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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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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DVD special features report that Steve Martin and Sir Michael Caine frequently ad-libbed throughout the movie, as well as the ending. Apparently, this movie was shot without a definitively known ending.
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According to Sir Michael Caine's autobiography, the girl dancing next to him in the disco scene is his real-life daughter, Natasha. She's the tall girl with straight black hair.
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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 anxious 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 Sir 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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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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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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This movie is a remake of Bedtime Story (1964). Sir Michael Caine and Steve Martin play the parts which were originated by David Niven and Marlon Brando, respectively. The names of their two lead characters in this remake basically stayed the same as those from the original, but have their spellings slightly altered. In the original, the lead characters were Freddy Benson and Lawrence Jameson, while in this remake, they are Freddie Benson and Lawrence Jamieson. Also, Fanny Eubank, in the original, is Fanny Eubank from Omaha in this movie, while Janet Walker (Shirley Jones) in the original, became Janet Colgate (Glenne Headly) in this movie.
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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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This movie is ranked at the number eighty-five spot on Bravo's "100 Funniest Movies" list.
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When Steve Martin asks Sir Michael Caine for the super glue solvent you can see Caine turn away from the camera and start laughing.
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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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First Frank Oz movie which did not feature puppets. All the earlier ones had, they being The Dark Crystal (1982), Little Shop of Horrors (1986), and The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984).
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DIRECTOR CAMEO (Frank Oz): As the police officer rushing Steve Martin to meet Sir Michael Caine at the airport near the end of the movie.
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The con artist who is said to be working in the region is known to be "The Jackal". Glenne Headly played the role of "Janet Colgate". The first letters of her character's first and last name when put together phonetically create "Ja-Col"/"Jackal".
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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 large 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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Second of five collaborations of Frank Oz and Steve Martin. The others being Bowfinger (1999), HouseSitter (1992), Little Shop of Horrors (1986), and The Muppet Movie (1979).
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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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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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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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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 (Sir 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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At one point, Steve Martin (Freddy) was to play the role of Lawrence (Sir Michael Caine), with Kevin Kline potentially to be playing Freddy. Kline was not cast, but starred in French Kiss (1995) instead.
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The movie's storyline follows closely that of the original movie Bedtime Story (1964), on which it was based, and features only a handful of minor script changes.
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The movie was filmed during May, June, and July 1988.
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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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Playing "Lady" Fanny Eubanks of Omaha, the sucker victim of Lawrence Jamieson's (Sir Michael Caine'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 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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The number plate that appears on the white Ferrari, is a Danish one. 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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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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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 crystal stemware used in the scene, where Sir Michael Caine is teaching Steve Martin how to act debonair, is called Massena, and is made by Baccarat.
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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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A female version of this movie's two con men story line is The Hustle (2019), starring Anne Hathaway & Rebel Wilson, which was made 31 years after this movie was released.
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The name of the butler was Arthur, and was 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 in the same year as Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988).
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