With a few scabrous exceptions (The Big Knife, The Bad and the Beautiful, The Last Command, possibly Sunset Boulevard), Hollywood movies on Hollywood tend to end up endorsing the body politic of the studio system after indulging in gentle satirical sideswipes at the warts along the way. Stand-In is an example of this peculiar form of incest. Howard plays a mathematical whizzkid (very reminiscent of Cary Grant's professor in the later Bringing Up Baby) sent West to save an ailing independent studio almost crippled by its temperamental female superstar and its last-gasp epic, Sex and Satan. Howard displays few of the lapses into sanctimonious drivel he was later party to, while Blondell (as down-at-heel stand-in) and Bogart (dipsomaniac producer) lend admirable support. But what's most interesting is the Capra-style populism which informs the script's cockeyed notion of grassroots capitalism, and lifts the film well above the level of lightweight screwball comedy.
Cast and crew
Gene Towne, Graham Baker
Leslie Howard Joan Blondell Humphrey Bogart Alan Mowbray Marla Shelton C Henry Gordon Jack Carson