THE CON ARTISTS (1976) Anthony Quinn and Italian pop singer Adriano Celentano buddy caper.

conartists_betaboxTheme Song: None.

Interesting Dated References: Reviews that summarize why I need to pay attention and not drink when I review Betamax.

Best Line: “For someone who’s hungry, you’re pretty.” From a dignified Quinn posing as a police officer — “I’m Professor Snatch of the Beaver Squad.” Again from Quinn — “Don’t push me, I’ve already hit one girl today.”

Social Context: Scamming people out of money and double-crossing your friends reaps huge rewards in the end, if you own a helicopter.

Summary: I’m not going to get all “Anthony Quinn is awesome” on you like I do in my James Coburn posts, but Quinn did have a certain something. I don’t like Anthony Quinn, but he does have a certain presence. His cohort in this Italian produced film is Adriano Celentano, who is widely regarded as a famous Italian pop star of the 60s and 70s. If you don’t know Adriano, you might want to look into him, in particular his awesome 1970’s musical output. Anyway, together they play Bang and Felix, respectively, as a set of con men trying to scam the scammers.

In the beginning, Felix is sent to break Quinn’s Bang out of jail. Despite the film being overdubbed from Italian, the timing and visuals are pretty nice if you are a fan of such things. The guys escape and fast talk each other in and out of con after con. What is most amazing is Quinn’s comedic ability with Celentano. The two play off of each other and turn what would have been a piss-poor movie into a mediocre movie with excellent performances from two professionals.

So Felix springs Bang only to realize he got the wrong guy. But the two agree Quinn will pose as Bang in order for both to collect the bounty. Along the way they scam their way into nice clothes, money, and jewelry. Oh, and someone shows up in blackface. The version of the film I am watching seems to be either made-for-TV or a television edit, since there are a lot of freeze frames with outro style music that then open up to a new scene. I’m not complaining, just wanted to make it clear. Pretty much with every scam, things escalate to double- and triple-crossing levels, and Benny Hill-esque piano ensues. Quinn reveals he really is Bang, and the two start scamming together.

The main scam involves a marsh with an alleged buried treasure in it, and a bunch of hijinx ensue. There’s not much I can say about this movie. It’s done well enough and the acting is passable. But there’s just no point in trying to explain what happens. More Benny Hill music, more confusion, more shoot outs, and in the end our boys make off with a load of cash. 86 minutes and we’re done.

Poster and Box Art I’m not a fan of the Beta box art for this one. I’m in a bad mood though and probably shouldn’t even be reviewing this movie right now. I found two Italian posters


The one on the left is fucking awesome with a great illustration. It makes the movie look way more interesting than it is, and that’s the definition of a good illustration. The other one just has photos and looks like a cigarette ad.

Availability: Another film in the public domain, so you might find it somewhere for a dollar. The prices on Amazon are insane because people are stupid and think that because something is out of print it’s worth money.