Screenplay: Ira Wallach
Release: Warner Archives
You know how sometimes you have something with a strangely perfect record and you want to keep watching because you know you will be entertained. Deep down though you know there is a chance of failure but it is worth the investment. James Garner is that thing and Wheeler Dealers is another instance of his unnatural success.
Henry Tyroon likes what wealth can bring, but that isn’t why he spends so much time pursuing it. “You do it for fun,” he explains. “Money’s just the way you keep score.” James Garner scores big as Henry, a flimflammer who lands in New York City after his Texas oil well comes up a duster. He needs a million or so in pocket money to pay his debts. Soon, he also hopes to land a blue-eyed blue chip: a stock analyst (Lee Remick) pressured by her firm to unload a worthless stock. Can Henry come up with a plan to turn what’s worthless into the hottest thing on Wall Street? The market for wit and charm is a sure thing in this mix of romantic comedy and business-world satire. Thirty years later, Garner would play a wheeler-dealer of another era to award-winning effect as the CEO in Barbarians at the Gate.
Going in I knew little about this old film, which if how I like it; I knew James Garner is the star and I knew he wears a cowboy hat. I was a bit apprehensive when the film opens on a dusty field but it was not long before any concern was assuaged.
Garner’s character is as slick as the oil he fails to produces as he lives the life of a charming and oddly legitimate, con-man, dashing from investment to investment, scooping up money and friends along the way. The character is the sort of man I have envied even though I am glad that I am not.
Something that I did not expect was a level of feminism trying hard to break through. Don’t misunderstand, the feminism is clear but it is viewed through a misogynist’s lens. Lee Remick was exceptional in the film as Garner’s foil.
I highly recommend this film. No reservations, no “if you likes”, a firm, open, recommendation. You can order the film HERE. While this film is not available WarnerArchive.com is a great place for classic Warner films.
Director: 7 – Cinematography: 6 – Edit: 8 – Parity: 6 – Main performance: 10 – Else performance: 6 – Score: 6 – Sound: 5 – Story: 7 – Script: 9 – Effects: 6 – Design: 8 – Costumes: 7 – Keeps interest: 8 – Lasting: 10