Movie of the Week 65
The Wheeler Dealers 1963 romantic comedy
Finally out on DVD, this old fashioned comedy follows the exploits of Henry Tyroon (James Garner), a business man with the proverbial “Midas Touch”. The opening scene establishes the storyline: Tyroon, a Texas oilman, arrives to witness a hilariously fake well test – it is a dry hole; his fourth in a row. His accountant is at the well test (never happens in real life) and he tells Tyroon to hit up his investors for more money to cover the incoming wave of debts (happens in real life all the time). Tyroon decides to travel to NYC and meet with investors. He starts wheeling and dealing, and dropping pearls of financial wisdom in his first cab ride. He tells the cabbie, "I'm interested in the economics of any situation.” Tyroon offers to buy the cab, with driver service, for his exclusive use in NYC, and then sell it back at a loss upon the conclusion of his business trip. The cabbie questions the logic of the deal, and Tyroon explains, “Only the tax man losses in a Henry Tyroon deal.”
Tyroon begins zipping around the Big Apple in his cab and hustling money. He gets a quick $300,000 from a trio of old business partners then tries his luck at a Wall Street brokerage house where he hustles the senior partner, Mr. Bear (Jim Backus). In a previous scene the audience discovers that the broker house is financially strapped and are trying to “pump and dump” some doggy, loser stocks in their portfolio. One of the worthless stocks, Universal Widgets, is assigned to broker, Molly Thatcher (Lee Remick). Tyroon starts off explaining the oil depletion allowance, but gets cut off when Backus starts hustling the hustler with an investment in Universal Widgets. Molly is summoned to educate Tyroon on Widgets. Tyroon falls for Molly and she is the blue eyes, blue chip stock that he really wants.
The movie shifts gears into the old Hollywood formula: boy meets girl, boy chases girl, does boy get girl? Along the way, Tyroon explains his business philosophy to Molly, “All the fun is in the wheeling and the dealing. Money's just a way of keeping score." James Garner created a host of great screen characters. Henry J. Tyroon is one of the best; right up there with Sheriff Jason McCullough and Commander Madison and Jim Rockford.
This is one of the better "Technicolor” comedies from the 60's. James Garner was at the top of his game and his love interest, Lee Remick is perfect in an intelligent role for a beautiful woman. The supporting cast were some of the 1960s funniest. Louis Nye, "the boss wrangler of the Henry Tyroon’s modern art collection", and John Astin, the manic SEC investigator, both have amusing scenes, and we get to learn about widgets along the way.
Check out more James Garner film reviews in the 'Movie Star of the Month' category
Written by Ben Clark. Copyright 2016-2023. All rights reserved.