Melvin and Howard

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A beautifully observed, beautifully performed offbeat comedy. The story is slim: milkman Melvin Dummar (Le Mat) picks up a grouchy old hobo in the Nevada desert one night, lends him a quarter while disbelieving his claim to be Howard Hughes, and then returns to a mundane life of work, divorce, remarriage, and failed songwriting attempts, until eight years later he appears to have been left a fortune by the dead tycoon. But this remarkable (factually based) plot is merely a hook on which to hang an unglamorous account of American working class life. Melvin and his wives' experiences are double-edged examples of the allure and failure of the American dream of success, fame and wealth, although Bo Goldman's script and Demme's understated direction never become overly serious or 'significant'. And the film's delightful humour derives - unusually in these days of brainless Animal House spoofs and one-liners - from the characters, who are affectionately observed but never patronised.

By: GA

Release details

Duration: 95 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Jonathan Demme
Screenwriter: Bo Goldman
Cast: Paul Le Mat
Jason Robards
Mary Steenburgen
Elizabeth Cheshire
Chip Taylor
Michael J Pollard
Denise Galik
Gloria Grahame
Elise Hudson
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