• moonspinner5511 June 2005
    A fetish for popping eyeballs
    Interesting that 20th Century Fox gave Gene Wilder a second chance to develop his talents as a writer-director-star (and producer AND songwriter this time) after "The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother" left most critics indifferent. "Brother" wasn't terrible, and it reportedly grossed twenty million dollars, but as comic movie-making it was a botch (it had too much manic energy for one picture). Here, Wilder plays a Milwaukee schnook who travels to Los Angeles in the 1920's with his new bride to audition for Rainbow Pictures' answer to Rudolph Valentino. Wilder doesn't float gags around, he hammers away at them without much subtlety or finesse; he loves a good burlesque gag and he's fond of old-fashioned slapstick, but he needs more soft edges (the best scenes are the ones featuring Carol Kane, who is handled gingerly playing the wife). Lots of running jokes (bad ones, like Gene's character being named Rudy Valentine, that simply don't pay off), and too much of Dom DeLuise, bring the picture down. There are some laughs: Gene making eyes at a plain Jane on the train, an overflowing bathtub in a posh hotel. Wilder certainly has lots of ideas, but the results are more miss than hit. ** from ****
  • rdi21014 March 2005
    In Reference To The Bashers Of This Film
    This movie is a perfect example of a film that divides people into 2 groups.. Those who get the joke and those who don't. People usually attack what they don't understand. This film has a comic style and charm that has been unparalleled since. It's a GREAT comedy.. and a GREAT romance. It's a perfect date movie. A perfect movie for someone who wants a good lighthearted laugh. And if your perspective is too tense, maybe this movie isn't for you, and you may need counseling. It is an injustice that Fox has kept this film, along with Wilder's 1975 classic "The Adventure Of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother" on the shelf since the early 80's, having never seen the light of day on DVD. Yet they feel "Big Momma's House" was worthy of a special edition. I find it odd that my two all time favorite romantic comedies have never been released on DVD. The other being Carl Reiner's "The One And Only", which Paramount has sat on since the early 80's as well... Yet, "From Justin To Kelly" is in nearly every video store in the country. There is no Justice in the world. Maybe those who took the time to bash this will enjoy "From Justin To Kelly", I'm sure that one is watered enough for them to "get".
  • mda-1128 September 2007
    Another great and funny movie from Gene Wilder
    Back in April of this year I heard that The Worlds Greatest Lover was going to be on AMC and I was like yes I'm finally going to get to see this movie, I'm a big Gene Wilder fan so.....yeah, anyway the only problem was that it was going to come on at 3 in the morning on a Monday which was a school night for me so I asked my mom to record it for me, so when I came home from school I saw it and thought it was awesome, two or three months later I ordered the DVD off of Barnes and Nobles and I now have it on DVD what I had heard from this movie was that Gene not only stars in this movie but writes, directs, produces, and surprisingly wrote a song for the film as well, I think Gene's take on Rudolph Valentino was pretty cool and I think he came up with some clever ideas like "histerical laryngitis" and sticking your tongue out or twisting your words around whenever his character is nervous. I also thought Carol Kane was wonderful as Rudy's wife Annie and Dom Deluise was as funny as usual as movie mogul Adolph Zitz, one thing you probably found annoying was Gene Wilder's constant screaming and going into hysterics all the time but he does it brilliantly, plus the character of Rudy was very high-strung kinda like Leo Bloom right? so if you like slapstick comedy or if your a fan of Gene Wilder, I highly recommend this and I'd say its another one of Gene Wilder's forgotten films and its a great one to look out for, I'd give it a 7.5 out of 10.
  • Elswet5 March 2006
    Beautiful Love Story, Gene Wilder Stylized Perfection
    This production was built around the search for the next Rudolph Valentino. While this work has become dated, it was filmed as a pseudo-retrospective at the time, so it was already "dated" the day it was filmed.

    This is a total Gene Wilder vehicle. He wrote the screenplay, directed the movie, and was the movie's sole credited producer. He is also THE star of the movie. He does share the limelight with Carol Kane (a pure delight, as usual), but this was one of Wilder's brightest moments. By this time, the world realized they had a comedic genius on their hands and after this work Wilder pretty much had the Midas Touch for a while.

    Kane plays Annie Hickman, the world's greatest Valentino fan. Wilder portrays a Milwaukean baker who is at the end of his rope. His idiosyncrasies are so severe, he finds it impossible to maintain employment. Upon learning of a contest held by Rainbow Studios (NOT the #1 studio) to find the next Rudolph Valentino, Rudy Hickman just "knows" this is his ticket to a better life. His wife leaves him to go find Mr. Valentino. But once Hickman is in the middle of it all, he realizes his wife is what is most important to him and he sets the works in motion to woo her away from Rudolph Valentino. The formula makes for some of the best heart-warming entertainment that's hit the big screen. It's endearing and funny in its bittersweet malaise.

    It also goes a long way towards showing what CAN be done with no effects and no locations beyond the Studio Backlot and a few, cheap but decent sets.

    While it is frayed about the edges, this classic favorite is one ripe for a DVD restoration...perhaps even a 2-disk director's cut for those of us fans who have BEEN fans since the beginning.

    It rates an 8.8/10 from...

    the Fiend :.
  • martinc4310 September 2006
    Carol Kane is the sole survivor.
    I just saw this recently on DVD. I hadn't seen it since it was first released and couldn't remember it that well. Well, I've reacquainted myself with it and, although I'm genuinely not the one to exploit yiddishisms, my first thought was "Oy!" Somebody tell Gene Wilder to stop screaming! He did some funny shrieks in his previous films, including the Mel Brooks romps, but he kept it at the proper minimum. Here he screams in every scene like he's having his leg amputated with a steak knife and anesthetic was unavailable. Other times he mugs like a bad burlesque comic. The film itself is just as subtle, filled with loud music, heavy handed gags, and cartoon sound effects. The "Modern Times" parody is a major embarrassment. This film isn't even good bad. It's just sad bad. Even Wilder, in his DVD commentary said "They don't make movies like this today, and maybe that's a good thing." And then there's Carol Kane, who is absolutely adorable. In time, she too would become self conscious about her comic abilities (especially after "Taxi"), but here she gives a tender, endearing performance with occasional touches of genuine comedic spark which would be even better if only the material would give her more. The Sex-By-The-Numbers segment is the one truly funny bit in the movie.

    Those two look like they were made for each other. I'm really surprised they didn't become an item after the movie. Maybe she just couldn't handle the screaming.
  • FinalChange22 December 2010
    Insufferable, unfunny and convoluted. Skip this one!
    Title says it all. This movie takes its rightful place on the shelf among the worst of the very worst movies ever made. It's really hard to watch. A root canal is a less painful and more fun experience. First off no one is attractive in this movie which really doesn't help things. Gene Wilder's antics go from unfunny to pathetic. I guess this movie was made for the 5 to 10 year old crowd and perhaps those with mental disabilities (mainly due to laziness)who don't need their intelligence stimulated in order to laugh. On 2nd thought if you're a fan of inane reality shows you'll probably like this. It is just as insipid as I can imagine Jersey Shore or the Kardashians must be. One has to wonder how did this turnip ever get made! Oh well, if you're sick with the flu and it's 4:00am and you can't sleep and this is the only thing on, then go for it. Just know what your eyes have watched, the mind can never unwatch and sometimes will even track you down in your worst nightmares & haunt you.
  • marcomeyer28 September 2004
    Yes, it is a funny movie, and yes, it is not
    When I saw this movie on TV some decennials ago, I found it quite funny, because Gene Wilder was "in" at that time. We youngsters longed for more comedies with him after having seen him in the outrageous (is it still seen this way today?) "Young Frankenstein". The movie has its wonderful and romantic moments, sometimes even funny ones. Just enjoy it as a light-weight spoof, as a slapstick-comedy, and if you're a tongue-out-of-your-mouth-sticker, this is definitely the number one movie for you, for it is THE running gag of the show (if you like it or not). Yes, there are many clichés repeated over and over, like for instance Fritz Feld doing his standard hotel receptionist number, but there are so many little fun jewels hidden everywhere. Take for instance the scene when Gene/Rudy, in his exaggerated Hollywood craze thinks he sees Greta Garbo dancing in the hotel garden, falling/jumping on "her" dancing partner, only to detect Garbo is a transvestite. Cheep joke? From today's view perhaps, but not at its time. There were lots of comedies like this one which generate hardly more than a moan today (even the Mel Brooks series). If you can ever get hand on a VHS tape of this movie, grab it and watch it. Simply watch it. Be romanced. Be funny. Forget the cruel world and your cineast attitude. Leave your brain at home. Just watch (and enjoy) that movie!
  • Felonious-Punk28 May 2010
    Gene Wilder's tragi-slapstick masterpiece
    This movie studies a handful of themes, among them: romantic problems, issues of the individual versus conformity, and beauty versus mediocrity. It is set during the Hollywood silent movie days, when Rudolph Valentino was the rage. Wilder plays the lead role, the husband of a Valentino fan, who has to muster up the sexy man in himself in order to save the day. The sets are lush, Carol Kane is gorgeous, Wilder gives one of his most heartbreaking performances, and Harry Nilsson devotes his song "Ain't it kind of wonderful" to the soundtrack. Very ambitious, especially considering that Wilder wrote, directed and produced it.

    Yes, it's true some of the gags are dated or overdone, but there are other things to enjoy. It's in the same league as Woody Allen's early slapstick comedies, like "Sleeper" and "Play it again, Sam", as well as the Mel Brooks' oeuvre.
  • milescorn27 December 2002
    Wilder should have more like this one, it is his best, up there with Blazing Saddles, Stir Crazy, Willy Wonka, Young Frankinstien. The only other film that rivels this one is Sherlocks Holms Smarter Brother. See this film today, it airs on the FXM: Movies From Fox. Highly recomended!
  • oOoBarracuda15 June 2016
    "I love you now, I loved you when we first met, and even after you'd forgotten all the pain I've caused you and perhaps even forgotten me, I'll love you then."
    1977 brought the second attempt of Gene Wilder to produce, direct, write and star in another film. The World's Greatest Lover was a varsity effort by the new director to produce a piece based on a movie star in the 1920's. Gene Wilder stars with Carol Kane, and Dom DeLuise to tell the tale of a man who chases his dream of movie stardom by traveling to Hollywood answering the call for a search for the world's greatest lover. Sometimes, it takes traveling far from home to realize that you already have everything you could ever want.

    Hollywood studio head Adolph Zitz (Dom DeLuise) is competing with the strapping, good-looking, Errol Flynn-esque star of another studio. Zitz decides to post a call asking for men across the country to come to Hollywood and audition for his film The World's Greatest Lover and become a star. Meanwhile, back home in Milwaukee working in a bakery, meek Rudy Hickman (Gene Wilder) dreams of being such a movie star and decides to travel with his bored and listless wife, Annie (Carol Kane) for the audition. All of his life Rudy has wanted to work in the movies and be a star, he daydreams of stardom so much he neglects his work and is unable to keep a job. Rudy ends up getting a screen test, and as his excitement builds with his dream getting closer to reality, his wife is sucked into the Hollywood lifestyle and attempts to have an affair with the famous screen actor Rudolph Valentino. Realizing that he is losing grip on the life he has in search of the life he longs for, Rudy must make the decision to leave his dream in his head, or risk losing everything to chase it.

    What to say about The World's Greatest Lover, you can tell Gene Wilder was incredibly ambitious and wanted to become a director. Much like The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother, Wilder was unhinged in this venture and clearly does better starring in a film that he is not directing. He would have been better if deciding to continue directing not having a starring role in the film. The film starts out with a good premise, then loses its story with poor fluidity and wild performances from all actors involved. There were a few good gags, and it was a nice homage to classic silent cinema, but not much else shines in this film. The directing bug definitely bit Wilder, and clearly sucked too much blood. As much as I love Wilder as an actor and writer, he falters in the director's chair.
  • grouping10 June 2003
    Needed to be tighter, but parts of it were excellent
    I personally thought the film was too long, and had too many belabored or slowly timed gags. They needed to be more crisply and unselfconsciously performed to work.

    The Abalone character was great, and his give and take with people was one of the better points. Still, to have the A-Baloney bit pounded into the ground didn't improve the humor. Too much of a good thing is too much of a good thing.

    Same is true for the 'sex by numbers' bit. Clever, but needed tightening up.

    This said, I'm usually a big fan of Wilder's work. This one just fell a bit flat for me.
  • Benedito Dias Rodrigues7 December 2017
    This turn Wilder didn't was a real Gene Wilder!!
    Eventually anybody can make a mistake,it's perfectly acceptable for human being,so this time Gene Wilder made a bad action very far away from the next to came,the movie itself isn't bad at all in fact Don DeLuise and Carol Kane overcame and saves the picture,allowing us a best review,put aside all this and what remains of tremendous failure is concern to be a good production and all casting given their best but it weren't enough!!for Carol Kane 6 out 10 just for her only!!


    First watch: 2017 / How many: 1 / Source: DVD / Rating: 6
  • SnoopyStyle9 July 2015
    One hilarious scene
    Rainbow Studio is falling behind rival Paramount with their matinée star Rudolph Valentino. Studio head Adolph Zitz (Dom DeLuise) intends to find the next sex symbol for his movie "The World's Greatest Lover". He is surrounded by Yes men and gets violent whenever somebody disagrees. Rudy Hickman (Gene Wilder) from Milwaukee is filled with neuroses. When he gets nervous, he does one of three things. He either sticks out his tongue, gets hysterical laryngitis or mixes up his words. He gets fired again and decides to go to Hollywood with his innocent new wife Annie (Carol Kane) to win that Greatest Lover contest. Annie is tired of living with Rudy and leaves him in search for Rudolph Valentino.

    There is one hilarious scene with Sex by the Numbers. It gets me every time. It's a great bit but the rest of the movie isn't that funny. Rudy Hickman is not a likable guy. The main problem is that he's so dismissive to his wife Annie. That is a real problem for him being the World's Greatest Lover. It's also tough to laugh with the guy.
  • ThatMOVIENut16 January 2015
    Oh Boy, look at those Gams!
    A neurotic baker goes with his wife to 1920s Hollywood for a screen test. However, his wife is obsessed with star Rudolph Valentino, and decides to chase after him, and well, nutty mishaps ensue.

    While I do like this film as a guilty pleasure, I have to be critical and come clean: World's Greatest Lover is an uneven comedy that sums up the excesses of these wacky 70s comedies. But first, the good: The production values and score by underrated master John Morris (a Brooks regular, as well as Lycnh's Elephant Man) deliver, recreating the 'Old Hollywood' feel of the 1920s, and the actors are never awful, with the great Dom Deluise in fine form as the cartoonish studio boss.

    But it's the humour is what makes the film hard to recommend: it follows an basic formula of slapstick, awkward situations and plenty of shouting and eye-bogging from Gene Wilder. Rise and repeat for an hour an a half, and that's the film. Dear old Gene has no control (he wrote, starred, directed and produced this) and without the steady hand of someone like Mel Brooks, he goes way past over-the-top, and almost creates something more like someone parodying Wilder, screaming like a banshee every couple of seconds. He himself is not necessarily terrible, but less generous viewers will be grated. However, his opening dream dance number is quite fun, and probably the film's highlight.

    It's worth owning if you're a hardcore fan of Wilder, and it's taken a LONG time to finally receive a DVD, but, aside from aficionados, you're better off with Young Frankenstein or Blazing Saddles.
  • Equinox238 August 2014
    "This is fake! This is NOT real life!"
    Warning: Spoilers
    Interesting how people rather would comment on their expectations that have apparently not been met by this movie than on the actual movie. Obviously many reviewers expected just a hilarious comedy and their anticipation at least in their view was disappointed. Well, the odd thing is that The World's Greatest Lover is a hilarious comedy offering very funny scenes, but it is also much more than this, it's a brilliant satire. As such it is a comment on Hollywood and not a very pleasant one, though it is set in an era that had at least according to this portrayal not yet succumbed to the mere business side of filmmaking. What one can see - if one chooses to - is a city completely revolving around make-believe. Everybody is a movie star, everybody behaves like one, may it be Rudy on his arrival at the hotel or Uncle Harry and his family. After all this is the dream factory, which btw is an oxymoron. Yet despite of the absolute irreality of movies, there is a craving for reality and truth at its heart. When Rudy finally wakes up and comes to terms with himself realising his love for Annie, the mostly female audience gets hysterical for this is what they are longing for. Thus this movie can also be viewed as a romantic comedy of a man finally waking up from the dreams and expectations imposed on him, which also runs in his most private, sexual life forcing him to use and apply a manual, to the reality of his own dreams, which he can and will make real.
  • snowboarderbo6 May 2003
    this movie is so freakin funny i broke a rib laughing
    ok maybe not really but it sure felt like it the first 60 or 70 times i saw it as a kid on cable i loved this movie cause it was so freakin funny i watched it over and over and over again laughing myself hysterical every time and then when i saw it like 15 years later i laughed so hard i broke a rib laughing ok maybe not really but it sure felt like it ya know what i'm sayin
  • tedg25 September 2003
    Film about Film, Love about Love
    Warning: Spoilers
    Spoilers herein.

    There's a simple kind of film humor, a movie that provides an excuse for an intrinsically funny guy to do his/her thing. And then there are films like this which are themselves funny. In that case, the comedians can inhabit something instead of merely standing on it.

    Very often, such funny constructions are self-referential films: movies about movies, even movies about themselves as movies. This particular example is great: love (even sex) moving from real life through a pretend life in movieland. Then they come back to real life, but not really: the layers have become combined.

    We have dozens and dozens of examples of this form in our database. Alas, this one doesn't work so well. Wilder isn't what his name implies. He's the audience, the white space against which a comic maniac (like Zero Mostel in "The Producers") bounces. Carol Kane is more flexible, but of the same stripe. Its an amazing mistake which underscores the reality that much of the time, talented people just guess about what works, using their very limited home world.

    Too bad. This man -- like many actors who think they can direct -- needed to be saved from himself. Comedy can be left to intuition for a performer, but in sculpting a film, you need to have a theory to work with. That's unless you can make enough noise to substitute, like the Marxes or (sometimes) Robin Williams.

    Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 3: Worth watching.
  • karina-330 March 1999
    Very very funny!
    Gene Wilder and Carol Kane make a wonderful couple in this very funny movie about a guy's romantic hubris and his journey to prove himself in silent movie Hollywood. It's silly and romantic and lots of run - wonderful music by John Morris (I'm lucky - I have the record!)... If you can find it, you should see it. I wish it would come out on DVD!
  • Coventry18 October 2003
    My autobiography is also called like this...
    wha ha ha ha...kidding of course. I thought a joke like this was fairly obvious. The World's greatest lover is a complete Gene Wilder project and by this movie, he proves that he was one of the most talented comedians of his time. There often are moments of great genius to detect in this story about a fed up man who moves from Milwaukee to Hollywood to chase the American dream and become a world famous actor.

    Of course, you have to be a fan of very much over the top humor to enjoy this film but if you are...you certainly won't be disappointed. It becomes a bit boring from time to time but there are enough twists to keep you entertained till the end. There isn't a great idea behind the story but - as usual - it tries to teach you an important life-lesson by using comedy. In this case : your true love may walk beside you since a long time without you realizing it. Take a little time to stand still about your feelings and be true to your heart. Voilà...isn't that something !!! Some great jokes ( especially the scenes with the hotel manager are hilarious ) and nice acting by Gene Wilder and Carol Kane. That's all you need for an 90 minutes of brainless but heart-warming entertainment! Enjoy...
  • mauvemoonlight11 August 2011
    Far more silly than funny
    I think you have to be big fan of Gene Wilder to care for this film. I found it so silly and repetitive I turned the last 30 min. of it off. (it was being shown on cable TV.) Gene Wilder's idea of acting is for him and everyone else in the film to constantly bug their eyes out and behave in an immature and hysterical manner.

    The idea in regards to this story should have been funny but the execution fell short. The idea revolved around Rainbow Studios wanting to find their own Rudolph Valentino - so they offer a screen test to any man who will show up.

    Gene Wilder's character, who is called Rudy Valentine, decides to go to Hollywood, taking his wife, played by Carol Kane,(who unknown to him, is in-love with Rudolph Valentino) along with him. this results in totally unbelievable shenanigans, that unfortunately were not particularly humorous.
  • ptb-820 April 2004
    Chopped Lover, you mean..
    Fox execs and shareholders in 1977 must have thrown their collective hands in the air when presented with this infantile vanity project from a clearly unrestrained Gene Wilder: he wrote directed and starred in this excruciating and labored so called comedy and it is a blueprint for NOT allowing temporarily popular 'comedians' free reign to be auteurs. Just because he was funny in the clever Brooks/Kahn comedies does not automatically make him funny on his own...and this proves it beyond doubt. The Fox Studios art direction and set design of the 20s is lovingly crafted and expensively produced..... ...and then Wilder runs around like a neurotic infant, screaming and spluttering stomping all over the cast and extras like a male Lina Lamont at a jazz baby Bar Mitzvah.

    After Fox's expensive disasters AT LONG LAST LOVE and LUCKY LADY of the previous two years the studio management must have been chewing the palm trees on the lot down to the roots after previewing this. Thank God STAR WARS was on the horizon to bail Fox out of that money pit. In Australia Fox was SO embarrassed by this fiasco it was not released and sat on the shelf waiting for some sympathetic cinema owner to volunteer showing it...and here the other Wilder/Mel Brooks were huge successes. If ever a film needed Madeline Kahn and Mel brooks it is this. Instead we get more of the Huntz Hall level mugging from Dom Deluise that sent the planet mad in other painful misfires like SEXTETTE or THE END. This film should in Jewish comedy parlance be called THE WORLD'S GREATEST LIVER and chopped up accordingly. It is the same sort of ghastly and expensive mindset that also gave us HARRY AND WALTER GO TO NEW YORK. Kids today, or even 30 year olds would just spit at the TV if you showed this to them, so rightly disgusted at the lame babyish drivel Wilder seems to think is his genius. I love fun / bad films and this is NOT one.
  • Katrina Haywood17 January 2006
    I Love This Film!
    Gene Wilder (Rudy Hickman) keeps having trouble with the jobs he's had due to his constant daydreaming or his so called "nervous behavior" dealing with sticking his tongue out at people and temporary voice loss. He decides to go to LA with his wife Carol Kane (Annie Hickman) and change his name to Rudy Valentine to try out to become 'The World's Greatest Lover'. He soon questions if it's really worth ending his marriage to become something he really isn't. Dom Deluise also stars as the head of Rainbow Studios who came up with the idea of searching for 'The World's Greatest Lover'. After seeing Rudy's screen test (Dom) picks him to be one of the top 3 finalists to win a movie contract with Rainbow.
  • 541crowley6 September 2005
    One of Gene Wilder's Best Films!
    This is Gene Wilder at his best! It is one of my all time favorite films. If you ever wanted to be a movie star this film is for you. It shows the struggles of a new actor trying to break into film; at least as it was in the early days of Hollywood. As always Gene keeps you laughing until your sides hurt but what really makes this film different from his others are the love scenes. Their tenderness and passion will touch your heart and bring you to tears no matter how many times you watch the film. Although the only well known supporting actor in the film is Dom De Louise the rest of the cast are wonderful in their role portrayals. If you like Gene Wilder and you spend the hour and a half watching this film I know it will be one of your favorites as well. Let's all make a plea to the studio to put this one out on DVD. As for me it is a MUST HAVE in my collection.
  • willafly5 September 2004
    I love this movie and hope more people can see it.
    I strongly disagree with ptb-8. I love this movie. It's a favorite of mine and it makes me laugh out loud every time I see it. Personally, I think Gene Wilder is a genius. He successfully employs many forms of comedy, including vaudeville which is a rarity in modern film-making and so much fun to watch. Sure it's silly, but it's also a very sweet love story which I find surprisingly moving considering it IS set against a silly comedy. The story is always engaging. The cast is all top-notch: Carol Kane, Dom DeLuise, Carl Ballantine, Ronny Graham, Candy Azzara and of course Mr. Wilder himself, being among my favorites. If you're lucky enough to see this gem, I think you will agree with me. I hope it will be released on DVD soon so that more people can see it.
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