"The Wheeler Dealers" is quite a dumb film. And, it's not because some freewheeling millionaires have their own 727 aircraft. It's the plot with its quick moves and constant buying-selling to everyone's advantage by the hero. James Garner plays the role well, as Henry Tyroon. (Would that be as in tycoon, only spelled with an 'r?') And, most of the cast are fine in their roles. But the plot is so goofy and all over the place. No doubt it's intended to show the unlimited capacity of Henry to wheel and deal in virtually any situation. But that doesn't provide any humor and the film is weak in its portrayal of the romance.
The movie needed to slow down, pick just a few dealings and milk them for comedy with more witty dialog. There just isn't anything in here that induces laughter. Nor is there much spark in the romance. The underlying theme of writing things off, getting around the IRS, etc. was something of the culture in mid-century. I seem to recall it with adults talking about working so many hours each week for the IRS. That went on from the late 1940s maybe through the 60s. But, I think it died out – or at least wasn't among the top things on people's minds after that.
Lee Remick plays Molly Thatcher in a shallow role for her talents. Phil Harris, Chill Wills and Jim Backus are fine in there roles. It was a stretch for me to give this film five stars, but the talent of the cast earn that – even if they aren't used very well here.
Here's a sample of the best comedy this film has to offer. Molly, "Is your word worth anything, or isn't it?" Bullard Bear (play on words with the name of the Jim Backus role), "Well, it varies."
Henry, "You're a rich man, and a rich man can't afford to go broke."
Molly, "Was that Italian?" Henry, "I find that in New York most French head waiters are Italian." Molly, "And you speak Italian?" Henry, "No mam. A little wetback Spanish. Sounds the same."
The Wheeler Dealers
The Wheeler Dealers
Henry J. Tyroone leaves Texas where his oil wells are drying up and arrives in New York with a lot of oil money to play with in the stock market. He meets stock analyst Molly Thatcher, who he falls in love with. She tries to ignore the attention he lavishes on her, but, in the end, she falls for his charm.
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September 05, 2017 at 06:38 AM