Throwback Thursday

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels - The GBY

One of my family’s favorite movies is Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.  Between the subtle humor and the outright physical comedy, it’s hilarious.  I just found out It was a remake of the 1964 Bedtime Story starring David Niven and Marlon Brando.  I didn’t have time to screen the movie, so I cheated and looked it up on Wikipedia.  The plot seems to follow Scoundrels verbatim until the ending.  Hard to picture Marlon Brando playing Freddie.  David Niven could totally pull off the part of Laurence.  This screenplay was written by Stanley Shapiro.  Mr. Shapiro won Best Screenplay for Pillow Talk (1959).  Unfortunately, Bedtime Story was not a commercial success.

In Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Steve Martin is iconic as Freddie, another incarnation of The Jerk.  His physicality is reminiscent of Jerry Lewis.  Though Martin has become the king of the remake (Cheaper By The Dozen, Father of the Bride, Pink Panther), this remake is actually better than the original.  Michael Caine is sublime as the understated Laurence, trying to help his protégé appreciate the elegance of the con.  Glenne Headly is the ideal foil for these two powerhouse performances.  The Jackal subplot was added by writer Dale Launer.  I think it makes the story line more interesting and gives it a clever ending.

The Hustle - The GBY

With the success of Ghostbusters (2016), the powers that be decided to revamp Dirty Rotten Scoundrels with women.  So, they created The HustleAnne Hathaway plays Josephine (the Laurence character) with several ridiculous accents and Rebel Wilson (Isn’t It Romantic) portrays Penny (the Freddie character) with a whole new level vulgarity.  The same writers were credited as in the previous renditions with the addition of Jac Schaffer.   This would explain why they movie had nothing original or different (except for blindness over being paralyzed).  I may have laughed a few times but it was more from embarrassment than humor.  My guess is that Miss Hathaway really wanted an all-expense paid trip to the South of France, and she got to keep the clothes.

My advice is to stay home and watch Dirty Rotten Scoundrels or any of the other films mentioned in their original form.

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