Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988)

PG | 110 mins | Comedy | 14 December 1988

Director:

Frank Oz

Producer:

Bernard Williams

Cinematographer:

Michael Ballhaus

Production Designer:

Roy Walker

Production Company:

Orion Pictures
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HISTORY

       The film is a remake of the 1964 film Bedtime Story (see entry), written by Stanley Shapiro and Paul Henning. Articles in the 28 Feb 1988 LAT and 24 Jun 1988 NYT reported writer and executive producer Dale Launer stating that in 1986 United Artists asked him to write a screenplay to feature musicians David Bowie and Mick Jagger. Launer’s suggestion was a remake of Bedtime Story. However, Universal Pictures, distributor of Bedtime Story in 1964, declined to sell the rights. The following year, when asked to write a script to feature actor Eddie Murphy, Launer stated he again wanted to remake Bedtime Story, but Universal was not interested in selling the rights. It was further reported that after teaming up with executive producer Charles Hirschhorn and again being rejected by Universal, Launer conducted his own research. He discovered the rights to Bedtime Story had reverted to one of its screenwriters, Stanley Shapiro, and a deal was drawn between Launer and Shapiro to remake the film. Referring to the working title, King of The Mountain, the 28 Feb 1988 LAT reported that actor Matthew Broderick was considered for a role, but there are no reports of him remaining with the project.
       Although contemporary news items and production charts, such as 24 May 1988 HR and 8 Jun 1988 Var, list Launer as the film’s sole writer, Stanley Shapiro and Paul Henning are both credited onscreen for writing.
       Production charts in the 11 May 1988 Var ... More Less

       The film is a remake of the 1964 film Bedtime Story (see entry), written by Stanley Shapiro and Paul Henning. Articles in the 28 Feb 1988 LAT and 24 Jun 1988 NYT reported writer and executive producer Dale Launer stating that in 1986 United Artists asked him to write a screenplay to feature musicians David Bowie and Mick Jagger. Launer’s suggestion was a remake of Bedtime Story. However, Universal Pictures, distributor of Bedtime Story in 1964, declined to sell the rights. The following year, when asked to write a script to feature actor Eddie Murphy, Launer stated he again wanted to remake Bedtime Story, but Universal was not interested in selling the rights. It was further reported that after teaming up with executive producer Charles Hirschhorn and again being rejected by Universal, Launer conducted his own research. He discovered the rights to Bedtime Story had reverted to one of its screenwriters, Stanley Shapiro, and a deal was drawn between Launer and Shapiro to remake the film. Referring to the working title, King of The Mountain, the 28 Feb 1988 LAT reported that actor Matthew Broderick was considered for a role, but there are no reports of him remaining with the project.
       Although contemporary news items and production charts, such as 24 May 1988 HR and 8 Jun 1988 Var, list Launer as the film’s sole writer, Stanley Shapiro and Paul Henning are both credited onscreen for writing.
       Production charts in the 11 May 1988 Var and 14 Jul 1988 HR stated principal photography began on 6 Jun 1988 in the south of France. According to a 7 Jul 1988 Exhibitor Relations Co., Inc. press release and production notes in AMPAS library files, filming locations included: the Grand Hotel du Cap Ferrat; the La Victorine Studios in Nice; Villefranche-sur-Mer; Villa Hier in Cap d’Antibes; the Rotonde located in Beaulieu-sur-Mer; the Fondation Ephrussie [sic] de Rothschild; and a harbor in Juan-les-Pins. A 14 Jun 1988 HR brief mentioned the film was scheduled not to be completed until 25 Aug 1988. However, news briefs in 16 Aug 1988 DV and 3 Sep 1988 Screen International reported filming was completed “six days ahead of schedule.”
       The 5 Oct 1988 HR stated Orion Pictures held two preview screenings to research the picture’s appeal to different audiences. The first screening on 1 Oct 1988 in San Diego, CA, recruited a “blue-collar” crowd, while an additional screening on 3 Oct 1988 in San Francisco, CA, aimed at a “more upscale” audience. Both screenings received high markings of “excellent and very good”: eighty-eight percent in San Diego and eighty-seven percent in San Francisco.
       The 16 Nov 1988 LAT reported the film’s premiere was schedule for 5 Dec 1988, and would be a benefit for the Leo S. Bing Theatre at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). The 9 Dec 1988 HR and 14 Dec 1988 Var review also noted the film was shown on 6 Dec 1988 at the AMPAS Samuel Goldwyn Theatre in Beverly Hills, CA.
       The film opened on 14 Dec 1988 as noted in the LAT and NYT reviews on that date. The 20 Dec 1988 LAT stated the picture placed fifth at the box office, taking in $3.8 million from 1,466 screens.
       According to news items in the 11 Nov 1996 HR and 22 Nov 1996 Screen International, the Carsey-Werner Company purchased the rights to create an hour “dramedy” television series based on the film, with director Frank Oz being considered to direct the pilot written by writer William Davies. The 12 Dec 1996 HR reported the American Broadcasting Company (ABC) ordered thirteen episodes of the proposed series for the 1997 television season. However, there are no further reports of the series airing on ABC or another network.
       The 12 Jun 2003 DV and 14 Aug 2003 DV stated the picture was being adapted into a Broadway musical. As reported by the 24 Sep 2004 DV and LAT reviews, the musical Dirty Rotten Scoundrels premiered on 22 Sep 2004 at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego, CA, starring actor John Lithgow as “Lawrence Jamieson,” and actor Norbert Leo Butz as “Freddy Benson.” Afterward, a 4 Mar 2005 DV review stated the musical debuted on Broadway at the Imperial Theatre in New York City on 3 Mar 2005. Modern sources state the show closed on 3 Sep 2006.
      End credits list “Special Thanks To: the town halls of Antibes, Villefranche, Beaulieu sur Mer and Nice, South of France; Le Grand-Hotel du Cap-Ferrat; Musee Ile de France; S.N.C.F.; Aerodrome International Cannes-Mandelieu; Societe Marseillaise de Credit; Jama Furs, Nice; Grace Blake; Robin Oz.” End credits also state: “This film was made entirely on location in the south of France and at La Victorine Cote D’Azur Studios, Nice.”
More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
16 Aug 1988
p. 3.
Daily Variety
12 Jun 2003
p. 56.
Daily Variety
14 Aug 2003
p. 7, 42.
Daily Variety
24 Sep 2004
p. 38.
Daily Variety
4 Mar 2005
p. 4, 20.
Hollywood Reporter
24 May 1988.
---
Hollywood Reporter
14 Jun 1988.
---
Hollywood Reporter
14 Jul 1988.
---
Hollywood Reporter
5 Oct 1988.
---
Hollywood Reporter
9 Dec 1988
p. 4, 12.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Nov 1996
p. 1, 47.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Dec 1996.
---
Los Angeles Times
28 Feb 1988
Calendar, p. 20.
Los Angeles Times
16 Nov 1988
View, p. 1.
Los Angeles Times
14 Dec 1988
Calendar, p. 1.
Los Angeles Times
20 Dec 1988
Calendar, p. 2.
Los Angeles Times
24 Sep 2004
Calendar, p. E.1.
New York Times
24 Jun 1988
Section C, p. 8.
New York Times
14 Dec 1988
Section C, p. 21.
Screen International
3 Sep 1988.
---
Screen International
22 Nov 1996.
---
Variety
11 May 1988
p. 64.
Variety
8 Jun 1988
p. 6.
Variety
14 Dec 1988
p. 13, 16.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
An Orion® Pictures Release
a Frank Oz Film
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Dir
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d 2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
Exec prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Video playback op
Key grip
Dolly grip
Best boy
Grip
Gaffer
Best boy
Generator op
Stills photog
Cameras by
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
Asst art dir
FILM EDITORS
1st asst film ed
Asst film ed
Asst film ed
Asst film ed
Apprentice film ed
Apprentice film ed
Apprentice film ed
SET DECORATORS
Prop master
Prop storeman
Prop buyer
Head carpenter
Head painter
Head drape
Asst drape
COSTUMES
Cost des
Asst cost des
Mr. Steve Martin's costumer
Mr. Michael Caine's costumer
Ward asst
MUSIC
Mus ed
Asst mus ed
Mus rec by
Scoring asst
Scoring asst
Featured violinist
SOUND
Prod sd mixer
Boom op
Supv sd ed
Dial ed
Dial ed
A.D.R. ed
A.D.R. ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Foley ed
Foley ed
Asst dial ed
Asst A.D.R. ed
Asst A.D.R. ed
Asst sd eff ed
Asst sd eff ed
Asst Foley ed
Apprentice dial ed
Apprentice sd eff/Foley
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
A.D.R. rec
VISUAL EFFECTS
Title des by
MAKEUP
Mr. Martin's makeup by
Mr. Caine's makeup by
Makeup
Prosthetics makeup
Mr. Martin's hair by
Hairdresser
Hairdresser
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Casting
Loc mgr
Asst loc mgr
Prod secy
Asst prod secy
Prod controller
Asst auditor
French auditor
Casting-Paris
Casting-Nice
Asst casting-Nice
Casting-London
Transport coord
Pub
Asst to Mr. Oz & Mr. Williams
Asst to Mr. Oz & Mr. Williams
Prod asst
Prod asst
Financial representative
Travel arrangements by
Catering by
Post prod services provided by
STAND INS
Stunt double for Mr. Caine
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col by
Col timer
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the film Bedtime Story written by Stanley Shapiro and Paul Henning (Universal Pictures, 1964).
SONGS
“Puttin’ On The Ritz,” words and music by Irving Berlin
“Pick Yourself Up,” words and music by Dorothy Fields and Jerome Kern
“We’re In The Money,” words and music by Al Dubin and Harry Warren
+
SONGS
“Puttin’ On The Ritz,” words and music by Irving Berlin
“Pick Yourself Up,” words and music by Dorothy Fields and Jerome Kern
“We’re In The Money,” words and music by Al Dubin and Harry Warren
“Celui Qui S’en Va,” performed by Marie Myriam, by courtesy of WEA Music France and Laureen Music.
+
PERFORMER
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
King of The Mountain
Release Date:
14 December 1988
Premiere Information:
World premiere in Los Angeles on 5 December 1988
Los Angeles and New York openings: 14 December 1988
Production Date:
6 June -- mid to-late August 1988
Copyright Claimant:
Orion Pictures Corporation
Copyright Date:
16 March 1989
Copyright Number:
PA409349
Physical Properties:
Sound
Spectral Recording Dolby Stereo® in selected theatres
Color
Duration(in mins):
110
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
29476
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In the French Riviera town of Beaumont-sur-Mer, British confidence artist Lawrence Jamieson pretends he is an urbane prince in exile. At the casino of the Grand Hotel, Lawrence meets his associate, Inspector Andre, Beaumont-sur-Mer’s police chief, and learns of a new mark: Fanny Eubanks from Omaha, Nebraska. Lawrence joins Fanny at the roulette table. Andre approaches and addresses Lawrence as “Your Highness,” and Lawrence leaves. Believing Lawrence to be royalty, Fanny approaches Andre, who tells her Lawrence is a prince in need of money to fund his people’s fight for freedom. Intrigued, Fanny finds Lawrence and offers to assist him. Later in her bedroom, Fanny gives Lawrence her diamond earrings. The following day, Lawrence divides the money from selling Fanny’s earrings with Andre, and his manservant, Arthur. After traveling to Zurich, Switzerland, to deposit his money, Lawrence returns to Beaumont-sur-Mer by train. In the dining car, Lawrence sees American Freddy Benson join a woman at another table. Freddy tells her his grandmother is ill and he needs to save money. Moved by his story, the woman offers to buy his meal. Watching the interaction, Lawrence concludes Freddy is a con artist. Later, Freddy barges into Lawrence’s compartment. After Freddy mentions he is going to Beaumont-sur-Mer, Lawrence tells him the Italian Riviera’s Portofino is a richer place. However, Freddy is not persuaded. Lawrence excuses himself and calls Andre. Arriving at the station, a beautiful Italian woman, Marion, enters the compartment, saying she is traveling to Portofino. Freddy decides to stay on the train. Lawrence finds Andre on the platform and ... +


In the French Riviera town of Beaumont-sur-Mer, British confidence artist Lawrence Jamieson pretends he is an urbane prince in exile. At the casino of the Grand Hotel, Lawrence meets his associate, Inspector Andre, Beaumont-sur-Mer’s police chief, and learns of a new mark: Fanny Eubanks from Omaha, Nebraska. Lawrence joins Fanny at the roulette table. Andre approaches and addresses Lawrence as “Your Highness,” and Lawrence leaves. Believing Lawrence to be royalty, Fanny approaches Andre, who tells her Lawrence is a prince in need of money to fund his people’s fight for freedom. Intrigued, Fanny finds Lawrence and offers to assist him. Later in her bedroom, Fanny gives Lawrence her diamond earrings. The following day, Lawrence divides the money from selling Fanny’s earrings with Andre, and his manservant, Arthur. After traveling to Zurich, Switzerland, to deposit his money, Lawrence returns to Beaumont-sur-Mer by train. In the dining car, Lawrence sees American Freddy Benson join a woman at another table. Freddy tells her his grandmother is ill and he needs to save money. Moved by his story, the woman offers to buy his meal. Watching the interaction, Lawrence concludes Freddy is a con artist. Later, Freddy barges into Lawrence’s compartment. After Freddy mentions he is going to Beaumont-sur-Mer, Lawrence tells him the Italian Riviera’s Portofino is a richer place. However, Freddy is not persuaded. Lawrence excuses himself and calls Andre. Arriving at the station, a beautiful Italian woman, Marion, enters the compartment, saying she is traveling to Portofino. Freddy decides to stay on the train. Lawrence finds Andre on the platform and thanks him for instructing Marion to tempt Freddy to Portofino. The next day, Andre reads a newspaper article about “The Jackal,” an American con artist working in Western Europe. Andre and Lawrence assume Freddy to be “The Jackal.” Andre informs Lawrence that Krista Knudsen, a wealthy young widow is scheduled to arrive in Beaumont-sur-Mer. Just then, Krista drives by with Freddy Benson in her white Ferrari. Later, Freddy takes Krista’s Ferrari around town and spends the money she gave him for his grandmother. However, Andre and Krista follow him, and seeing Freddy’s deceit, Krista files a complaint. Andre arrests Freddy and puts him in jail. Remembering Lawrence from the train, Freddy telephones him. Lawrence tells Freddy he needs five thousand dollars to bribe Andre. After Freddy promises to get the money, Lawrence and Andre escort him to the Beaumont-sur-Mer airport. From the airplane, Fanny Eubanks sees Lawrence shaking Freddy’s hand. During the flight, Fanny approaches Freddy and tells him about her relationship with the prince. After hearing Fanny’s story, Freddy realizes that Lawrence conned her. The next day, Freddy arrives unannounced at Lawrence’s villa, wanting to be mentored in the con man’s methods. To keep him quiet, Lawrence agrees. He includes Freddy in the exiled prince charade as “Ruprecht,” the prince’s simple-minded brother. As Ruprecht, Freddy scares away the rich women Lawrence promises to marry after stealing their money. A month later, Lawrence withholds Freddy’s share of the money, stating he would only spend it foolishly. Frustrated, Freddy leaves. However, Lawrence discovers Freddy has not left Beaumont-sur-Mer and insists they cannot work in the same place. Freddy suggests a bet: the first man to con the most money from a woman stays. Lawrence agrees. At the Grand Hotel, they learn that Janet Colgate, the United States “Soap Queen,” just checked-in. The men agree on Janet being the mark, and tricking her out of fifty thousand dollars. Later at the hotel casino, Lawrence sits next to Janet at the roulette table. Arriving in a wheelchair and formal military uniform, Freddy asks the dealer how much his military medal is worth. When told the medal cannot be cashed in, Freddy leaves in tears. Concerned, Janet follows him. Freddy tells her he is on “Mental Trauma Leave” because he lost the feeling in his legs, after his fiancée cheated on him with a dance competition host. He continues saying only Dr. Emil Schaffhausen, a psychiatrist in Liechtenstein, can cure him, but the price for the treatment would be fifty thousand dollars. Freddy further convinces her by pretending to have a panic attack while seeing a couple dancing. Janet takes Freddy to her hotel room, promising to write to the Schaffhausen Clinic and pay for his treatment. As they leave, Andre informs Lawrence of Freddy’s story. Leaving Freddy in her room to mail the letter, Janet follows a bellboy paging Dr. Schaffhausen in the lobby and finds Lawrence. After introducing himself as “Dr. Emil Schaffhausen,” Janet pleads Freddy’s case. Lawrence agrees to take Freddy as a patient, if Janet pays the fifty thousand dollars fee directly to him. She agrees and leads Lawrence to her room to meet Freddy. Unable to trick Freddy into moving his legs, Lawrence insists Freddy come to live in his villa for treatment. Before leaving the hotel, Mrs. Reed, a former mark Lawrence conned money from, recognizes Lawrence and calls him “Your Highness.” To fool Janet, Lawrence tells Mrs. Reed he is on an undercover mission. Afterward, Lawrence informs Janet that Mrs. Reed is a former patient suffering from delusions. Throughout the week, Freddy and Lawrence compete for Janet’s attentions and affections to secure her money. At a local dance hall, Lawrence and Janet dance, while Freddy, in his wheelchair, watches. Freddy tells two British sailors that Janet was his girl friend, but Lawrence stole her. When Lawrence kisses Janet, the sailors offer to kidnap Lawrence and send him to Honduras. Later at the Grand Hotel, as Lawrence walks Janet to her room, she tells him she almost has the fifty thousand dollars. Lawrence says he thought she was the “Soap Queen.” However, Janet explains she won a contest for the “United States Soap Queen” from the United States Soap Company, and received a cash prize and European trip. Her winnings will not cover Freddy’s treatment, so she has asked her father to sell her belongings. Driving to the villa, Lawrence tells Freddy the bet is cancelled because Janet has no money. However, Freddy changes the stakes, with the winner being the first to trick Janet into sleeping with him. Lawrence accepts in order to protect Janet from Freddy. The British sailors from the dance hall pull up in a van and abduct Lawrence. As they drive away, Freddy thanks the sailors and returns to the hotel. In her room, Freddy tells Janet he loves her, and proves it by getting out of his wheelchair and walking. Lawrence appears and deems Freddy “cured.” After leaving Janet’s room, Lawrence informs Freddy that the sailors freed him because he is a Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve member, and that Janet will be leaving in the morning. Lawrence leads Freddy to a suite where the British sailors are having a party. Knowing Freddy lied to them, the sailors promise to keep Freddy away from Janet. In the morning at the airport, Janet tells Lawrence she is falling in love with Freddy, but Lawrence insists she must leave and waives the fifty thousand dollars fee. He returns to the hotel and finds Freddy in the sailors’ suite with his hand super-glued to the wall. Lawrence informs Freddy he lost the bet because Janet is gone. Freddy goes to Janet’s hotel room and finds it is empty, but Janet appears, tells Freddy she loves him, and kisses him. Meanwhile, Andre telephones Lawrence to inform him Janet returned to the hotel for Freddy. Later, Janet comes to Lawrence in tears, confessing she slept with Freddy, but afterwards he stole her fifty thousand dollars. Feeling sorry for Janet, Lawrence places fifty thousand dollars of his own money into a satchel and gives it to her. He instructs his manservant, Arthur, to call Andre and have Freddy arrested while he takes Janet to the airport. Before she boards the airplane, Janet returns the satchel, saying she cannot accept Lawrence’s money. As the plane takes off, Andre arrives with Freddy in a bathrobe saying Janet stole his clothes and money. Opening the satchel, Lawrence finds Freddy’s clothes and a note from “The Jackal.” Realizing they have been conned, Freddy is upset, but Lawrence is impressed. A week later at Lawrence’s villa, Freddy prepares to leave Beaumont-sur-Mer. Just then, a group of Greek vacationers arrive, led by Janet in a red wig. Posing as real estate agent “Paula,” Janet introduces her Greek millionaire client to “Chips O’Toole,” the Australian hotel mogul. Playing along, Lawrence answers in an Australian accent. Janet then introduces Freddy as “Randy Bentwick,” Chips’ mute, junior partner. As the millionaire and his friends wander towards the villa, Janet tells Lawrence and Freddy that conning them out of fifty thousand dollars was the most fun she has ever had. The three of them walk to the villa, discussing their next con. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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