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The teaser trailer features a sequence which does not appear in the final movie. Freddy Benson and Lawrence Jamieson walk along a boardwalk, politely moving out of the way of other people, et cetera, with a voice saying something like "There are numerous distinguished gentlemen in the world... refined, cultured gentlemen... nice men... but nice men finish last". As the last few lines are spoken, Freddy pushes an old lady into the water, and Lawrence shoves a kid's face into his cotton candy. Director Frank Oz has said that audiences were very surprised to learn that the scene was not part of the finished movie
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According to the DVD commentary, when Freddy is in jail, trying to remember Lawrence's name, the entire scene was improvised by Steve Martin. Director Frank Oz was crouched out of camera range and tapped Anton Rodgers on the foot to interrupt Martin when Oz felt that he had gone as far as he could with the improv.
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DVD special features report that Steve Martin and Sir Michael Caine frequently ad-libbed throughout the movie, as well as the ending.
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According to Sir Michael Caine's autobiography, the tall, straight-black-haired girl dancing next to him in the disco scene is his real-life daughter Natasha.
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When director Frank Oz first approached Sir Michael Caine about a key role in this movie, he tempted him with the promise of a cozy villa in the south of France for the three-month period of the shoot. Once Caine learned that the villa on offer happened to be conveniently situated between the villas of two old friends, Sir Roger Moore and composer Leslie Bricusse, he jumped at the opportunity.
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When Freddy is in the casino wearing a U.S. Army uniform, he attempts to use a U.S. Army Good Conduct Medal as collateral at the roulette table, and the dealer refuses. U.S. Military medals are made of low-grade metals (pot metals), instead of precious metals, specifically to prevent them being sold for cash. U.S. Military tradition states that the value of the medal, is in the action taken to earn it, not in the material from which it's assembled.
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Sir Michael Caine was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy, but lost out to Tom Hanks, for Big (1988). Steve Martin was not nominated in the same category, despite many people considering him being the major contributor of many of the movie's laughs.
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This movie was originally a project for Mick Jagger and David Bowie. After the success of their "Dancing in the Street" video in 1985, studio bosses were eager to put them in a movie together. Dale Launer was brought in, based on the success of Ruthless People (1986), and asked to submit ideas. Jagger had previously written the title song to Ruthless People (1986), based on his enthusiasm for Launer's script. Launer had seen the original movie, Bedtime Story (1964), on television once before, and suggested a remake. Launer acquired the remake rights from one of the original writers, Stanley Shapiro. During development, Jagger and Bowie dropped out of the project, and Steve Martin and Michael Caine were brought in as replacements. According to Bowie, he and Jagger were "a bit tweezed that we lost out on a script that could have been reasonably good."
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This movie is a remake of Bedtime Story (1964). Sir Michael Caine and Steve Martin play the parts originated by David Niven and Marlon Brando. The names of their two lead characters in this remake basically stayed the same as those from the original, but with slightly-altered spellings. In the original, the lead characters were Freddy Benson and Lawrence Jameson; in this remake, they are Freddy Benson and Lawrence Jamieson. Also, Fanny Eubank from the original, is Fanny Eubanks from Omaha here, while Janet Walker (Shirley Jones) of the original becomes Janet Colgate (Glenne Headly) here.
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Only a teaser trailer was released. Three full trailers were presented to Frank Oz and Orion Pictures by "trailer house" companies who specialized in making trailers, but Oz didn't like any of them.
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Glenne Headly was named Most Promising New Actress winning a CFCA Award at the Chicago Film Critics Association Awards in 1989.
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This movie was known as "King Of The Mountain" and "Dirty Rotten Criminals" during its early stages. Rowan Atkinson, John Cleese, Richard Dreyfuss, Eric Idle, Dudley Moore, Leslie Nielsen, Michael Palin, and Gene Wilder were all considered for the role of Lawrence Jamieson.
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The movie was used as the source for the musical "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels", which opened at the Imperial Theater in New York City on March 3, 2005, ran for six hundred twenty-seven performances, and was nominated for the 2005 Tony Awards for the Best Musical, Book, and Score.
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This is the first movie directed by Frank Oz that does not feature puppets.
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The moment when Freddy's hand has been glued to the wall all night by the sailors was Steve Martin's idea.
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This movie is ranked at the number eighty-five spot on Bravo's "100 Funniest Movies" list.
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Third of five collaborations of Frank Oz and Steve Martin. The others were Bowfinger (1999), HouseSitter (1992), Little Shop of Horrors (1986), and The Muppet Movie (1979).
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In comparison with Bedtime Story (1964), of which this movie is a remake, according to show-business trade paper "Variety", "Steve Martin takes the crass American role played by Marlon Brando, and Michael Caine pays homage to David Niven, by sporting a thin mustache, slicked-back hair, and a double-breasted blue blazer, in a sort of 1930s British yachtsman look."
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Director Frank Oz and Ian McDiarmid had previously been in Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983). They subsequently worked together in all three Star Wars prequels, during which McDiarmid was digitally inserted into Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980), in which Oz had already appeared.
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This film is a remake of 'Bedtime Story' (1964) which starred David Niven and Marlon Brando. As a homage to his friend and childhood hero , Sir Michael Caine deliberately based his look and performance on Niven, who had died five years before this film was made.
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Michael Caine was 55 years old when this film was shot, and Steve Martin was 42. In order to make them appear roughly the same age (so as to make the disparity between the paths their lives had taken and the success or lack of it appear even more obvious) director Frank Oz had Caine made up quite heavily with the old Hollywood trick of facial skin tightening to make both men appear in the 45-50 age range. In Bedtime Story (1964), of which this film is a remake, there was actually a fourteen year age gap between stars David Niven (playing Caine's character) and Marlon Brando (playing Martin's).
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Breakthrough movie role of Glenne Headly (Janet Colgate). Headly also was also Captain Stottlemeyer's wife in Monk (2002). Colgate is a well known brand of toothpaste, and it's revealed in Monk: Mr. Monk Goes to a Wedding (2005) that Natalie Teeger comes from a wealthy family that owns a toothpaste company.
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This movie was filmed on June 6, 1988 and wrapped on August 16, 1988 after 2 months, 10 weeks, or 71 days of filming.
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Playing "Lady" Fanny Eubanks of Omaha, the sucker victim of Lawrence Jamieson's major start-of-movie ruse, was Barbara Harris. Previously, Harris had portrayed a con artist in Sir Alfred Hitchcock's final movie Family Plot (1976).
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In Silver Bears (1977), Louis Jourdan instructs Michael Caine on the proper way to kiss a lady's hand (in which one does not not touch the lips to the skin of the hand). In this film there is a brief shot of Michael Caine apparently teaching Steve Martin the same thing. Freddy first of all fully kisses Arthur's hand, then after a few unheard words from Lawrence, he does it again but without touching Arthur's hand with his lips.
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Adapted into a stage musical starring John Lithgow. Lithgow also shares the role of Yoda with Director Frank Oz.
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The private jet that sends off Freddy is called "The president's special".
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The number plate that appears on the white Ferrari is Danish. However, the font reveals it is a fake plate. If the Ferrari was registered in Denmark in 1987/1988 it would start with either an "M" or "N" the prefix "AB" on a white Danish plate was not used until 2016 and the plate no "AB 23 893" would belong to a tractor or motorcycle.
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Along with all of the other Star Wars connections, Ian McDiarmid, who played Arthur the butler in this movie, played Emperor Palpatine/Darth Sidious in the Star Wars film franchise.
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The music used when Freddy goes on a shopping spree after first arriving back on the Riviera is the same music used for the opening titles of the U.K. sitcom French Fields (1989), which also featured Anton Rodgers.
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In March 2016, the MGM channel (in the U.K. and Ireland) showed the American version of this movie. As MGM now owns Orion Pictures, and Orion Television library, as part of their pre-existing library acquisitions, to replace their original MGM archive, now mostly owned by Warner Brothers Entertainment and Turner Entertainment, this opening credit now also includes the MGM lion, then Orion Pictures branding.
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One of two 1988 cinematic movies starring Sir Michael Caine. Both pictures were comedies, with the other one being Without a Clue (1988). In both movies, Caine was the senior member of a two-person buddy team. Caine also starred in the two-part television mini-series Jack the Ripper (1988).
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The crystal stemware used in the scene where Michael Caine is teaching Steve Martin how to act debonair is called Massena, and is made by Baccarat.
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Glenne Headly & Steve Martin worked together eight years later in "Sgt. Bilko". In that film Martin plays a soldier and confidence man who bilks money from other soldiers and the Army. In both movies Martin's character tried, unsuccessfully, to fool Headly's character into believing he was crippled.
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The butler was named Arthur and played by Ian McDiarmid. This could be considered a bit of name nod to, and twist on, Sir John Gielgud's Hobson butler character from Arthur (1981), where Arthur was his gentleman. Arthur 2: On the Rocks (1988) was released the same year as this film.
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Glenne Headly & Steve Martin worked together eight years later in "Sgt. Bilko". In that film Martin plays a soldier and confidence man who bilks money from other soldiers and the Army. In both movies the Steve Martin character tried unsuccessfully to fool Glenne Headly's character into believing he was crippled.
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The code name Jackal was also used by the assassin in Frederick Forsyth's Day of the Jackal, both films featuring Anton Rogers
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