a bit, I am somewhat interested. Especially knowing that Agent Gary Magnussen was involved.

But the film itself is just alright. Very little of it has anything to do with Hughes or the courtroom drama. Much pf it has to do with the boring life of Dummar and the problems he had with his wife. This was okay, as far as movies go, but certainly nothing extraordinary. I would not place it among Jonathan Demme's best.


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