Sunday, June 25, 2017

Tonight's Movie: The Wheeler Dealers (1963) - A Warner Archive Blu-ray Review

James Garner and Lee Remick star in THE WHEELER DEALERS (1963), recently released on Blu-ray by the Warner Archive.

Garner plays Henry Tyroon, a high-powered businessman who travels from Texas to New York to cook up some new deals after his latest project, an oil well, turns out to be dry.

Henry meets lovely stock analyst Molly Thatcher (Remick). Entranced by her cornflower blue eyes, Henry leads Molly through a series of business adventures, culminating in helping her save her job by discovering the true value of a supposedly worthless widget company.

The movie's premise is thin, with Garner springboarding from one business scenario to the next, yet he's so engaging as a supposed Texan that the film is a pleasant enough ride through 107 minutes of wheeling and dealing. It's sort of the movie equivalent of cotton candy, tastes good yet quickly melts away.

I was never quite certain if Garner's character, who's actually a Yale-educated Bostonian, was a truly wealthy businessman or a flim-flam man -- or perhaps both at once!

Remick is lovely as a woman who aspires to be taken seriously in the business world, but she lacks a certain bubbly fizz or underlying goofiness needed to pull off a romantic comedy. Although Remick and Garner are pleasant together, their romance never heats up past "sweet," with Garner responsible for whatever romantic vibes the film has.

I found myself idly imagining what Doris Day, Garner's costar in a pair of other 1963 comedies, would have done with this part, such as reacting when Molly discovers Henry in her hotel bathroom. Ah, would have been great, but it was not to be.

The film is buoyed by a good supporting cast, starting with Patricia Crowley as Remick's roommate. Crowley had appeared with Garner on MAVERICK a few years before.

Phil Harris, Chill Wills, and Charles Watts play zany millionaires who function as sort of a Greek chorus, finishing each other's sentences as they follow Henry around begging to be cut in on his deals.

The deep cast also includes Jim Backus, John Astin, Charles Lane, Elliott Reid, Pat Harringon Jr., Louis Nye, Eleanor Audley, Ross Elliott, James Doohan, Percy Helton, and other familiar faces.

The film's additional appeal comes from its early '60s set designs and fashions, shot in widescreen Metrocolor by Charles Lang. The film's visual style, combined with Garner and a fun cast of character actors, makes it worth a look.

The movie was directed by Arthur Hiller, who would soon work again with Garner on THE AMERICANIZATION OF EMILY (1964).

THE WHEELER DEALERS, which was previously released by the Warner Archive in a remastered DVD, looks terrific, in a crisp and colorful widescreen Blu-ray print. The disc includes the trailer.

Thanks to the Warner Archive for providing a review copy of this Blu-ray. Warner Archive Blu-rays may be ordered from the WBShop or from any online retailers where DVDS and Blu-rays are sold.


Post a Comment

<< Home

Newer›  ‹Older