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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Leslie Howard, Humphrey Bogart, Joan Blondell, Alan Mowbray, Marla Shelton
  • Directors: Tay Garnett
  • Writers: C. Graham Baker, Clarence Budington Kelland, Gene Towne
  • Producers: Walter Wanger
  • Format: Black & White, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Image Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: January 28, 2003
  • Run Time: 91 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00007ELDZ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #121,539 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Stand-In" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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See all 7 customer reviews
What a pleasant surprise!
Fernando Silva
People who enjoy films about Hollywood with drama, romance and even some comedy would do well to add this to their collections.
Matthew G. Sherwin
Humphrey Bogart with this movie showed emphatically that he could carry a romantic role as well as handle comedy.
C. O. DeRiemer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By L O'connor on November 27, 2003
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Leslie Howard is a mathematician sent to run a failing film comapny to see if it is worth saving. Utterly bemused by Hollywood, he is helped by a former child star who is now a long-suffering stand-in (Joan Blondell) and tough director Humphrey Bogart. Howard is absolutely hilarious as the naive intellectual grappling with the mysteries of the motion picture industry, and Blondell and Bogart are wonderful too. Howard finds refuge in the boarding house where Blondell stays, and finds himself among a motley crowd of aspiring actors, who include a trained seal and a penguin. As Howard struggles to understand this alien world he comes to be fond of it (and of course fond of Joan Blondell too), and the film builds to a rousing finale when the put-upon workers, stirred up by Howard, rebel against the closure of the company. A wonderful film, Howard was never better, what a wonderful actor he was. If you've only ever seen him as the rather dull Ashely Wilkes in Gone With the Wind, you really should see him in this.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Fernando Silva on July 21, 2004
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This picture was really a very fine surprise for me, because the starring couple: Leslie Howard and Joan Blondell, have a great "chemistry" goin' on there...Who would have thought that!; The english gentleman per-se and the fast-talking-american dame, ignite fireworks as a romantic team! What a pleasant surprise!

Leslie Howard plays the representative of a Bank who is sent to take charge of a Hollywood studio, to prevent it from being sold for less than it is worth (to an unscrupulous tycoon, impersonated by C. Henry Gordon), there he meets by chance, wisecracking and experienced Stand-In, Joan Blondell, ex-child star (a "has-been"). Howard's very good at numbers, financial figures, etc. but is a complete disaster to face "the real facts of life"...there comes Blondell, to "open his eyes".

Fine acting by Humphrey Bogart as a tough producer in love with a phony star (Marla Shelton). Alan Mowbray is great as another phony, a "temperamental" european director and Jack Carson is usually right as a fast-talking wise-guy.

An unknown gem, that made me laugh a lot, 'cos Leslie Howard is really very good at comedy and makes (oddly enough) an excellent match with Ms. Blondell. Fine Comedy.

Very funny situations and swiftly paced. Completely recommended viewing, for old movie fans and film-buffs in general.
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Format: DVD
Atterbury Dodd, a careful accountant from New York, has just spent some time trying to find out what exactly is going on at Colossal Film Studios. "Hasn't anyone an answer for stupidity besides 'that's the picture business'?" he asks. Says a studio worker standing next to him, "Sorry, Mr. Dodd, but that's the only answer."

Stand-In is a good-natured ribbing at the making of movies. It takes some sharp-elbowed hits at budget manipulation, sycophancy, techniques to run up costs, untalented stars, inflated egos, the differences between what labor and management are paid and unscrupulous business dealings. I wonder how the movie was ever permitted to be released, much less made.

Dodd (Leslie Howard) is a precise genius with numbers who realizes that when his bank decides to sell it's interests in Colossal, it will be accepting a low-ball offer. He stands his ground to the bank's chair, and is sent to Hollywood to take over the studio, find out the real worth...or be fired if he's wrong. Dodd's journey to prove he is right, and to become a man who can laugh and fall in love, has just begun. He meets Lester Plum (Joan Blondell), a funny, attractive and poorly paid former child star who now works as a stand-in at Colossal. He meets Tom Potts (Jack Carson), the loud-mouth studio PR man, who is always ready with a braying laugh, an expense account charged to Colossal and a girl. He meets Doug Quentain (Humphrey Bogart), a producer and former drunk, who is suspicious that a flop-in-the-making, Sex and Satan, is deliberately running up expenses. He wants the production closed down. Oh, the people Dodd meets...egoist directors, manipulative business associates, no-talent leading ladies.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Matthew G. Sherwin HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 23, 2013
Format: DVD
Stand In is a fine little picture that amused me; at the same time it does a rather good job of showing how Hollywood can be a crazy place. Moreover, we get a fish-out-of-water type of story with a stuffy lawyer/accountant/efficiency expert being thrown in with a bunch of mixed up Hollywood people with egos and it all holds its own rather well. The sets were terrific and very detailed especially in the film studio scenes while both the choreography and the cinematography reflect good and careful forethought. The script was well written with plenty of one liners and laughs and the casting couldn't have been done any better--the acting was very convincing, too! Leslie Howard does a particularly good job playing the stuffed shirt accountant. In addition, the musical score, while certainly not a musical, enhances the film even though once or twice it was the type of music that tells you how to feel. However, the film is so good that this becomes a minor quibble.

When the action starts (and there's plenty of it), lawyer/efficiency expert/accountant Atterbury Dodd (Leslie Howard) dares his cranky old boss Fowler Pettypacker (Tully Marshall) that he can save Colossal Studios so that Pettypacker's firm can realize the studio's full economic potential. Pettypacker would much rather get rid of the studio for 5 million dollars by selling it to a real snake in the grass, Nassau (C. Henry Gordon), who wants Colossal merely to make it another one of his financial conquests--by shutting it down! (I know, the way Nassau will make money off this is vague; but this is Hollywood.) Pettypacker tells Atterbury to go out and save Colossal if Atterbury truly thinks it's possible--but if Atterbury fails, he's not to come back!
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