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USA 1980
Directed by
Jonathan Demme
95 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3 stars

Melvin And Howard

Melvin And Howard is the fact-based story of Melvin Dummar, a Utah gas station owner who claimed that a mysterious stranger left a will by Howard Hughes naming him heir to a $156 million legacy.

Scripted by Bo Goldman (who took out an Academy Award for it) the film is a mildly diverting piece that runs out of narrative steam but at its best is an understated satire on the American Dream. This aspect is tellingly encapsulated mid-stream with a mock television talent contest.

In the lead Paul LeMat, an actor who never again managed to get so close to the sun, plays the chronic loser, Melvin, Jason Robards, a notional Howard Hughes and Mary Steenburgen, who picked up the Best Supporting Actress Oscar, Melvin's first wife. The real Melvin Dummar appears as the bus station counter-hand.




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