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The Fortune is a 1975 film directed by Mike Nichols.

Oscar and Nicky (Jack Nicholson and Warren Beatty) are con artists and petty criminals in what appears to be the late 1920s.note . As the film opens the two of them are running off with rich heiress Frederica "Freddie" Bigard (Stockard Channing in her first starring role). Freddie and Nicky are lovers, but Nicky has a wife lingering around somewhere, so he can't marry Freddie, and if they go away together her rich father could have him prosecuted for violating the Mann Act. So she marries Oscar for show, and the three of them head to California, with Nicky pretending to be her brother.

The trio moves in to a little bungalow. First Oscar starts getting bored and horny and starts casting looks at the very pretty woman that he's technically married to, even though she's sleeping with Nicky. This causes some friction between the partners in crime. Second, the two Gold Diggers are a little too obvious about it, causing Freddie to say that when she gets her inheritance she'll give the money to charity. Faced with this dire prospect, Oscar and Nicky resolve on murder.

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A young Christopher Guest appears briefly as the man enjoying Auto Erotica with his girlfriend.


Tropes:

  • Auto Erotica: The attempt to drown Freddie by throwing her into the ocean is complicated when a young couple pulls up right next to their car and starts having sex.
  • Buxom Is Better: So says Oscar, who says that Freddie is very attractive "from the front" but that she is lacking "from the side". (This does not stop him from having sex with Freddie later.)
  • Can't Hold His Liquor: Freddie is given to passing out from drink. The first time she does this they just wheel her around in a baggage cart at the train station. The second time, it's part of their plot to murder her.
  • Clucking Funny: Freddie has a pet chicken. The chicken's squawking as Freddie runs around during the climax makes everything that much more surreal.
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  • Diagonal Billing: For Nicholson and Beatty, both huge stars in 1975.
  • The Ditz: Freddie. She's dumb enough to fall for Nicky the obvious con artist. She's dumb enough that even after she figures out that they want her money, she still stays with them. Then, after she wakes up in a trunk on the beach she still does not get it, saying "They must be beside themselves by now" instead of realizing that Oscar and Nicky tried to kill her. At the end, when the cops tell Freddie everything that Oscar and Nicky confessed, she says "I would never believe that in a million years."
  • Gold Digger: Oscar and Nicky at first, hoping to get Freddie's inheritance.
  • Hangover Sensitivity: Freddie is so hung over after the all-night binge when she got married that the very sight of Oscar eating on the train makes her vomit again.
  • Inheritance Murder: Oscar and Nicky tried to do this so Oscar would inherit Freddie's money. It didn't work out.
  • Lethal Chef: Freddie's attempt to bake some bread leads to her having to hammer it out of the pan. Later she makes...something green for breakfast. (Nicky: "Is it supposed to be so slithery?"). And the dessert she tried to make (also for breakfast!) "didn't set", resulting in a bowl of liquid goo.
  • Marriage of Convenience: Since Freddie can't marry Nicky, she marries Oscar, so no one can get prosecuted for the Mann Act.
  • Polyamory: At first Freddie's only lovers with Nicky. But one day Oscar finally manages to seduce her. She's moaning orgasmically from sex with Oscar when Nicky shows up unexpectedly at the front door, causing Oscar to jump out the window...and moments later she's moaning orgasmically from sex with Nicky. This leads to a fight when Nicky figures it out, but by the end they seem to have settled into a threesome.
  • Seamless Scenery: A scene of Freddie, Oscar, and Nicky dancing together at some club has the camera pan right, only to find the three of them at a dinner table as she blows out the candles on her cake.
  • Stupid Crooks: Oscar and Nicky are hopeless bumblers. They are so obvious about wanting her money that Freddie, herself a dingbat, clues in and says she'll donate her inheritance to charity. Their attempt to kill her is a parade of fuck-ups. After she passes out they dump her in the fountain for some reason, which draws the landlady's attention. They resolve on putting her in a trunk and tossing her into a river, but another car pulls up as they're wrestling with the trunk, causing a traffic jam on the bridge. They decide to throw her into the ocean, but an Auto Erotica couple and a fisherman both show up at the beach, leading Oscar to panic and throw Freddie into the ocean inside the trunk, even though it's supposed to look like a suicide. And that saves Freddie's life, as the trunk floats and she winds up washing back to shore. Then at the end cops show up asking about the bus Oscar and Nicky stole, which causes Oscar to panic again and blurt out the whole scheme.
  • That Makes Me Feel Angry: At one point Freddie denotes sadness by actually saying the words "Tear-stained cheeks."
  • What Did I Do Last Night?: After passing out drunk Freddie winds up crawling out of a trunk on the beach and muttering "I wonder what I did last night." She does not make the proper conclusion about why she was in the trunk.
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