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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The names of some of the classic movies from the Golden Age of Hollywood that swashbuckling film legend actor Alan Swann (Peter O'Toole) had starred in were "Rapture", "Amarillo", "Swords of Glory", "Sands of Sudan", "Defender of the Crown" and "Captain from Tortuga". See more »
Early in the movie a labor leader and his attorney meet with the show's producer to state that an actor's portrayal of a person having that labor leader's character is "slander." The producer replies that the labor leader is a public figure and so the test of defamation is more difficult than simple slander. That test, the Public Figure test, was not developed until ten years after the year the movie takes place. This is correct insofar as federal Constitutional law is concerned, in New York Times vs. Sullivan. However, the public figure test had been adopted by various state supreme courts well before the U.S. Supreme Court adopted it nationally, so it is not necessarily incorrect that a public figure would have a harder time proving slander, even in 1954. See more »
You see, people like me, we're targets. I'm blamed for a lot of things I had absolutely nothing to do with. On the other hand, because of who I am, I get away with murder in other areas. I suppose it all balances out in the end.
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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 »
Hilarious film about a Sid Caesar-like comedy series where the special guest is a legendary swashbuckler movie idol who is more known for taking to drink, than for his acting credits. O'Toole shines as Alan Swann, the swashbuckler on his first live television series. Bologna is priceless as the Sid Caesar-like star of the comedy show. Baker is also wonderful as the young comedy writer assigned to watch Swann's every move. There is great support from Bill Macy, excellent as the show's head writer; Green as the show's producer; Hoffman as a comedy writer who only whispers how he feels...only to speak at the end of the film and Kazan, who is simply divine as Baker's mother. The film is a fine slice of old fashioned comedy with great slapstick and dialogue with lots of zap and zing. Director Benjamin shines in his first venture behind the camera. O'Toole was Oscar nominated.
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