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Movie Movie

Stanley Donen's Movie Movie is a clumsy attempt to spoof the kind of film fare encountered in pic houses of the 1930s and 1940s. The idea was patronizing in its conception, is a flatout embarrassment in its execution, and weak vehicle for George C. Scott and other principal talents involved.

Stanley Donen’s Movie Movie is a clumsy attempt to spoof the kind of film fare encountered in pic houses of the 1930s and 1940s. The idea was patronizing in its conception, is a flatout embarrassment in its execution, and weak vehicle for George C. Scott and other principal talents involved.

The overlong, 105-minute feature is split into three parts: a black-and-white sendup of those boxing sagas where the slum youth fueled by earnest ambition gets catapulted to fame and riches (Dynamite Hands); a satire of a coming attractions trailer featuring a saga of World War I pilots; and finally, a shot-in-color takeoff of the making of a Flo Ziegfeld-type Broadway musical (Baxter’s Beauties of 1933).

But instead of gently twitting the conventions of old Hollywood pot-boilers, Movie Movie tries to milk the cliches by observing and scorning them simultaneously. The conception is a mess, and it shows.

Things are so muddied that Donen tacked on, after the pic was shot, a prolog by George Burns telling the audience that yes, Movie Movie is intended as fun. Too bad Burns didn’t stick around for the rest of the film.

Movie Movie

  • Production: Warner. Director Stanley Donen; Producer Stanley Donen; Screenplay Larry Gelbart, Sheldon Keller; Camera Charles Rosher Jr, Bruce Surtees; Editor George Hively; Music Ralph Burns; Art Director Jack Fisk
  • Crew: (Color) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1978. Running time: 105 MIN.
  • With: George C. Scott Barbara Harris Eli Wallach Trish Van Devere Red Buttons Barry Bostwick
  • Music By: