This halfhearted attempt to depict the silent era of motion pictures features Van Dyke in an unconvincing portrayal of an egocentric movie comic who is an amalgam of Harry Langdon, Buster Keaton, and Stan Laurel. Early success leads to carousing, drinking, and eventual self-ruination. Van
Dyke abuses his friend Rooney (who wears a contact over one eye to make it appear that he is cross-eyed), cheats on his wife, and becomes a miserable, dangerous drunk, contending until the end that he has been unfairly treated by the industry. He makes a brief comeback after Allen rediscovers him,
meets a gold-digging floozie, and dies in his hospital bed while marrying her. All o...