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The Flim-Flam Man Reviews

Incorrigible, glib, and packing around a bag of ancient confidence tricks, Scott is fascinating as a bumbling flimflam artist who refuses to abandon his larcenous trade. He takes on a pupil, Sarrazin, who has deserted from the army, teaching him methods of bilking his fellow man. Sarrazin is an apt student, successfully working bunco games with small-town people until meeting and falling hopelessly in love with Lyon, and then trying to reform the old man. Scott will have none of it, and, in one scam involving a stolen car, he goes berserk and wrecks half the town in his escape attempt. He is jailed but is later freed by Sarrazin who creates a diversion by pretending to have enough dynamite to blow up the jail. Scott watches from hiding as Sarrazin is arrested and then released when authorities realize he meant no real harm. Scott races off to hop a freight train and continue his errant ways. Scott mugs and twitches his charming way through a fascinating performance that carries the lightweight, wholly ridiculous story which is otherwise muddled by the amateur talent of Sarrazin. Further color is added by Scott's irate victims, notably Martin and Pickens, two Southern slickers taken to the cleaners by their own greed. Kershner's direction is slightly above average, saving an episodic and less than inventive script. There are more than a few laughs provided by Scott, but the action is pure slapstick. Goldsmith's score is outstanding.