The Wheeler Dealers (1963) Poster

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one of my favorite 60's movies
hbs11 February 2000
I think that "Send Me No Flowers" is the best of these "Technicolor marvel" comedies from the 60's, but this is one of my favorites. (By "Technicolor marvel" I mean those films that were shot in primary colors even more intense than something like "The Adventures of Robin Hood", with unnaturally uniform lighting and sets and locations, but mostly sets, that are DisneyLand-clean-and-orderly. Doris Day seemed to be in about half of those movies, at least in my recollection.)

The movie is about James Garner as an oil-man having a run of bad luck, so he goes to New York to make some quick money. He finds big bucks and romance, and it makes me laugh. The fact that Louis Nye plays a parody of Jackson Pollock, and that Phil Harris, Chill Wills, and Charles Watts act as a sort of Greek chorus to Garner will give you some idea of how inconsequentially silly this movie is. There's even a securities trial at the end (the judge makes a comment at the beginning that is just thrown away -- I missed it the first time I saw the movie -- which I laugh about every time I think of it).
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Chez Henri Tyroon
bkoganbing7 April 2004
This may be the best comedy movie to come out of the 1960s. Wheeler Dealers features James Garner at the top of his game, Lee Remick doing her best Doris Day imitation, and a wonderful cast of some of the best character actors ever assembled.

Of all the characters James Garner has created for the screen, I think I like Henry J. Tyroon the best. Cowboy oilman and conman par excellence, he moves skillfully from one situation to the other in business, but really comes up against it with Lee Remick in the romance department.

The supporting cast is soooo good I don't know where to begin to single anyone out. If put to torture I suppose I'd have to mention Louis Nye, "the boss wrangler of the Henry Tyroon collection", and John Astin the manic SEC investigator.

As Mr. Garner puts it: "Only the taxman loses in a Henry Tyroon deal". Even a the most dedicated and humorless IRS agent will find laughs in this classic comedy.

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Fast-paced fun
proffate13 September 2001
Good old fashioned comedy that exploits every classic cliche about Texas oilmen. After years playing Bret Maverick, James Garner has the fast-talking con man character down pat. Old timers Phil Harris, Chill Wills and Jim Backus form sort of a Greek chorus of old money Texans eager to see what the brash newcomer's next scam will be.

All the fun is in the wheelin' and the dealin', Garner explains at one point. "Money's just a way of keeping score."
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Not on DVD
AWaite41 August 2005
One of my favorites in the 'old comedy' genre. I bring it out for friends and relatives for comfort evenings.

Jim Garner at the top of his form, not long after his Maverick character became a household name, but before Rockford.

Lee Remick looking great, in an intelligent role for a beautiful woman.

It's worth the time just to see the terrific supporting cast of old faces (now mostly passed away.)

The only problem is my VHS version is just about worn out, and it's not available on DVD. Who do we complain to?

  • - - Art
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On-the-mark satire with prophetic qualities (minor spoilers)
Warning: Spoilers
I first saw Wheeler Dealers as a kid in the early 70s and was tickled by the broad comedy of the Texas oilmen scenes and excited by the raw capitalism. The movie got shown regularly for some reason over the next few years and became a favourite of my circle of friends. Only when I saw it much more recently did the prophetic nature of some of the situations strike me.For example, the absurd way the oilmen use and recycle their wealth seems more like the Houston boom days of the 70s than the early 60s. Tyroon is an early investor in Pollock-style modern art and predicts it will one day sell like old masters. When he dreams up the infamous Consolidated Widget scam (the movie helped popularize use of the word with reference to technology) the blind enthusiasm over satellite components could have been straight out of Nasdaq in the late 1990s. And the scene with Ms. Remick decrying the lot of women investment analysts with her peers is startlingly contemporary - indeed I have trouble believing all the female analysts on Wall St. could have filled a room in 1963!All of which is just to say, plus ca change - catch this anachronistic (in the good sense) gem of a movie if you ever get the chance.
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freewheeling fun, but could have been better
Charles Herold (cherold)3 September 2005
Wheeler Dealers is a very entertaining movie with Garner as a charming Texan who makes his money in shady deals and clever schemes, staying just this side of the law. Remick plays a stockbroker who is struggling to prove herself in a male dominated industry - it's one of these interesting examples of early feminism in movies; she is treated badly and is smart, but at the same time she basically ties her star to Garner (as do some men) rather than making her own way. Also note that in this period apparently even feminists referred to themselves as "girls." At times Wheeler Dealers approaches brilliance, with some great lines and a clever satire of finance on the highest levels, but unfortunately the movie is far too fond of sitcom-like plot twists and the ending feels rushed and unconvincing, as though the writers just ran out of ideas and decided to quickly dash something off. But the good outweighs the bad, and at its best this is a very funny movie, while at its worst it's still pretty cute.
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Dealing in Laughs
dancram21 October 1998
Since accidentally catching this film several years ago on cable, I have counted this as one of my favorite films. It is dated by its 60's chauvinism but sports some of the snappiest dialog and humour since George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart wrote. My favorite movie quote of all time comes from this film. I hope you give this a viewing. I promise if you like subtle and not so subtle dialog driven satire, this is a film for you.
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Remick & Garner were Great
whpratt124 June 2007
Enjoyed this very silly comedy from 1963 along with some great actors like James Garner, (Henry Tyroon) who is a wheel and dealer, who decides to leave Midland, Texas and come to the big Apple because all his oil wells are drying up and blowing plain dust. However, Henry meets up with Molly Thatcher, (Lee Remick) and he goes completely bonkers and falls immediately in love with her. Molly fights off his advances and only accepts an invitation to dinner in order to sell Henry a business deal her boss, Bullard Bear, (Jim Backus) has assigned her. It is a deal to sell widgets from a company in New England and at the same time Henry wants to drill oil in a town near Boston, Mass. When Molly tells Henry she likes a painting, he buys her an art gallery and if she likes a fancy food establishment, he buys that for her. It is a very dumb comedy, but all the actors make it very enjoyable.
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Another Dumb Comedy From the '60s
ccthemovieman-113 June 2007
Boy, usually we think of very-dated movies being from the decades, perhaps of the 1920s through 1950s, but this 1960s can be the absolute worst in that regard as that decade was undergoing such radical cultural changes. What was "hip" or "cool" back then looks so stupid now, it's embarrassing to watch. This movie is a prime example.

This isn't quite the bra-burning days later in the decade, but the feminist message was a big part of this story, that women can wheel and deal on Wall Street, too. Well, that's fine but most of the characters in here acted so arrogant and stupid that the movie is annoying. Yet, to be honest, remember liking this in 1963 at the movie theater. Times - and us - change. Now this just looks like the typically-dated and immature 1960s.

One thing that hasn't was my fondness for Lee Remick's face (not her politics). She was pretty to look at in 1963 and just as attractive when I saw this on VHS in the late 1990s. She was a good poster "girl" for the feminist movement.

I can't say I was enthralled with the humor of Phil Harris, Jim Backus or Chill Wills in here, although I have laughed at those guys on occasion. Louis Nye, pretending to be an abstract painter riding a bicycle on the canvas, still made me laugh, however. James Garner was the star of the film and it's tough to criticize him, so I won't.
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Has anyone noticed the "wheeling and dealing" doesn't make sense?
erikpsmith7 September 2010
Warning: Spoilers
**this review contains spoilers**

Finally got a chance to catch this movie on TCM the other day, and what a disappointment it was. I mean, this movie seemed like a slam-dunk from the description. James Garner, fresh from Maverick, playing a Texas oilman who isn't above a con or two. And Lee Remick, one of the most beautiful women in the movies, playing a stock analyst. Put 'em in one of those big, glossy Hollywood comedies they made in the early sixties, with all the wonderful character actors who were around at the time, like Jim Backus and Pat Harrington, and you have a heckuva package.

So I always wondered why all the movie-review books gave it a mediocre rating.

Well, now I know. This movie just doesn't make any sense. It's incoherent. Garner and Remick are immensely appealing, and I especially would have liked to have bumped into Remick on Wall Street in 1963, though if I had I wonder if I would have retained the power of speech, so gorgeous she was. But you know, to be successful, a movie needs more than actors. It also needs a storyline that works.

This one? Well, it starts out with Garner drilling for oil in Texas, and hitting a dry hole. He discovers he and his company are broke and he needs to go to New York to raise some money. He has some leases that are about to expire.

So he goes to Wall Street and immediately convinces three financiers to put up $300,000. That's all the money he asked them for. So is the problem solved? I dunno. The movie doesn't tell us.

Then Garner goes to a brokerage and tries to sell the owner on buying stock in his company. Okay, so maybe that $300,000 didn't solve the problem. Who knows? Anyway, here he meets Lee Remick.

She has another mission. She has to sell stock in a widget firm or else she'll be fired. She figures Garner is her mark. Okay, not a bad setup. Romance ensues, with all the usual complications.

Here we start seeing the stuff that doesn't make sense. Garner buys a restaurant. I guess he wants to impress Remick. But he's broke, scrambling for cash. Huh?

Then he hooks up with a painter, disappears for a week in Europe and starts buying up abstract paintings. I guess it's because he thinks Remick is into abstract art. There's some blather about how the whole thing is a tax dodge. He can make ten cents on the dollar by donating to museums. But again, he's broke, his company needs every dime. Huh?

Three fellow Texans arrive on the scene, apparently so eager to invest in Garner's schemes that they flew after him to New York in their private jet. Does he pitch them on his drilling venture? No. He sells them on joining the painting scheme instead. Huh?

There's a throwaway line in there somewhere, indicating that the Texans aren't keen on oil ventures. Okay, I'll grant the movie that -- it's a stab at logic -- but Garner never even tries to ask them for money. Here we are at the halfway point of the movie and this is the last time we even get a hint about his problems in Texas. This whole idea is abandoned. We never find out what happens to Garner's Texas drilling venture.

Now we get into an entirely new storyline. Garner, for some unexplained reason, decides to run up the price of the widget company stock. What is the scheme? What is the con? I don't get it.

Is Garner planning to purchase stock on the cheap, then resell it? The final scene of the movie belies that. He purchased four percent of the stock and his buddies purchased 48 percent, and all of them kept every penny. So it wasn't a swindle. Okay, fine. But why does he expend 20 minutes of comedic gyration on running up the price?

Actually, the widget company stock sounds like a steal. Turns out the widget company is a holding company for AT&T stock, bought on the cheap befoie WWI, and the principals have been collecting fat dividends ever since. Why wouldn't Garner try to acquire a controlling interest as cheaply as possible? He could liquidate the widget company and make money by selling the AT&T stock. If this was the plan, that might make sense, but the movie owes it to viewers to explain it. And in this scenario it wouldn't make any sense for Garner to run up the price of the stock. Anyway, Garner doesn't even seem to recognize that the widget company has value. I just don't get it. Huh?

And while this was playing out, I wanted to scream -- what about the Texas drilling venture? Anyway, all this is backdrop to the lovely romance between Garner and Remick, and it all culminates in a securities-fraud trial. The two of them do what they're supposed to, they're cute as heck and all that. But I say the "heart" part of the story doesn't work if the "head" part is a failure.
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