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Stand-In (1937)

Cast: Leslie Howard, Leslie Howard, Joan Blondell, more...
Director: Tay Garnett, Tay Garnett
    see all cast/crew...
Rating: Not Rated
Studio: Image Entertainment
Genre: Comedies, Screwball
Running Time: 91 min.
    see additional details...

Bookish bank employee Atterbury Dodd (Leslie Howard) is ordered to investigate the near-bankrupt Colossal Studios in Hollywood, to see if the firm is any sort of good risk. Dodd's first brush with Tinseltown's cuckoo atmosphere occurs when he takes a room in a boarding house for extras, where all manner of eccentrics wander about as they wait for the phone to ring (Charles Middleton comports himself in an Abe Lincoln costume, on the off-chance that Hollywood will go back to making Civil War pictures soon). He befriends Lester Plum (Joan Blondell), a former child star now working as a stand-in for haughty movie queen Thelma Cheri (Marla Shelton), and perpetually soused producer Douglas Quintain (Humphrey Bogart). Aware that the latest epic of autocratic director Koslofski (Alan Mowbray) will ruin the studio, Howard investigates further, discovering that a rival company has bribed Koslofski to pad the budget and thus bring about the foreclosure of Colossal. While his business sense tells him that this is the next logical move, Dodd has fallen in love with Plum; thus, he gives Quintain 48 hours to re-edit Koslofski's fiasco into something workable, and himself staves off the studio's shutdown by rallying all the Colossal employees to stand firm against being removed from the premises. Based on a Saturday Evening Post story by Clarence Buddington Kelland, this is a light-hearted satire of the movie industry, the sort of amiable farce in which everyone--even the most contentious of characters--is shown to be basically decent underneath. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

Forgotten little gem by baygelldawg April 21, 2003 - 3:18 PM PDT
8 out of 8 members found this review helpful
This is a movie lover's movie, an unfairly forgotten Hollywood-on-Hollywood comedy about a brainy but socially inept accountant (Leslie Howard) who is sent by his employer, a New York bank, to Hollywood to attempt to make a film studio profitable. Joan Blondell plays the snappy gal (every comedy of that era had a snappy gal) who gives him a hand.

This flick has everything you would want to see in old Hollywood: long-gone landmarks, child stars, stage mothers, stunt men, unemployable former stars of the silent era, sound stages, special effects, even a view of an editing room. There is a nighclub montage that is nothing short of brilliant.

This is also an unusual chance to see Humphrey Bogart in a comedic role.

If you like old movies, don't miss this one. I stumbled on it by mistake when searching for Bogart films. Thank you, GreenCine, for carrying this movie!

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 5.90)
10 Votes
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