Taglines: Nice guys finish last. Meet the winners.
Lawrence Jamieson is an intelligent and sophisticated British con artist operating in the French Riviera with the help of manservant Arthur and corrupt police official Andre. He seduces wealthy and morally suspect women and steals their money. His only concern is a con artist known as “The Jackal” who has been preying on other wealthy victims.
When underachieving American hustler Freddy Benson searches for easy marks in Beaumont-sur-Mer, Lawrence’s home base, Lawrence believes the Jackal has shown his face. Worried that Freddy’s inexperienced antics will scare away his prey, Lawrence has Freddy arrested and put on the next plane out of town. However, Freddy meets one of Lawrence’s former marks and deduces that he is also a crook.
Returning to Beaumont-sur-Mer, Freddy forces Lawrence to take him on as a pupil in exchange for his silence. Lawrence attempts to teach Freddy about high culture with limited success. He also involves him as a subordinate player in his cons, making him play the mentally challenged and socially inept Ruprecht in order to scare away their female targets after their money has been acquired. Freddy, tired of not getting paid and the humiliating part he has to play, strikes out on his own.
Lawrence believes there are not enough potential victims in Beaumont-sur-Mer for both of them, so a bet is proposed to decide who will stay. The first to con $50,000 out of a selected mark may remain; the other must leave town. The two select Janet Colgate, a naive American heiress, and embark on their separate strategies while ruthlessly sabotaging each other.
Freddy poses as a psychosomatically crippled U.S. Navy officer unable to walk after seeing his fiancee cheat on him with Dance U.S.A. host Deney Terrio, who needs to borrow $50,000 for treatment by the celebrated Liechtenstein psychiatrist Dr. Emil Shaffhausen. When Lawrence discovers this scheme he claims to be Dr. Shaffhausen, insisting Freddy’s condition is one he can cure, stipulating that Janet pay the $50,000 fee directly to him.
Lawrence discovers that Janet is not wealthy but on vacation as a contest winner; she intends to liquidate most of her assets to pay for Freddy’s treatment. Touched by Janet’s kindness, Lawrence calls off the bet. Freddy agrees, but proposes a new bet: Janet herself, with the first to bed her declared the winner. Lawrence refuses to bed Janet; instead the bet will be whether or not Freddy can succeed.
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is a 1988 American comedy film directed by Frank Oz and starring Steve Martin, Michael Caine and Glenne Headly. The screenplay was written by Dale Launer, Stanley Shapiro, and Paul Henning, it is a remake of the Shapiro and Henning script for the 1964 Marlon Brando/David Niven film Bedtime Story.
It is the story of two men competing to swindle an American heiress out of $50,000. Caine plays the suave, charming British con man Lawrence Jamieson, who believes in conning corrupt, rich people out of their money so he can spend it on culture and a lavish lifestyle. Martin plays his laddish, arrogant American rival, Freddy Benson, who believes in conning just about anyone in order to get a free meal. It takes place in the French Riviera.
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988)
Directed by: Frank Oz
Starring: Steve Martin, Michael Caine, Glenne Headly, Anton Rodgers, Barbara Harris, Ian McDiarmid, Frances Conroy, Dana Ivey, Meagen Fay, Nathalie Auffret
Screenplay by: Dale Launer, Stanley Shapiro, Paul Henning
Production Design by: Roy Walker
Cinematography by: Michael Ballhaus
Film Editing by: Stephen A. Rotter, William S. Scharf
Costume Design by: Marit Allen
Set Decoration by: Rosalind Shingleton
Art Direction by: Damien Lanfranchi, Steve Spence
Music by: Miles Goodman
Distributed by: Orion Pictures
Release Date: December 14, 1988