5.9/10
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26 user 11 critic

The World's Greatest Lover (1977)

A neurotic baker travels to Hollywood to attend a talent search for an actor to rival the great Valentino. Although not an actor, through blind luck he succeeds, to a certain degree.

Director:

Gene Wilder

Writer:

Gene Wilder
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Gene Wilder ... Rudy Hickman
Carol Kane ... Annie Hickman
Dom DeLuise ... Adolph Zitz
Fritz Feld ... Tomaso Abalone
Mark Silberman Mark Silberman ... Cousin Buddy
Robert Ball Robert Ball ... Bald Man (as Robert E. Ball)
Randolph Dobbs Randolph Dobbs ... Yes Man #1
Sandy Rovetta Sandy Rovetta ... Woman Dancer
Hannah Dean Hannah Dean ... Maid
Rita Conde Rita Conde ... Whore #1
Lupe Ontiveros ... Whore #2
Teda Bracci Teda Bracci ... Whore #3
Elaine Everett Elaine Everett ... Whore #4
Gustaf Unger Gustaf Unger ... Producer
Harry Gold Harry Gold ... Freddie the Runner
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Storyline

In the early 1920s Hollywood, Adolph Zitz, who surrounds himself with yes men, wants his movie studio, Rainbow, to be the greatest in town by making a movie called the "World's Greatest Lover" and finding that next star to outshine Rudolph Valentino as the renowned screen lover of his time. Mild mannered and somewhat hapless Rudy Hickman dreams of being such a movie star, he daydreaming about it so much that he is unable to hold onto his bakery jobs. With his supportive but highly hysterical wife Annie Hickman by his side, Rudy, using the stage name Rudy Valentine, pulls up stakes from Milwaukee and heads to Hollywood to try out for that part. He ends up getting a screen test like the thousands of other hopefuls flooding Hollywood for the chance. Annie, who loves the movies herself but who is naive from not having had much exposure to the world, has ulterior motives for going to Hollywood. Both Annie's Hollywood mission and Valentino himself will affect what happens to Rudy in ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Go ahead - laugh!

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish | French

Release Date:

13 February 1978 (Denmark) See more »

Also Known As:

O Maior Amante do Mundo See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Part of a cycle of movies made during the mid to late 1970s about Tinseltown, Old Hollywood, and its Golden Age, including the silent film era. The movies include: Fedora (1978), Inserts (1975), Valentino (1977), Nickelodeon (1976), Silent Movie (1976), The Wild Party (1975), The Last Tycoon (1976), Hearts of the West (1975), The Day of the Locust (1975), The World's Greatest Lover (1977), Gable and Lombard (1976), Goodbye, Norma Jean (1976), Bud and Lou (1978), and W.C. Fields and Me (1976). See more »

Goofs

The "audition" record that Rudy listens to is obviously an LP running at 33 1/3 rpm. LPs would not be invented until the late 1940s. See more »

Quotes

Annie Hickman: Rudy, what are we gonna do? They think you're a famous movie star. We can't pay for this. Oh, my god! Rudy, Rudy, did you see the bathroom? Rudy, there's seven towels in the bathroom. Rudy, Rudy, we can't afford this.
Rudy Valentine: Don't talk about money.
Annie Hickman: But, Rudy, we only have...
Rudy Valentine: My soul is on fire! Don't talk to me about money!
See more »

Crazy Credits

There is a credit to Frederico Fellini, who was not on the picture, 'for encouragement at the right time'. See more »

Connections

Featured in WatchMojo: Top 10 Gene Wilder Performances (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

Fascination
(uncredited)
Written by Fermo Dante Marchetti
Instrumental version played on the violin in Valentino's tent and at the end
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A fetish for popping eyeballs
11 June 2005 | by moonspinner55See all my reviews

Interesting that 20th Century Fox gave Gene Wilder a second chance to develop his talents as a writer-director-star (and producer AND songwriter this time) after "The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother" left most critics indifferent. "Brother" wasn't terrible, and it reportedly grossed twenty million dollars, but as comic movie-making it was a botch (it had too much manic energy for one picture). Here, Wilder plays a Milwaukee schnook who travels to Los Angeles in the 1920's with his new bride to audition for Rainbow Pictures' answer to Rudolph Valentino. Wilder doesn't float gags around, he hammers away at them without much subtlety or finesse; he loves a good burlesque gag and he's fond of old-fashioned slapstick, but he needs more soft edges (the best scenes are the ones featuring Carol Kane, who is handled gingerly playing the wife). Lots of running jokes (bad ones, like Gene's character being named Rudy Valentine, that simply don't pay off), and too much of Dom DeLuise, bring the picture down. There are some laughs: Gene making eyes at a plain Jane on the train, an overflowing bathtub in a posh hotel. Wilder certainly has lots of ideas, but the results are more miss than hit. ** from ****


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