Benjy Stone is the junior writer on the top rated variety/comedy show, in the mid 50s (the early years). It's a new medium and the rules were not fully established. Alan Swann, an Erol Flynn type actor with a drinking problem is to be that week's guest star. When King Kaiser, the headliner wants to throw Swann off the show, Benjy makes a pitch to save his childhood hero, and is made Swann's babysitter. On top of this, a union boss doesn't care for Kaiser's parody of him and has plans to stop the show.Written by
John Vogel <email@example.com>
The film garnered one Academy Award nomination in 1983 which was for Best Actor - Peter O'Toole [but O'Toole did not win]. Excluding O'Toole's Honorary Oscar in 2000, the film was O'Toole's last Oscar nomination for a considerable amount of time. After this movie, O'Toole was not nominated again until Venus (2006) in 2007, a gap of around twenty-four years. See more »
In the movie, "The Comedy Cavalcade" is broadcast from an auditorium studio in 30 Rockefeller Plaza. In the 50s, NBC had leased various Broadway theaters for their prime time variety shows, which were not done from 30 Rock. The 30 Rock studios were built to produce radio variety shows and were suitable for game shows and later programs like The Tonight Show, but could not handle sketch comedy shows with large casts and lots of scenery. (Studio 8-H, now home of SNL, was set up for live dramas with no studio audience.) See more »
In the original version that was previewed for test audiences, the final sequence revealed Benjy Stone sitting next to the grave of Alan Swann. In effect, that version made the entire film a flashback. Then again, the opening sequence clearly establishes the entire film as a flashback. See more »
How High the Moon
Performed by Les Paul and Mary Ford
Music by Morgan Lewis (uncredited)
Lyrics by Nancy Hamilton (uncredited)
Courtesy of Capitol Records Inc.
Heard under the narration during the opening scene
Played also as dance music at the Stork Club See more »
A Movie of Moments
The best movies have moments -- scenes so powerful, or simply so note-perfect, that they live on in your memory after the plot is forgotten.
"My Favorite Year" has more than its share of these.
Other reviewers on this page have singled out the dinner at Belle Mae Steinberg Carioca's (Lainie Kazan's) Brooklyn apartment. They might also have mentioned the scene in which a titanically intoxicated Alan Swann (O'Toole)essays to "shimmy down" the side of a building, using a fire hose as rapelling gear, or the farcically climactic fight scene on live 50's TV.
But two other moments resonate even more strongly; they explain completely why Peter O'Toole was cast in this otherwise comedic role.
In the first, O'Toole's character interrupts his own plans for an evening of debauchery to fulfill a fantasy by dancing with an aging, but still glorious Gloria Stuart. Both onscreen and off, the audience is spellbound in the midst of the slapstick as these two senior-citizen actors seize the screen for the duration of their waltz.
Even more compelling is an important scene later in the movie in which Swann makes a quick trip to visit a young daughter whom he hasn't seen in years. He watches her from the car, but can't bring himself to get out and speak to her. The scene is played completely without dialogue. With the camera focused tightly on the warring emotions which play across O'Toole's face, no dialogue is necessary. It's a powerful, lump-in-the-throat moment every divorced dad will recognize.
I join others on this page in urging you to rent this movie for the laughs. As you laugh, however, stay alert for two of the truest moments ever placed on film. Enjoy.
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