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My Favorite Year

My Favorite Year

5.0 2
Director: Richard Benjamin

Cast: Peter O'Toole, Mark Linn-Baker, Jessica Harper


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A funny and surprisingly warm film that features a sly, Oscar-nominated performance by Peter O'Toole, My Favorite Year receives a solid DVD release from Warner Bros. The disc restores the movie to its original theatrical aspect ratio in a clean widescreen anamorphic transfer and features a fair monophonic audio soundtrack that showcases legendary jazz arranger


A funny and surprisingly warm film that features a sly, Oscar-nominated performance by Peter O'Toole, My Favorite Year receives a solid DVD release from Warner Bros. The disc restores the movie to its original theatrical aspect ratio in a clean widescreen anamorphic transfer and features a fair monophonic audio soundtrack that showcases legendary jazz arranger Ralph Burns' fine score. The only real DVD bonus, besides the now obligatory theatrical trailer, is director Richard Benjamin's audio commentary on the making of the movie. While ex-leading man Benjamin offers an engaging guide through making his directorial debut and working with actors as gifted as O'Toole, the story behind the movie is so rich that a great feature-length documentary could be made on its back story. My Favorite Year is based on executive producer Mel Brooks' real-life experiences as a writer on Sid Caesar's brilliant TV series Your Show of Shows. Star Peter O'Toole had just gotten his own roustabout life under control when he delivered this delightful performance as a veteran alcoholic actor based on Errol Flynn. This comedy is a great window onto the world of Sid Caesar's famed -- and still very funny -- series as well as a nostalgic love letter to 1950s New York City. Sid Caesar's writing stable also included Neil Simon, who went on to write Laughter on the 23rd Floor, based on his own experiences as a fledgling comedy writer. My Favorite Year is Richard Benjamin's best bow as a director and it was a nice surprise to find that he was also put in charge of bringing Laughter on the 23rd Floor to the small screen in 2001.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble
A hilarious homage to the Golden Age of television, My Favorite Year pokes fun at the behind-the-scenes zaniness that typified TV production in New York during that halcyon era. The year is 1954; Senate hearings vie with old B-westerns for ratings, and young Benjy Stone (Mark Linn-Baker) is writing for Comedy Cavalcade, the hottest variety show on the air. He's on top of the world, and chaperoning that week's guest star -- fading matinee idol Alan Swann (Peter O'Toole) -- should be a pleasurable assignment. But Swann is a dissolute rake whose outrageous antics keep Benjy in constant damage-control mode; it's a toss-up as to whether or not the old boy will make it to the broadcast sober and in one piece. Director Richard Benjamin (Mermaids) lovingly re-creates this colorful era in showbiz history, using for his supporting cast many of the actors and celebrities who were actually working in the New York studios during those years. O'Toole, who earned an Academy Award nomination for his scene-stealing performance, was enough of an off-screen carouser himself to lend verisimilitude to his characterization of Swann, who was obviously patterned after swashbuckling movie star Errol Flynn. O'Toole's flamboyant manner and rich comic timing make him an absolute delight, and he's ably supported by Joseph Bologna (playing TV host King Kaiser), Bill Macy, Lainie Kazan, Lou Jacobi, Selma Diamond, and Adolph Green. Wryly satirical in some spots and openly slapstick in others, My Favorite Year is a real rib-tickler from first frame to last -- as fresh and satisfying today as it was in 1982. Benjamin and O'Toole reminisce about the film's making in their commentary for the DVD, which also includes highlights of O'Toole's career and Year's original theatrical trailer.
All Movie Guide - Dan Friedman
An excellent film from top to bottom, My Favorite Year captures a long-lost time and place to perfection through the use of very clever dialogue, humorous situations, and casting that is nearly as perfect as can be. The story, loosely based on the late career of Errol Flynn, involves a dissolute matinee idol named Alan Swann, played by Peter O'Toole, and his scheduled appearance on a live television variety show à la Sid Caesar's Your Show of Shows. Told through the eyes of junior writer Mark Linn-Baker, who idolizes Swann, the film is a tour de force for O'Toole that allows him to show off and stretch his comedic skills. Mostly associated with the great epics of his career, it's a delight watching O'Toole play this swashbuckling souse with such aplomb. Joseph Bologna, in the Caesar role, is truly wonderful, as he doesn't resort to stereotyping and has a definite edge to him that would not ordinarily be expected in someone who is more or less a clown. Linn-Baker has the put-upon look of exasperation down to a science, and gets to use it very well in the scenes with his overbearing mother, played by Lainie Kazan. Fans of Kazan from My Big Fat Greek Wedding will be interested in seeing her playing more or less the same role with a different ethnicity. Director Richard Benjamin shows a nice comedic touch in letting the more subtle humor shine through and many of the jokes are almost lost in the surrounding mayhem, but they are all very funny. The rest of the cast is a who's who of comedy character actors, including Bill Macy, Lou Jacobi, and the late great Adolph Green as Bologna's main foil. There are many little subplots that feed into the big climax, which is the live broadcast. The scene where O'Toole realizes that he is going to appear on live television and his subsequent reaction to that information is a classic.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Warner Home Video
Region Code:
[Full Frame]
[Dolby Digital Mono]

Special Features

Closed Caption; Feature-length audio commentary by director Richard Benjamin; Interactive menus; Theatrical trailer; Scene access; Languages: English & Français; Subtitles: English, Français, Español & Português

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Peter O'Toole Alan Swann
Mark Linn-Baker Benjy Stone
Jessica Harper K.C. Downing
Joseph Bologna King Kaiser
Bill Macy Sy Benson
Lainie Kazan Belle Carroca
Anne de Salvo Alice Miller
Basil Hoffman Herb Lee
Lou Jacobi Uncle Morty
Adolph Green Leo Silver
Tony di Benedetto Alfie Bumbacelli
George Wyner Myron Fein
Selma Diamond Lil
Cameron Mitchell Karl Rojeck
Phil Adams Stagehand #1
Rex Benson Makeup Man
Corinne Bohrer Bonnie
Richard Brestoff Stage Manager
Stanley Brock Mr. Berkowitz
Philip Bruns Fed. Marshal Holt
Richard Butler Stagehand #2
Nick Dimitri Thug #4
George Fisher Thug #2
Teresa Ganzel Dumpling
Martin Garner Mr. Cantor
Howard George Artie
Ted Grossman Marris
Karen Haber Vivian
Archie Hahn Delivery Boy
Fox Harris Curt
Barbra Horan Lady Eleanor
Priscilla Kovary Priscilla
Denver Mattson Thug #1
John Medici Scalfoni
Jed Mills Member #1
Jenny Neumann Connie
George Marshall Ruge Lord Drummond
Vincent Sardi Policeman
Pearl Shear Mrs. Kessler
Ramon Sison Rookie Carroca
Norman Steinberg Sandy
Richard Warwick Technical Director
John Welsh Cubby Brown

Technical Credits
Richard Benjamin Director
William S. Beasley Asst. Director
Ralph Burns Score Composer
Richard Chew Editor
Michael Gruskoff Producer
Gerald Hirschfeld Cinematographer
Jerry Jost Sound/Sound Designer
Art Levinson Producer
Michael Levy Producer
Herb Mulligan Set Decoration/Design
Chris Newman Sound/Sound Designer
Dennis Palumbo Original Story,Screenwriter
Larry Rapaport Set Decoration/Design
Donald J. Remacle Set Decoration/Design
Charles Rosen Production Designer
May Routh Costumes/Costume Designer
Norman Steinberg Screenwriter

Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Credits (Stardust). [1:52]
2. Benjy's Hero. [4:51]
3. What Guys Want. [2:22]
4. Script Notes & Whitewalls. [2:47]
5. Responsible. [4:23]
6. Removal Business. [5:04]
7. Bathing Duty. [3:14]
8. The Stork Club. [4:01]
9. Dancing Diversions. [3:14]
10. Morals in the Morning. [2:49]
11. Belle Is Ringing. [2:00]
12. For Ladies Only. [2:41]
13. Not Funny. [5:34]
14. Kissing Portion. [2:30]
15. Thanks for Caring. [2:42]
16. Dinner in Brooklyn. [4:02]
17. Shame on Me. [4:32]
18. Party Crashers. [5:55]
19. Horse Thief's Secrets. [3:52]
20. Seeing Tess. [5:01]
21. Wrong Costume? [2:32]
22. Star Jitters. [3:46]
23. Showtime. [2:35]
24. Hijack Sketch Hijacked. [3:17]
25. The Hero Needed. [3:25]
26. End Credits [3:02]


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My Favorite Year 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
MarilynRH More than 1 year ago
I absolutely adore this movie and want very much to see it available in Blu-ray.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie was a pleasant surprise. It pokes fun at the ''Your Show of Shows'' concept. There is no better cast than this one. Peter O'Toole is one of my favorites, but it is the first time I ever saw Mark Linn-Baker in anything, and he really does hold his own. I was so impressed with everyone, and I don't normally say that. The surprising thing is that Gloria Stuart is in this movie, she dances with Peter O'Toole, and I spoke to her about this movie. It is her favorite as well. Her and I agree that Peter O'Toole is one of the best actors there is. You must see this movie.