Directed by: Irvin Kershner
Starring: George C. Scott, Sue Lyon, Harry Morgan
This film is… very 60’s. A lot of wacky hijinks and car chases and people sitting by a campfire eating beans and having emotional moments. All of those things happened a lot in movies in the 60’s, I don’t know why. If you made a movie about an emotional-yet-wacky bean-eating car, you could’ve ruled the decade. Then again, I think that’s exactly what Herbie the Love Bug was…
George C. Scott is a con man who goes across the land swindling people out of their money in various different ways, and with the help of a young army deserter he meets and recruits as his straight man, or whatever the grifting term for it is. The kid falls in love with a farm girl (that they steal a car from while pretending to be a minister and a hit-and-run victim) and woos her over the phone as they sleaze their way across the south with the cops getting ever closer. Finally Scott gets caught and his protege has to run the biggest con of all to get him out of prison.
It’s a pretty fun movie, and George C. Scott is (of course) really good in it. Director Irvin Kershner is one of those solid guys who can make a film work for whatever sort of genre or mood it’s supposed to be conveying, and you get that here. Basically the problem with The Flim-Flam Man is that it’s just not all that unique amongst the sea of similar lighthearted comedies from the same era. It’s written by the same guy who did It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World, and it’s very much the same kind of humor, just toned down (and therefore not as interesting. What makes that movie great is how incredibly over-the-top it is). I enjoyed watching The Flim-Flam Man, but I can’t imagine ever wanting to watch it again.