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Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
Alternate Title: King of The Mountain
Director: Frank Oz (Dir)
Release Date:   14 Dec 1988
Premiere Information:   World premiere in Los Angeles on 5 Dec 1988; Los Angeles and New York openings: 14 Dec 1988
Production Date:   6 Jun -- mid-to-late Aug 1988
Duration (in mins):   110
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Cast:   Steve Martin (Freddy Benson) as
    Michael Caine (Lawrence Jamieson) as
  Starring Glenne Headly (Janet Colgate) as
  with: Anton Rodgers (Inspector Andre) as
    Barbara Harris (Fanny Eubanks) as
    Ian McDiarmid (Arthur) as
    Dana Ivey (Mrs. Reed) as
    Meagen Fay (Lady from Oklahoma) as
  [and] Frances Conroy (Lady from Palm Beach) as
    Nicole Calfan (Lady in dining car) as
    Aina Wallé (Miss Krista Knudsen) as
    Cheryl Pay (Lady with pearls) as
    Nathalie Auffret (Marion) as
    Lolly Susi (Lady in Rolls Royce) as
    Rupert Holliday Evans (English sailor #1) as
    Hepburn Graham (English sailor #2) as
    Xavier Maly (Hotel bellboy) as
    Andre Penvern (Waiter on the train) as
    Louis Zorich (Greek millionaire) as
    Georges Gerrard Baffos (Assistant hotel manager) as
    Valerie Beaufils (Pretty beach girl) as

Summary: 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. 

Production Company: Orion Pictures  
Production Text: An Orion® Pictures Release
a Frank Oz Film
Distribution Company: Orion Pictures  
Director: Frank Oz (Dir)
  Bernard Mazauric (Unit prod mgr)
  Bernard Williams (1st asst dir)
  David Tringham (1st asst dir)
  Gerry Toomey (2d asst dir)
  Antoine Sabarros (2d 2d asst dir)
Producer: Bernard Williams (Prod)
  Dale Launer (Exec prod)
  Charles Hirschhorn (Exec prod)
Writer: Dale Launer (Wrt)
  Stanley Shapiro (Wrt)
  Paul Henning (Wrt)
Photography: Michael Ballhaus (Dir of photog)
  Florian Ballhaus (1st asst cam)
  Robert Mancuso (2d asst cam)
  Sebastian Ballhaus (Video playback op)
  Steve Smith (Key grip)
  Arthur Blum (Dolly grip)
  Bruce Byall (Best boy)
  Antoine Bratulic (Grip)
  Rene Basso (Grip)
  Jim Tynes (Gaffer)
  John Sandau (Best boy)
  Jean-Marie Lopez (Elec)
  Stephane Negre (Elec)
  Ernest Cabezas (Generator op)
  Robert Penn (Stills photog)
  ARRI Munich (Cameras by)
Art Direction: Roy Walker (Prod des)
  Steve Spence (Art dir)
  Damien Lanfranchi (Art dir)
  Tony Rimmington (Asst art dir)
Film Editor: Stephen A. Rotter (Ed)
  William Scharf (Ed)
  Richard Friedlander (1st asst film ed)
  Robert Grahamjones (Asst film ed)
  Bob Sarles (Asst film ed)
  Denis Coq (Asst film ed)
  Jenny Oznowicz (Apprentice film ed)
  Berj Amir (Apprentice film ed)
  Elisa Cohen (Apprentice film ed)
  Donah Bassett and Associates (Negative cutter)
Set Decoration: Rosalind Shingleton (Set dec)
  Terry Wells (Prop master)
  Derek Knowler (Prop storeman)
  Phillipe Mazauric (Prop buyer)
  Bernard Harvey-Langton (Asst prop)
  Jean Menna (Head carpenter)
  Louis Lenoir (Head painter)
  Maurice Borghesi (Head drape)
  Noelle Fortuna (Asst drape)
Costumes: Marit Allen (Cost des)
  Sue Gandy (Asst cost des)
  Dennis Schoonderwoerd (Mr. Steve Martin's costumer)
  James A. Smith (Mr. Michael Caine's costumer)
  Claudy Fellous-Marliere (Ward asst)
  Suzy Sand (Ward asst)
Music: Miles Goodman (Mus)
  Nancy Fogarty (Mus ed)
  Devon Miller (Asst mus ed)
  Record Plant Scoring Inc. (Mus rec at)
  Joel Moss (Mus rec by)
  Ethan Chase (Scoring asst)
  Jim Mitchell (Scoring asst)
  Thomas Pasatieri (Orch)
  Oscar Castro-Neves (Orch)
  Jerry Goodman (Featured violinist)
Sound: Ivan Sharrock (Prod sd mixer)
  Don Banks (Boom op)
  Jean-Pierre Steen (Sd asst)
  Alan Splet (Supv sd ed)
  Michael Silvers (Dial ed)
  John Nutt (Dial ed)
  C. J. Appel (A.D.R. ed)
  Ron Davies (A.D.R. ed)
  Pat Jackson (Sd eff ed)
  Ann Kroeber (Sd eff ed)
  Rob Fruchtman (Foley ed)
  Luis Colina (Foley ed)
  Gwendolyn Yates (Asst dial ed)
  Chris Beaver (Asst A.D.R. ed)
  Bob Robinson (Asst A.D.R. ed)
  Frank Eulner (Asst sd eff ed)
  John Verbeck (Asst sd eff ed)
  Karen Brocco (Asst Foley ed)
  Tina Fallani (Apprentice dial ed)
  Marjorie Hagar (Apprentice sd eff/Foley)
  Mark Berger (Re-rec mixer)
  Tom Johnson (Re-rec mixer)
  Richard Beggs (Re-rec mixer)
  Lionel Strutt (A.D.R. rec)
  Mayflower Film Recording Ltd. London (A.D.R. rec)
  Sprocket Systems, a division of Lucasfilm Ltd. (Re-rec services provided by)
Special Effects: Cinema Research Corp. (Opticals)
  Bran Ferren (Title des by)
Make Up: Dorothy Pearl (Mr. Martin's makeup by)
  Lois Burwell (Mr. Caine's makeup by)
  Janet Flora (Makeup)
  Pascal Charbonnier (Makeup)
  Matthew Mungle (Prosthetics makeup)
  Toni-Ann Walker (Mr. Martin's hair by)
  Gerry Jones (Hairdresser)
  Thierry Zemmour (Hairdresser)
Production Misc: Donna Isaacson (Casting)
  John Lyons (Casting)
  Valerie Norman-Williams (Scr supv)
  Rene Brun (Loc mgr)
  Regis Brun (Asst loc mgr)
  Michelle Wright-Warnick (Prod coord)
  Laurence Coutaud (Prod secy)
  Caroline Ruelle (Asst prod secy)
  Dianne Lisa Cheek (Prod controller)
  Isabelle De Geofroy (Asst auditor)
  Nelly Niay (French auditor)
  Francois Combadiere (Casting-Paris)
  Caroline Mazauric (Casting-Nice)
  Roberto Robin (Asst casting-Nice)
  Debbie McWilliams (Casting-London)
  Gaston Veilleux (Transport coord)
  Tom Gray (Pub)
  Inger Eisenhour (Asst to Mr. Oz & Mr. Williams)
  Ruth Hasty (Asst to Mr. Oz & Mr. Williams)
  Andrea Tringham (Prod asst)
  Joseph Kluge (Prod asst)
  Barbara Lucey (Financial representative)
  Judy Garland and Associates (Travel arrangements by)
  Henriette (Catering by)
  The Saul Zaentz Company Film Center (Post prod services provided by)
Stand In: Terry Walsh (Stunt double for Mr. Caine)
Color Personnel: DeLuxe® (Col by)
  Reid Burns (Col timer)
  Laboratoires Eclair, Paris (Processing lab)
MPAA Rating: PG
Country: United States
Language: English

Music:
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.
Composer: Irving Berlin
  Al Dubin
  Dorothy Fields
  Jerome Kern
  Harry Warren
Source Text: Based on the film Bedtime Story written by Stanley Shapiro and Paul Henning (Universal Pictures, 1964).

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Orion Pictures Corporation 16/3/1989 dd/mm/yyyy PA409349

PCA NO: 29476
Physical Properties: Sd: Spectral Recording Dolby Stereo® in selected theatres
  col:

 
Genre: Comedy
 
Subjects (Major): Confidence games
  Rivalry
  Riviera (France)
  Swindlers and swindling
  Wagers
 
Subjects (Minor): Airplanes
  Americans in foreign countries
  Casinos
  Confidence men
  Confidence women
  English in foreign countries
  Friendship
  Hotels
  Idle rich
  Money
  Sailors
  Soap
  Trains

Note: 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.”
       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. 

Bibliographic Sources:   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.

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
 
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