6.8/10
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37 user 27 critic

Melvin and Howard (1980)

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2:43 | Trailer

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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

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$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

One of writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson's favorites films. Actor Jason Robards' final cinema movie was Anderson's Magnolia (1999). The photography in Anderson's The Master (2012) is said to have been inspired by this picture. 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: C'est la vie.
Melvin Dummar: What's that?
Lynda Dummar: French, Melvin. I used to dream of becoming a French interpreter.
Melvin Dummar: You don't speak French.
Lynda Dummar: I told you it was only a dream.
See more »

Connections

Version of Howard Hughes: His Women and His Movies (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

Gone Dead Train
Written by Russ Titelman and Jack Nitzsche
Performed by Crazy Horse
Courtesy of Warner Bros. Records Inc.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Quirky Film Deserves A Look
18 April 2006 | by ccthemovieman-1See all my reviews

Here's a strange tale of a couple and their on-and-off again marriage and the stupid things they do.....and the eventual flak over money billionaire Howard Hughes supposedly left the man.

Paul LaMat plays the husband and supposed beneficiary. He's just fun to watch, a likable, never-loses-his-cool kind of guy. Mary Steenburgen plays his wife and kind of surprised me by how much skin she showed, not the usual scenario with her. Both of them are somewhat low-lifes. Heck, even Hughes (Jason Robards) is pictured to look kind of scummy character in here. Then again, his last years on this earth were a bit strange!

It's a fictional story but those of us who remember, there WAS a lot of flak over the will of Howard Hughes. Despite this being on the grungy side (typical for movies between 1970-1981) this is still an appealing film in a sweet kind of way.

One thing for sure: it's different. Well worth a look.


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