Movie Movie (1978)

PG | 106 mins | Comedy, Musical | 22 November 1978

Director:

Stanley Donen

Producer:

Stanley Donen

Editor:

George Hively

Production Designer:

Jack Fisk

Production Company:

ITC Entertainment
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HISTORY

As reported in the 29 Jan 1978 LAT, producer-director Stanley Donen feared that the picture’s original title, Double Feature, might lead the public to mistake it for a pairing of two of star George C. Scott’s existing movies. He hoped to rename the film and thought the title Movie Movie better reflected the tone of the picture. In the 19 Nov 1978 LAT, co-writer Larry Gelbart confirmed that the movie had been retitled to reduce potential audience confusion.
       Actor George Burns appears onscreen in an explanatory prologue introducing the two movies. The two mini-films are separated by a mock preview of a third picture entitled Zero Hour, starring George C. Scott as a World War I flying ace.
       According to Gelbart's article in the 19 Nov 1978 LAT, a studio he declined to identify bought his concept in mid-1975. The idea consisted of a newsreel, a short serial and two trailers interspersed between two 1930s-style films shot in black and white; however, the studio reportedly disliked Gelbart’s finished script and failed to see the film’s box-office potential. Given permission to market the screenplay elsewhere, Gelbart secured the interest of Sir Lew Grade and executive producer Martin Starger in mid-1977.
       A news item in the 29 Aug 1977 DV reported that actress Ann-Margret was in discussions with Donen about playing a dual role in the film but she is not listed in onscreen credits. Likewise, the 8 Sep 1977 DV announced that actor James Farentino would co-star in the picture, but the 12 Oct 1977 DV ... More Less

As reported in the 29 Jan 1978 LAT, producer-director Stanley Donen feared that the picture’s original title, Double Feature, might lead the public to mistake it for a pairing of two of star George C. Scott’s existing movies. He hoped to rename the film and thought the title Movie Movie better reflected the tone of the picture. In the 19 Nov 1978 LAT, co-writer Larry Gelbart confirmed that the movie had been retitled to reduce potential audience confusion.
       Actor George Burns appears onscreen in an explanatory prologue introducing the two movies. The two mini-films are separated by a mock preview of a third picture entitled Zero Hour, starring George C. Scott as a World War I flying ace.
       According to Gelbart's article in the 19 Nov 1978 LAT, a studio he declined to identify bought his concept in mid-1975. The idea consisted of a newsreel, a short serial and two trailers interspersed between two 1930s-style films shot in black and white; however, the studio reportedly disliked Gelbart’s finished script and failed to see the film’s box-office potential. Given permission to market the screenplay elsewhere, Gelbart secured the interest of Sir Lew Grade and executive producer Martin Starger in mid-1977.
       A news item in the 29 Aug 1977 DV reported that actress Ann-Margret was in discussions with Donen about playing a dual role in the film but she is not listed in onscreen credits. Likewise, the 8 Sep 1977 DV announced that actor James Farentino would co-star in the picture, but the 12 Oct 1977 DV stated that Farentino left the project in response to a change in one of the two characters he was to portray.
       Articles in the 12 Sep 1977 and 29 Jan 1978 LAT reported that principal photography would begin 10 Oct 1977 at Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) Studio Center and the Burbank Studios, and was scheduled to last about ten weeks.
       Gelbart noted in the 19 Nov 1978 LAT that the movie was filmed on color stock to give the filmmakers the flexibility of printing it in color or in black and white. The 2 Mar 1978 DV announced the film was in postproduction as of that date.
       Initially budgeted at $5-6 million, Movie Movie recouped its $6 million cost prior to opening, due to advance television and foreign sales, according to the 12 Sep 1977 LAT and the 10 Dec 1978 LAT.
       As reported by DV on 7 Jun 1978 and 27 Oct 1978, at Sir Lew Grade’s request, Gelbart wrote a sequel parodying films from the 1940s, called Movie Movie II. Donen was set to produce and direct for Grade and Grade’s brother, Bernard Delfont, who planned to release the picture through their joint domestic distribution company, Associated Film Distribution Corp. Inc. (AFD). Although Starger suggested the film could be the beginning of a series, the sequel was never made.
       In a 19 Nov 1978 LAT article, Gelbart noted that sneak previews in San Francisco, CA, on 30 Jun 1978 presented the newsreel, the first film, Dynamite Hands, and two trailers in black and white, then the second film, Baxter’s Beauties of 1933, in color. Based on audience reactions, a new ending was shot for the first segment, funnier lines were added and the newsreel and one of the trailers were dropped before three more versions of the movie previewed in Sep 1978. The first preview replaced the newsreel with a written prologue, the second showed both segments in color and the third showed both films in black and white. After the screenings, the filmmakers returned to the original idea of presenting the first half of the film in black and white and the last half in color. Then the decision was made to redo the prologue in color with an onscreen celebrity explaining the film’s structure directly to the audience. George Burns consented to introduce the picture and Donen shot him in that part in late Oct 1978 or early Nov 1978, according to news items in LAT and DV on 30 Oct 1978 and 8 Nov 1978. In the VHS print viewed by AFI, the prologue and both films are in color and the trailer is in black and white.
       Movie Movie opened 22 Nov 1978 at the Sutton Theater in New York City and on 22 Dec 1978 in Dallas, TX, Denver, CO, and at the Avco Cinema Center in Westwood, CA, with additional releases scheduled for Jan 1979 and Feb 1979, as announced in a 7 Nov 1978 Warner Bros. press release, an article in the 8 Nov 1978 DV and the 22 Nov 1978 NYT review. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
29 Aug 1977
p. 3.
Daily Variety
8 Sep 1977
p. 3.
Daily Variety
12 Oct 1977
p. 3.
Daily Variety
20 Oct 1977
p. 6.
Daily Variety
2 Mar 1978
p. 3.
Daily Variety
7 Jun 1978
p. 3.
Daily Variety
27 Oct 1978
p. 1, 20.
Daily Variety
30 Oct 1978
p. 3.
Daily Variety
8 Nov 1978
p. 1, 24.
Daily Variety
15 Nov 1978.
---
Daily Variety
18 Dec 1978
p. 1, 18.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Nov 1977.
---
Hollywood Reporter
1 Feb 1978
p. 1, 28.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Nov 1978
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Dec 1978.
---
Hollywood Reporter
11 Jan 1979.
---
Los Angeles Times
12 Sep 1977.
---
Los Angeles Times
10 Dec 1978.
pp. 65-66.
Los Angeles Times
29 Jan 1978
Calendar, p. 52, 55.
Los Angeles Times
10 Dec 1978.
---
New York Times
19 Nov 1978
p. 1, 17.
New York Times
22 Nov 1978
p. 9.
Variety
8 Nov 1978.
---
Variety
15 Nov 1978
p. 18.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Dynamite Hands:
in
James Lennon
Robert Herron
Baxter's Beauties of 1933:
in
Robert Herron
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Sir Lew Grade presents
A Martin Starger production
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr/Asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog, Dynamite Hands
Dir of photog, Baxter's Beauties of 1933
Cam op
Asst cam
Asst cam
Key grip
Gaffer
Still photog
Best boy
Key grip
2d grip
CBS best boy
Dolly grip
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Asst art dir
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Assoc film ed
Asst film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set des
Prop master
Const coord
Const foreman
Paint foreman
Leadman
Leadman
Asst prop master
COSTUMES
Cost des
Head draper
MUSIC
Songs, Lyrics by
Songs, Lyrics by
Songs, Music by
Songs, Music/Songs, Vocal arrangements
Mus ed
SOUND
Sd mixer
Re-rec mixer
Sd eff ed
Boom man
VISUAL EFFECTS
Title des
DANCE
Baxter's Beauties of 1933 mus numbers staged by
Asst choreog
MAKEUP
Make-up artist
Make-up artist
Make-up artist
Make-up artist
Hairstylist
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Exec in charge of prod
Post prod supv
Scr supv
Prod coord
Prod asst
Prod asst
Loc mgr
Transportation coord
Transportation co-capt
Fight coord
Craft service
Prod auditor
Assoc auditor
Unit pub
Extras casting
STAND INS
Stunt double, Dynamite Hands
Stunt double, Dynamite Hands
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Double Feature
Release Date:
22 November 1978
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 22 November 1978
Los Angeles opening: 22 December 1978
Production Date:
began 10 October 1977 in Los Angeles, CA
Copyright Claimant:
I.T.C. Films, Inc.
Copyright Date:
5 March 1979
Copyright Number:
PA28980
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
106
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
25313
SYNOPSIS

Dynamite Hands:
Although deli delivery boy Joey Popchik impresses boxing trainer Gloves Malloy when he knocks out a high-ranking contender, Joey has no interest in being a professional fighter. Instead, he is saving money to attend law school. That night, Joey learns his sister, Angie, needs a $25,000 operation to save her eyesight. After consulting with his girlfriend, librarian Betsy McGuire, Joey visits Gloves and agrees to box just long enough to pay for Angie’s surgery. Joey wins nearly every fight but after six months, he has earned only $300. One night, while relaxing at a nightclub with Gloves and Betsy, Joey begs his trainer to get him a match at Madison Square Garden so he can earn significant money, but Gloves insists Joey is not ready for the venue. Overhearing the conversation, Gloves’s rival, promoter Vince Marlowe, claims he can get Joey a fight at the Garden in just three months. Joey agrees to Vince’s terms despite Gloves’s warning about working with the unscrupulous promoter. As Gloves and Betsy leave in disgust, Vince introduces Joey to the club’s glamorous female headliner, Troubles Moran. Later, Joey resumes training with Gloves but has Vince book all the fights and begins dating Troubles. One night, Joey comes home to find Angie kissing one of Vince’s gangster henchmen, Johnny Danko. Joey throws the man out, then goes to Vince’s apartment to demand all the money he is owed. Vince explains he booked Joey a fight at Madison Square Garden in a few days and promises to give Joey all the money for ... +


Dynamite Hands:
Although deli delivery boy Joey Popchik impresses boxing trainer Gloves Malloy when he knocks out a high-ranking contender, Joey has no interest in being a professional fighter. Instead, he is saving money to attend law school. That night, Joey learns his sister, Angie, needs a $25,000 operation to save her eyesight. After consulting with his girlfriend, librarian Betsy McGuire, Joey visits Gloves and agrees to box just long enough to pay for Angie’s surgery. Joey wins nearly every fight but after six months, he has earned only $300. One night, while relaxing at a nightclub with Gloves and Betsy, Joey begs his trainer to get him a match at Madison Square Garden so he can earn significant money, but Gloves insists Joey is not ready for the venue. Overhearing the conversation, Gloves’s rival, promoter Vince Marlowe, claims he can get Joey a fight at the Garden in just three months. Joey agrees to Vince’s terms despite Gloves’s warning about working with the unscrupulous promoter. As Gloves and Betsy leave in disgust, Vince introduces Joey to the club’s glamorous female headliner, Troubles Moran. Later, Joey resumes training with Gloves but has Vince book all the fights and begins dating Troubles. One night, Joey comes home to find Angie kissing one of Vince’s gangster henchmen, Johnny Danko. Joey throws the man out, then goes to Vince’s apartment to demand all the money he is owed. Vince explains he booked Joey a fight at Madison Square Garden in a few days and promises to give Joey all the money for Angie’s operation after the bout. On his way out, Joey realizes that Troubles is there, sleeping with Vince. Days later, Joey tries to win Betsy back, apologizing for his behavior and swearing she is the only girl for him, but Betsy insists she needs time to consider his request. The night of the Garden fight, Vince instructs Joey to intentionally lose the fight in the fifth round; if Joey refuses, Vince will not pay him the money for Angie’s operation. Joey then learns that Gloves, his parents, and everyone in his neighborhood have bet all their money on him to win. Joey allows his opponent to best him until the end of the fourth round, when he learns that Angie has married Johnny and her new husband is going to pay for her operation. As Betsy appears ringside to support Joey, he rallies in the fifth round and knocks out his opponent. In the locker room, Gloves urges Joey and Betsy to quickly leave the premises to escape Vince’s ire, stating that he figured out that Vince tried to rig the match and expressing his intention to report the promoter to the boxing commission. Before Gloves can make the phone call, however, Vince orders him to be shot. Hearing the gunfire, Joey runs back to the arena in time to hear Gloves’s dying words. Sometime later, Joey appears in court, having rushed through law school to become a district attorney so he could prosecute Vince for Gloves’s murder. After Joey delivers his closing arguments, the jury finds Vince guilty. As reporters clamor for Joey’s final statement, Angie and Johnny arrive and announce that her operation was a success. With Betsy by his side, Joey dedicates his prosecution to Gloves’s memory.

Baxter’s Beauties of 1933:
Broadway producer Spats Baxter learns from his doctor that he has Spencer’s disease and will die in one month. Spats is determined to mount one last hit show for the sake of the young woman whom no one knows he fathered. Having accidentally killed her mother in a drunken car accident years ago, he was always too ashamed to face the girl, but he sends money to her at the finishing school she attends upstate. Meanwhile, ingénue Kitty Simpson arrives on Broadway, secures a role in Spats’s latest show, and is befriended by veteran chorus girl, Trixie Lane, who nurses a secret crush on Spats. Later, Spats visits the star of his show, alcoholic Isobel Stuart, who refuses to rehearse unless she gets a new musical score by the next day. When Spats discovers that his new accountant, Dick Cummings, is an aspiring composer, he hires the young man to deliver twelve new songs within twenty-four hours. That night, Dick and Kitty run into each other and when she unwittingly inspires the last song he needs, they fall in love. At rehearsal the next morning, Isobel lauds the new score and begins to romance Dick, who squires the star around town and forgets about Kitty. One day, Dick overhears Isobel sneering to Spats that she is just using Dick so he will continue to write great songs for her. Dick apologizes to Kitty and they resume their romance. Meanwhile, Spats learns that Isobel has charged thousands of dollars against the production budget and he now owes $36,000. Spats tells the cast and crew he has to shut down the show because he cannot repay the debt. That night, an anonymous patron gives Spats the money he needs to continue the production. Kitty confides in Trixie that she gave Spats the money she has been saving from her own unknown benefactor. Days later, during the dress rehearsal, Isobel spies Dick and Kitty kissing and tells Spats if he does not get rid of Kitty, she will leave the show. Spats reluctantly fires Kitty and she disappears. On opening night, Spats finds that Isobel has fallen and broken her ankle in a drunken stupor; she cannot perform. When Trixie divulges to Spats that Kitty knows Isobel’s part and that the girl gave him the $36,000, Spats realizes Kitty is his daughter and that she must have returned to her finishing school. Trixie and Dick rush upstate, explain to Kitty her true parentage, and bring her back in time to perform in the show. The musical is a big success but when the curtain falls, Spats collapses on the stage. As the cast and crew crowd around, Spats expresses pride in Kitty, urges Dick to take care of his daughter and laments overlooking Trixie for so many years, then dies. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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