Stuffy, bookish Atterbury Dodd (Leslie Howard) goes from Wall Street's balance sheets to Hollywood's scandal sheets in this rollicking look at Tinseltown's heyday! Sent to take over the reins of floundering Colossal Studios, Dodd finds the film community eyeing him with thinly-veiled amusement. Uncovering a conspiracy to scuttle the studio, he enlists the aid of an unlikely pair of allies: cynical, gin-soaked, and big-hearted producer Douglas Quintain ("Casablanca's" Humphrey Bogart) and Lester Plum ("Grease's" Joan Blondell), the sexy stand-in for an incredibly untalented screen siren!
Humphrey Bogart takes a rare stab at comedy in the show-biz screwball comedy Stand-In
. But though Bogart demonstrates his effortless star power, Leslie Howard (best known as Ashley Wilkes in Gone with the Wind
) turns in a marvelous comic performance as a finicky mathematical whiz named Atterbury Dodd, who's sent by a bank to decide whether a Hollywood studio should be salvaged or shut down. Assaulted by social parasites and stage mothers upon his arrival in Tinseltown, Dodd must take refuge in a flophouse filled with has-beens, never-weres, and a trained seal--among them a former child star (Joan Blondell) whose only job now is as a stand-in for an overrated glamour queen. Between Blondell and Bogart (playing a bitter producer), Dodd gets some lessons in show-biz economics. The movie's ending is dopey, but it's a lot of fun along the way. --Bret Fetzer