The Fortune

1975, Movie, PG, 88 mins


An offbeat but often hilarious comedy where Beatty and Nicholson play Nicky and Oscar, two competing confidence men trying to bilk heiress Freddie (Channing) out of her fortune. The source of this wealth is Freddie's father, a manufacturer of sanitary napkins (which naturally results in plenty of tacky humor). Though she is in love with the married Nicky, Freddie plans to marry the slippery Oscar and then carry on an affair with the man she wants. Oscar, a failed embezzler, has no intention of playing the cuckolded hubby; he means to have his carnal share of the attractive heiress. When she learns that the two con men are up to something, Freddie tells them her plans to give her fortune to charity. Alarmed, they conclude that their only course of action is murder, and the rest of the film is a series of black comedy sketches of plans gone awry and misplaced guilt.

A catalogue of slapstick errors, THE FORTUNE works well through the fine performances of the leads and the superb timing of director Nichols. Beatty nervously twitches through his part but is quickly outdone by the easy-going Nicholson and the marvelous Channing. LUCKY LADY, a similar type of love triangle also set in the 1920s (with Gene Hackman, Liza Minnelli and Burt Reynolds), was made the same year but nowhere approaches the style and wit on display here. Full of period and period-sounding music, THE FORTUNE is cold to the core--agreeably disagreeable amusement. leave a comment

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