Con (as in "confidence game") movies and novels

The Ladykillers, original 1955 version. Or not; Morley wasn’t in that.

Yeah … and I’m 99.999% certain he was in the movie I saw (this was maybe 45 years ago :eek: ).

I’ve been going through Morley’s filmography and wonder if **this **wasn’t the one:

No Alec Guinness, but Michael Redgrave, John Le Mesurier, and Joan Hickson were all in it, and I remember an old woman was part of the gang. I also remember some of the action taking place on a train.

Now You See Me, which a lot of people don’t seem to like but I do.
Focus, the recent Will Smith/Margot Robbie film

The Spanish Prisoner was the first thing I thought of. Very good film. It’s been several years since I’ve seen it. Might be time to watch it again.

There was a TV show in the 70s starring Robert Wagner and Eddie Albert called Switch. Wagner played a con man and reformed convict and Eddie Albert played a retired cop (who IIRC was the one who sent Wagner’s character up the river). Anyway they became friends and went into the private eye business, with the M.O. of each show being to run an elaborate con on the crook they were after. It was a pretty good show for what it was. Lasted three seasons but never drew much in the way of ratings. Also starred Charlie Callas and Sharon Gless.

And whadda’ya know, Switch is currently available on Youtube.

Is it? I don’t really see it as such, just an effective salesman. The musical instruments and band uniforms really do exist and are delivered on time. The people get what they pay for, and it really does seem to have a positive effect on the children.

Admittedly, he does claim to be able to teach the children how to use the instruments. This is false, he’s no music teacher. Mostly, though, it’s honest salesmanship with no fraud.

Yes. Probably more often than the long form.

Yes and no - his usual MO is to take the money and run without ordering anything; hence the kerfuffle at the beginning of the show/movie. In River City he’s motivated by looooooooove to “go straight” and actually order the stuff.

And I’ll second Nine Queens, which is worth a watch.

Thank you all for all the movie an TV suggestions.

I’m surprised that no one has mentioned any novels yet. Could there be a reason why a con doesn’t work well in a print medium?

We loved it, too. The sequel’s on cable now; we’re waiting until we’re all together to watch it.

That’s the one I couldn’t remember! Thank you!

I don’t see any reason it wouldn’t. Aren’t a few of the classic con movies already mentioned based off novels anyway?

*American Gods *would be my novel recommendation.

I figure THE PRODUCERS would count. And, for that matter, BOWFINGER.

Sounds a lot like The Feather and Father Gang:

A Big Hand for the Little Lady with Henry Fonda and Joanne Woodward is one of my favorites. A poker game that takes place in the backroom of a saloon. Features a kid as part of the con. Can’t remember who that was.

Also, House of Games with Joe Montegna and Lindsay Crouse.

How about the classic “Who’s Minding the Mint?” starring the Skipper and Gilligan (Bob Denver and Victor Buono standing in for Alan Hale Jr, IIRC), in which half of the junior comedians in H’wood try to print a bunch of money to get someone out of trouble for having shredded some?

Subtle, witty, nuanced… TV movie from 1967. Gahhh.

Good catch. From the Wiki article on Switch:

As an aside to the Switch/Feather & Father dynamic, it’s interesting to note that Robert Wagner from Switch and Stephanie Powers from F&F teamed up a couple years later to star in the highly successful tv series, Hart to Hart.

That was a good series, and Steph and RJ made a really sharp couple! :cool:

That’s what I meant that the con was benign – the people were getting what they paid for, other than his promise to teach. But usually when he visited a town, he’d leave them with their instruments and uniforms and nothing else. He only lucked out this time because they taught themselves to play (in a fashion), but the whole thing is structured as a con, and it’s also established (by Marcellus, who is Mr. Expostion in the show) that Hill has been doing various cons over the years.

Going very far afield: Bridge of Birds, one of Barry Hughart’s Chronicles of Master Li and Number Ten Ox.

It’s not precisely about cons, but the protagonists routinely engage in (rather zany) cons in the course of their adventure. They’re some of the funniest parts of a very funny novel. Oh, and it’s set in ancient China.