“Stanley Donen, who directed, gives the material some of the magical Warners resilience: the characters define themselves instantly and completely…and they’re played by performers who pop out at us, through sheer acting energy.”
Donen’s late-career triumph is a loving, tongue-in-cheek homage to the Warner Brothers studio fare of the 1930s, with a razor-sharp script by Larry Gelbart and Sheldon Keller (who won a Writers Guild award for their efforts). Presented as a double feature complete with fake coming attractions, the entertainment begins with Dynamite Hands, a black-and-white melodrama in which a hard-luck law student (Harry Hamlin) steps into the ring to win the money for his sister’s eye operation. Next up is Baxter’s Beauties of 1933, a splashy musical about a Ziegfeld-esque theatrical impresario (the great George C. Scott) who believes the show must go on—even in the face of an incurable disease! Ingenuously recycling sets, actors and plot devices from one story to the next, Movie Movie is Donen’s heartfelt comic valentine to the Hollywood of yesteryear.
Not on DVD! Print courtesy of Harvard Film Archive.