Tony Mastroianni Review Collection
Audience Reaps Con Man's Gains
Cleveland Press September 22, 1967
Rogues and scoundrels are not really lovable except in fiction, plays and movies, and then only in proportion to the quality of the work.
I am happy to report that 'The Flim-Flam Man," all about a confidence man, has the necessary quality.
It also has a memorable performance by George C. Scott, one that exploits all of the chicanery and roguishness of the character while hinting at an old man's loneliness.
SCOTT IS THE FLIM-FLAM MAN of the title, a shark with cards, an expert at con games, a seller of goods of questionable worth.
"Greed is my line, and 14-carat ignorance -- they never let me down," he explains. "You can sell anything if the customer thinks it's stolen."
To make Scott likable and the story acceptable the writers have provided him with victims so greedy and larcenous themselves that they deserve to be taken.
The movie finds Scott on the run, teaming up with a young AWOL soldier (Michael Sarrazin). The young man, basically]y honest, becomes his partner out of necessity.
BUT ALONG THE WAY ROMANCE gets into the picture when Sarrazin meets Sue Lyons and indirectly the girl is the undoing of the partners.
Though this is Scott s picture, Sarrazin comes over well as the young man. Very funny are Harry Morgan and Albert Salmi as the sheriff and his deputy and Slim Pickens is good as one of Scott's greedy victims.
The movie is fun from beginning to end with the main character coming over with the quality of folk lore. For pure slapstick there hasn't been anything better than a long chase sequence in which the partners run off with a stolen car and just about destroy a town doing it.