Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5
USA, 1964. Pennebaker Productions, The Lankershim Company, Universal Pictures. Screenplay by Stanley Shapiro, Paul Henning. Cinematography by Clifford Stine. Produced by Stanley Shapiro. Music by Hans J. Salter. Production Design by Robert Clatworthy, Alexander Golitzen. Costume Design by Jean Louis. Film Editing by Milton Carruth.
Frank Oz’s Dirty Rotten Scoundrels had its origins in this delightful comedy, with Oz’s version a 95% exact duplicate (you figure out the difference and report back). Two masterful con artists, one a suave Brit who impersonates European royalty (David Niven) and the other an American lothario who assumes the identity of melancholy officers (Marlon Brando), butt competitive heads in the French Riviera and try to outdo each other in the game of swindling.
When neither is able to get the upper hand, they then decide to join forces and go after an American soap heiress (Shirley Jones) and split the winnings. They aren’t playing nice for long, though, before they start trying to beat each other at their own game again.
Produced and co-written by Stanley Shapiro (most famous for the Rock Hudson/Doris Day romantic comedies), this candy-coloured concoction is buoyed by delightful performances (even Brando, who is awkwardly cast, tickles a rib), a bouncy screenplay and lovely scenery. Definitely a fun night in front of the tube.