Stand-In

Stand-In

Director: Tay Garnett

Cast: Leslie Howard, Joan Blondell, Humphrey Bogart

     
 
Tay Garnett's Stand-In, produced by Walter Wanger, is one of the more enduring screen entertainments of the 1930's. Stand-In is refreshing as a satire of the business of the movie business, and also gives out a surprisingly collectivist slant on the industry and its problems. Sharp-tongued and often cynical, it was produced independently by Walter Wanger

Overview

Tay Garnett's Stand-In, produced by Walter Wanger, is one of the more enduring screen entertainments of the 1930's. Stand-In is refreshing as a satire of the business of the movie business, and also gives out a surprisingly collectivist slant on the industry and its problems. Sharp-tongued and often cynical, it was produced independently by Walter Wanger and distributed by United Artists. The film has mostly turned up on channels like AMC in recent years -- it was never on home video or laserdisc, and so this DVD is really the first opportunity that audiences have to find the film in a home viewing format. The transfer is good but unspectacular, drawn from a source that shows a certain limited degree of fading but which is otherwise clean and intact. It misses the mark set by Warner Bros.' releases of such 1930's titles as The Thin Man or 42nd Street, or Kino's issue of Counsellor-At-Law. There's detail in the picture but not a lot of richness in the image -- on the other hand, this is such a fast-moving film, that one doesn't have much of a tendency to dwell on shots or the details of images, as the screwball-style satire of Hollywood unfolds before us at a breakneck pace. The movie has been given 12 chapters with no extras of any kind, not even a trailer. The producers are evidently counting on the fact that Humphrey Bogart and Leslie Howard are the stars of the movie (along with Joan Blondell, who is very good but no longer a major marketing point) to sell it, and the two actors are appealing in their roles as well as their scenes together. Even if one didn't know that it, in fact, was the case, it is clear from their scenes together that Bogart and Howard were very good friends, and obviously enjoyed the chance to work with each other again, a year after The Pretrified Forest and in the wake of their work in the same piece on Broadway. Moreover, Bogart and Howard were sufficiently outsiders to the Hollywood system that they seem the revel in their roles, in this savage burlesque of the film mecca. It's that chemistry, along with the mix of Hollywood roman-a-clef and Capra-esque comedy/drama that makes this disc worthwhile and, indeed, special -- after all, how many really good Bogart or Howard titles are there out there that most of us haven't seen to death, much less any with unusual stories or subjects? On the technical side, the disc opens automatically to its menu, an extremely easy to maneuver single frame offering chapters and the "Play" option as a default setting.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Dan Friedman
Stand-In is a formulaic studio film from the 1930s that still manages to hold up well today due to some fine performances, some well-timed situational comedy, and a story that doesn't take itself too seriously. Leslie Howard plays Atterbury Dodd, an accountant sent west to Hollywood to turn around a failing movie studio or close it down. In the process he finds a girl for a love interest, a producer for a partner, and learns a deep, meaningful lesson about seeing through cold facts to people's hearts. It is a bit cheesy but still some good fun. Joan Blondell is Howard's main foil and she is very warm and likable. Character actor Alan Mowbray is also very good and very funny as a Russian director who has made a disastrous jungle epic that will be the studio's ruin unless Howard and his producer cohort, played by a scene-stealing Humphrey Bogart, can salvage it. Fans of Howard and Bogart will remember their pairing in the classic The Petrified Forest, and their chemistry works in this long over-looked film as well. Bogart, in particular, prior to his achieving true leading man status, seems almost unrecognizable in a supporting role. Blondell manages to generate some genuine pathos from her stock role, that of the girl who goes unrecognized by a single-minded man, and she does so without going over the top. The frustration Howard finds when he tries to conduct business in a normal manner, only to be told "That's Hollywood" wears a little but is still amusing. The most humorous aspect is the illustration of how Hollywood has always spoofed itself, dating back to its origins and continuing throughout its history.

Product Details

Release Date:
01/28/2003
UPC:
0014381192124
Original Release:
1937
Rating:
NR
Source:
Image Entertainment
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[B&W]
Sound:
[Dolby Digital Mono]
Time:
1:31:00

Special Features

[None specified]

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Leslie Howard Atterbury Dodd
Joan Blondell Lester Plum
Humphrey Bogart Douglas Quintain
Alan Mowbray Koslofski
Marla Shelton Thelma Cheri
Jack Carson Potts
C. Henry Gordon Ivor Nassau
J.C. Nugent Pennypacker, Jr.
Tully Marshall Pennypacker, Sr.
William V. Mong Pennypacker

Technical Credits
Tay Garnett Director
C. Graham Baker Screenwriter
Charles G. Clarke Cinematographer
Charles Kerr Asst. Director
Otho Lovering Editor
Heinz Roemheld Score Composer
Rox Rommel Musical Direction/Supervision
Wade B. Rubottom Art Director
Dorothy Spencer Editor
Helen Taylor Costumes/Costume Designer
Alexander Toluboff Art Director
Gene Towne Screenwriter
Walter Wanger Producer

Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Main Title; The Offer [6:15]
2. The Scam [8:28]
3. New in Hollywood [10:36]
4. Colossal Studios [9:06]
5. The New Secretary [9:19]
6. Learning to Dance [8:11]
7. The Art of Self Defense [3:27]
8. "Sex and Satan" [9:55]
9. The Plan [7:06]
10. The Cookie Crumbles [5:01]
11. Saving the Studio [12:29]
12. End Credits [:27]

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