Funny engaging Comedy
Fernando Silva | Santiago de Chile. | 07/22/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This picture was really a very fine surprise for me, because the starring couple: Leslie Howard and Joan Blondell, have a great "chemistry" goin' on there...Who would have thought that!; The english gentleman per-se and the fast-talking-american dame, ignite fireworks as a romantic team! What a pleasant surprise!
Leslie Howard plays the representative of a Bank who is sent to take charge of a Hollywood studio, to prevent it from being sold for less than it is worth (to an unscrupulous tycoon, impersonated by C. Henry Gordon), there he meets by chance, wisecracking and experienced Stand-In, Joan Blondell, ex-child star (a "has-been"). Howard's very good at numbers, financial figures, etc. but is a complete disaster to face "the real facts of life"...there comes Blondell, to "open his eyes".
Fine acting by Humphrey Bogart as a tough producer in love with a phony star (Marla Shelton). Alan Mowbray is great as another phony, a "temperamental" european director and Jack Carson is usually right as a fast-talking wise-guy.
An unknown gem, that made me laugh a lot, 'cos Leslie Howard is really very good at comedy and makes (oddly enough) an excellent match with Ms. Blondell. Fine Comedy.
Very funny situations and swiftly paced. Completely recommended viewing, for old movie fans and film-buffs in general."
Hilarious look at Hollywood
L O'connor | richmond, surrey United Kingdom | 11/28/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Leslie Howard is a mathematician sent to run a failing film comapny to see if it is worth saving. Utterly bemused by Hollywood, he is helped by a former child star who is now a long-suffering stand-in (Joan Blondell) and tough director Humphrey Bogart. Howard is absolutely hilarious as the naive intellectual grappling with the mysteries of the motion picture industry, and Blondell and Bogart are wonderful too. Howard finds refuge in the boarding house where Blondell stays, and finds himself among a motley crowd of aspiring actors, who include a trained seal and a penguin. As Howard struggles to understand this alien world he comes to be fond of it (and of course fond of Joan Blondell too), and the film builds to a rousing finale when the put-upon workers, stirred up by Howard, rebel against the closure of the company. A wonderful film, Howard was never better, what a wonderful actor he was. If you've only ever seen him as the rather dull Ashely Wilkes in Gone With the Wind, you really should see him in this."
An Amusing Romantic Comedy With Some Sharp Elbows Aimed At H
C. O. DeRiemer | San Antonio, Texas, USA | 04/30/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Atterbury Dodd, a careful accountant from New York, has just spent some time trying to find out what exactly is going on at Colossal Film Studios. "Hasn't anyone an answer for stupidity besides 'that's the picture business'?" he asks. Says a studio worker standing next to him, "Sorry, Mr. Dodd, but that's the only answer."
Stand-In is a good-natured ribbing at the making of movies. It takes some sharp-elbowed hits at budget manipulation, sycophancy, techniques to run up costs, untalented stars, inflated egos, the differences between what labor and management are paid and unscrupulous business dealings. I wonder how the movie was ever permitted to be released, much less made.
Dodd (Leslie Howard) is a precise genius with numbers who realizes that when his bank decides to sell it's interests in Colossal, it will be accepting a low-ball offer. He stands his ground to the bank's chair, and is sent to Hollywood to take over the studio, find out the real worth...or be fired if he's wrong. Dodd's journey to prove he is right, and to become a man who can laugh and fall in love, has just begun. He meets Lester Plum (Joan Blondell), a funny, attractive and poorly paid former child star who now works as a stand-in at Colossal. He meets Tom Potts (Jack Carson), the loud-mouth studio PR man, who is always ready with a braying laugh, an expense account charged to Colossal and a girl. He meets Doug Quentain (Humphrey Bogart), a producer and former drunk, who is suspicious that a flop-in-the-making, Sex and Satan, is deliberately running up expenses. He wants the production closed down. Oh, the people Dodd meets...egoist directors, manipulative business associates, no-talent leading ladies. And through it all, Atterbury Dodd with his quizzical sincerity, his logic, his lists and his naivety, tries to make sense of things. He comes to realize that workers aren't just units, that studios should make good films, that Douglas Quentain is a true friend...and that Miss Plum has very nice legs. In fact, at the end of the movie, we see that the final point on Dodd's list of to-do items in his notebook is "Propose to Miss Plum."
Stand-In is an insider's look at movie-making machinations. It's handled as an amusing exploration from the point of view of a likable and naive outsider. It's a romantic comedy, but with some sharp edges for Hollywood. Leslie Howard, always the intellectual leading man, proves once again how successful he was in convincing women he was a romantic lead in need of protecting and cuddling. Joan Blondell is, as usual, funny, a little acerbic and a little tender. Humphrey Bogart with this movie showed emphatically that he could carry a romantic role as well as handle comedy. It must have been frustrating to immediately be sent back to playing second-fiddle hoods to Jimmy Cagney and Edward G. Robinson. It would be four years and 17 movies before he was able to establish his own star persona.
The DVD presentation is much better than average. There are no extras."
First Rate Comedy
G. Charles Steiner | San Francisco | 07/16/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is a genuinely delightful comedy of the Thirties, starring Joan Blondell and Leslie Howard. She plays the role of the emotionally caring woman and compassionate union wage-worker while he plays the role of an intellectual accountant who has lost touch with his emotional self and views life strictly mathematically and like a capitalistic.
The script was written by Charles Budington Kelland, who, in his own day, was as famous as Harlan Ellison is today, and it's a treat just to have some of his work represented in the form of a DVD. In a piece of this film, Joan Blondell's character mentions Shirley Temple more than a few times during the course of events, but Leslie Howard's character has no idea who this box-office (Millionaire) smash child star is, so cooped up is he with his accounting books behind corporate doors. There is one amazingly funny scene where scrawny Leslie Howard flips zoftic Joan Blondell over his shoulder and flat on her back on the floor, so pleased is he with himself for having learned the trick she taught him to do!
There used to be a time when movies like this would be aired on Sunday morning or early afternoon tv -- for free, for the delight of children and/or the whole family. This is the kind of movie one would have found then. If you want that experience, get this DVD. It's completely enjoyable, and you come away with a good feeling in your heart from having been genuinely entertained all the way to the end."