Movie Movie is a 1978 American double bill directed by Stanley Donen. It consists of two films: "Dynamite Hands", a boxing ring morality play, and "Baxter's Beauties of 1933", a musical comedy, both starring the husband-and-wife team of George C. Scott and Trish Van Devere. A fake trailer for a flying-ace movie set in World War I titled Zero Hour (also starring Scott) is shown between the double feature.
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Stanley Donen|
|Produced by||Stanley Donen|
|Screenplay by||Larry Gelbart|
|Starring||George C. Scott|
Trish Van Devere
|Music by||Ralph Burns|
|Cinematography||Charles Rosher Jr.|
|Edited by||George Hively|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros.|
Barry Bostwick, Red Buttons, Art Carney and Eli Wallach appear in both segments, with Harry Hamlin, Barbara Harris and Ann Reinking featured in one each. The script was written by Larry Gelbart and Sheldon Keller.
The film is introduced by George Burns, who tells viewers that they were about to see an old-style double feature. In the old days, he explains, movies were in black-and-white except sometimes "when they sang it came out in color."
Joey Popchik, a young man from a poor family, dreams of one day becoming a lawyer. His sister is losing her eyesight, so he becomes a boxer to raise the money to have her cured. Along the way, he gets seduced by fame and fortune, and runs afoul of a crooked boxing manager. In the end, his sister is cured, and Joey, so that "poetic justice could be served," races through law school to become the prosecutor who puts the villain behind bars, spouting corny courtroom aphorisms such as "a man can move mountains with his bare heart."
"Baxter's Beauties of 1933"Edit
Legendary theatrical producer Spats Baxter learns he's dying. To support the daughter he's never known after he's gone, he plans to create one last Broadway smash. Kitty Simpson, a young ingenue with dreams of performing on Broadway, arrives to audition. Baxter's accountant is at heart a genius songwriter Dick Cummings. Baxter's star, Isobel Stuart, is a spoiled actress who almost destroys the entire production with her drunkenness and reckless spending of the show's money. In the end, Kitty must go in Isobel's place. Kitty becomes a star, and learns that Baxter is her long-lost father. As the curtain falls, a dying Baxter tells her "One minute you're standing in the wings, the next minute you're wearing 'em."
- George C. Scott - Gloves Malloy / Spats Baxter
- Trish Van Devere - Betsy McGuire / Isobel Stuart
- Red Buttons - Peanuts / Jinks Murphy
- Eli Wallach - Vince Marlow / Pop
- Rebecca York - Kitty
- Harry Hamlin - Joey Popchik
- Ann Reinking - Troubles Moran
- Jocelyn Brando - Mama Popchik / Mrs. Updike
- Michael Kidd - Pop Popchik
- Kathleen Beller - Angie Popchik
- Barry Bostwick - Johnny Danko / Dick Cummings
- Art Carney - Doctor Blaine / Doctor Bowers
- Clay Hodges - Sailor Lawson
- George P. Wilbur - Tony Norton
- Peter Stader - Barney Keegle (as Peter T. Stader)
- Jimmy Lennon - The Announcer (as James Lennon)
- Barbara Harris - Trixie Lane
- Charles Lane - The Judge / Mr. Pennington
The film originally was called Double Feature and was based on an idea of Larry Gelbart. He pitched the project in 1975 and was successful at Universal. He says it took him and co-writer Sheldon Keller six weeks to write the film and six months to get paid. In June 1976, Universal announced Gelbart would write, direct, and produce the film.
The studio disliked the script and allowed Gelbart to take it elsewhere. Gelbart showed it to Martin Starger, the American representative of Lew Grade. Both Starger and Grade loved the script; Grade had been a backer of Gelbart's Sly Fox and he agreed to finance Double Feature.
It was decided to shoot the film using color stock that could be printed in black-and-white to give the filmmakers the option of showing the film in black-and-white or color. The title was changed to Movie Movie because it was felt Double Feature might be confusing. There were plans to include a Flash Gordon-type serial, but this was not filmed.
George C. Scott said "Gelbart is such a good writer and the picture was so much fun I was almost ashamed to take the money."
The film was previewed extensively. As a result of the preview, a newsreel used to open the film was dropped, along with a trailer for a fake movie. A new ending was shot for "Dynamite Hands," which took one day. A prologue was added starring George Burns, in which Burns explained what double features were.
The film premiered at the Sutton Theatre in New York City on November 22, 1978. In the theatrical release, as George Burns leads us to expect in the film's prologue, "Dynamite Hands" and the mock film trailer (for Zero Hour, a flying-ace movie set in World War I) were in black-and-white, and the musical "Baxter's Beauties of 1933" was in color. Some home video editions featured the original color version of "Dynamite Hands" that was printed on black-and-white film stock during its theatrical release.
Lew Grade liked the movie so much that he commissioned a sequel. In October 1978, he said this would be called Movie Movie Two and would be written by Gelbart and Keller and once more directed by Donen.
The movie failed at the box office. Grade blamed poor distribution from Warner Bros. This contributed to Grade deciding to help set up his own distribution company, with ultimately disastrous financial consequences for him and his company.
Awards and honorsEdit
|Year||Award||Category||Recipient(s) and nominee(s)||Result|
|1978||Los Angeles Film Critics Association||Best Screenplay||Larry Gelbart, Sheldon Keller||3rd place|
|Best Music||Ralph Burns||3rd place|
|National Board of Review||Top Ten Films||Won|
|New York Film Critics Circle||Best Supporting Actor||Barry Bostwick||3rd place|
|Best Screenplay||Larry Gelbart, Sheldon Keller||2nd place|
|1979||Golden Globe Award||Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy||Nominated|
|Best Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy||George C. Scott||Nominated|
|Best Motion Picture Acting Debut - Male||Harry Hamlin||Nominated|
|Berlin International Film Festival||Golden Bear||Stanley Donen||Nominated|
|National Society of Film Critics||Best Supporting Actor||Barry Bostwick||4th place|
|Best Screenplay||Larry Gelbart, Sheldon Keller||3rd place|
|Writers Guild of America Award||Best Comedy Written Directly for the Screen||Larry Gelbart, Sheldon Keller||Won|
|1980||David di Donatello||Best Foreign Music||Ralph Burns||Won|
- Movie Movie at the American Film Institute Catalog
- A JUNKET, JUNKET TO 'MOVIE, MOVIE' Taylor, Clarke. Los Angeles Times 10 Dec 1978: r65
- 'Movie Movie' --Why? Why?: 'Movie Movie' --Why? Why?, By LARRY GELBART. New York Times ]19 Nov 1978: D1.
- MOVIE CALL SHEET: 'Far From the Eyes, Near to Heart', Lee, Grant. Los Angeles Times 30 June 1976: g10.
- FILM CLIPS: Food to the Fore in 'Great Chefs', Kilday, Gregg. Los Angeles Times 12 Sep 1977: f12.
- FILM CLIPS: Lew Grade's $97 Million Projects, Kilday, Gregg. Los Angeles Times 15 Oct 1977: b9.
- Scott Still Foxing the Establishment, Warga, Wayne. Los Angeles Times 18 June 1978: o62
- FILM CLIPS: A New Dimension for a Brother Act, Kilday, Gregg. Los Angeles Times 28 Oct 1978: b11.
- Lew Grade, Still Dancing: My Story, William Collins & Sons 1987 p 251