Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Funniest Movie Scene #2: Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

Last week I gave you what I consider to be the Funniest Movie Scene #3, namely the rhino scene in Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls.

I now present you with Funniest Movie Scene #2: the wheelchair scene in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.


Warning: spoilers ahead. 

Lawrence Jamieson (Michael Caine) is a smooth and sophisticated con artist plying his trade on the French Riviera. He agrees to take on small time American hustler Freddy Benson (Steve Martin) as a pupil but in reality is only doing so to get rid of him from his turf. Freddy later decides that he has had enough of Lawrence’s demeaning teaching and that he will branch out on his own. The two agree upon a bet that the first one to swindle $50,000 out of American contest winner Janet Colgate will remain in the locality and the other will leave.

Freddy poses as a crippled soldier who needs $50,000 for treatment by a Swiss psychiatrist, Dr Emil Schuffhausen. Lawrence discovers his scheme and pretends to be Dr Emil Schuffhausen. He agrees to treat Freddy for $50,000.

When Lawrence finds out that she has paid Freddy the money for the treatment using her prize winnings and her father’s savings, Lawrence pays her $50,000 from his own money to repay her.

Freddy and Lawrence then find out that she is a con artist herself who has taken off with the $50,000, Freddy not having taken her money as Lawrence thought. As they console themselves and prepare to part, Janet turns up with a boatload of wealthy marks. She tells them: “Fellas, last year I made 3 million dollars, but your 50 thousand was the most fun. Are you ready? Then let's go get 'em.” The trio decide to work as a team.

Featured scene and clip:

In the featured scene, Janet introduces Dr Emil Schuffhausen to Freddy. Dr Schuffhausen runs some tests on Freddy and diagnoses that the condition is psychosomatic rather than neurological and therefore is capable of cure.

The scene can be viewed at:

Some of the finer moments:

-  The look Michael Caine gives Steve Martin at about 1.10 - You’re mine, pal…

-  “Tell me if you feel this - tickle, tickle, tickle..”

-  Steve Martin’s face at 3.49 when he takes the leaping hit, priceless.

-  “I will have him running, jumping, shouting, screaming, or my name isn’t Doctor (whack) Emil (whack) Schuffhausen (whack)……………the third (whack).”


The movie was originally intended for Mick Jagger and David Bowie following the success of their Dancing in the Streets video. When they dropped out, Steve Martin and Michael Caine came in as replacements.

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