Summer in Beaumont-Sur-Mer, a glamorous resort on the French Riviera. The season is just beginning for the town's leading citizen. Lawrence Jameson, a debonair British con artist posing as the deposed Prince of a fictional country. Targeting wealthy women who are all too happy to finance the Prince's mission to regain his throne. Lawrence sees it as a fair exchange for the fantasies of adventure and romance he has to offer.
Lawrence learns that his idyllic domain has been invaded by a clever young American con artist nicknamed 'The Jackal'. Returning from a banking trip to Switzerland, he comes face to face with his so-called competition in the person of Freddy Benson, a small-time grifter passing himself off as a selfless Red Cross worker trying to raise funds to help his ailing grandmother. Posing as a shy dentist, Lawrence befriends Freddy, who is all too happy to offer him his insights into the mysteries of women, while in the background. Lawrence's latest conquest Muriel Eubanks, leads a paean to the Princes charms. Back on the train, Lawrence makes quick work of Freddy, sending him on a fool's errand into the Straits of Gibraltar and bids him farewell. Through a chance encounter with Muriel, Freddy realises he has been duped and starts planning a little revolution of his own.
Freddy tracks Lawrence down to his villa, takes one look around and realises this is the life for him. A little cajoling, a little blackmail, and Freddy convinces Lawrence to take him on as his prot?g? despite the warnings of Andre, Lawrence's right hand man, who also happens to be the town's Chief of Police.
As part of Freddy's education, he observes the Prince's wooing of Oklahoma oil heiress, Jolene Oakes. Unfortunately, Jolene is a bit more of a tornado than Lawrence bargained for. Just a girl who can't hear no. she has already started planning their wedding and life together out on the prairie. Realising he must find a way to dampen Jolene's ardour, Lawrence enlists Freddy's help and introduces his intended to his little brother. the mad Prince Ruprecht. The ploy is successful, as Jolene turns tail and back home alone.
The next day Lawrence and Freddy are celebrating their spontaneous partnership at Beaumont's Grand Hotel. The harmony is short-lived, as the two soon quarrel. Realising Beaumont isn't big enough for both of them, they make a bet - the first man to extract $50,000 from a selected female target will stay on as the reigning Prince, while the other must leave town. The challenge set, the only question is who's the mark? The answer comes with the arrival of Christine Colgate, a beautiful, young (and fatally clumsy) heiress known as the American Soap Queen, out for her first taste of life on the Riviera.
That night at the casino Lawrence is back in his guise as the Prince. He is about to introduce himself to the Soap Queen when he is interrupted by a young American soldier in a wheelchair ? Freddy in his new role of Sgt. 'Buzz' Benson. It seems Buzz has a rare psychological condition, having been emotionally paralyzed from the waist down ever since discovering his fianc?'s infidelity with the brass section of the orchestra on TV's 'Dance USA.' His only hope for a cure would be through the ministrations of the eminent psychiatrist Dr. Emil Shuffhausen of the Shuffhausen Clinic in Vienna. Unfortunately the doctor's fee is beyond his reach ? $50.000. Christine is deeply touched by the brave soldier's story and assures him when the time comes he'll have the money. As the two head off to write a letter to the doctor, Lawrence emerges from the shadows. Having overheard Freddy's con, he realises the teacher has underestimated the pupil and tries to find a way to turn the game back in his favour.
Up in her hotel suite. Christine begs Freddy not to give up hope. She heads down to the front desk to send off the letter to Vienna, when a miracle occurs. She rushes back to Freddy with the most wonderful news in the world. Guess who she ran into in the lobby. who happens to be staying at this very hotel? None other than Dr. Emil Shuffhausen! As the curtain falls on Act One, the door opens, and the good doctor enters. It is Lawrence complete with a smile and a Viennese accent. He is back in the game.
As Act Two begins, 'Dr. Shuffhausen' cheerfully embarks on his examination of 'Sgt. Benson.' He pokes. prods and beats the poor psychologically paralyzed soldier with a switch, as Freddy struggles to maintain his charade. To Christine's delight, Lawrence agrees to take on the case.
Down in the Hotel Lobby, the trio runs into Muriel Eubanks, who has returned, unable to leave the romantic fantasies of Beaumont behind. Shuffling between the personas of the doctor and the Prince. Lawrence realises the game is in danger of collapsing and enlists Andre to romance Muriel while he gets away. Although Andre is at first shy and awkward, Muriel is more than happy to instruct him in the art of seduction.
As they tour the night spots of the Riviera, Lawrence begins his 'treatment' of Freddy. He tells Christine that the more fun they have, the more Freddy will want to leap out of his wheelchair and join them.
Later that night, Lawrence learns that Christine is not an heiress at all. She was named 'The American Soap Queen' in a jingle contest and has been selling off the prizes to pay his $50.000 psychiatric fee. Touched by her sweetness and generosity, he tells Freddy that the bet is off. Freddy accuses Lawrence of going soft and proposes a new bet ? whoever can seduce Christine first will stay on in Beaumont-sur-Mer, while the other leaves town. Lawrence agrees but refuses to participate ? he will simply bet that Freddy fails.
Freddy goes to Christine's hotel suite and confesses his love for her. If only she loved him too, he believes he'd be able to walk again. As he miraculously rises from his chair and staggers into Christine's arms, the bet seems to be won, when Lawrence appears and whisks Freddy away.
As the sun is rising, Lawrence realises he must get Christine safely away from Freddy and takes her to the train station. His walls beginning to crumble, he reluctantly watches her go and wonders how all this happened. Back at the hotel Andre and Muriel awaken from a night of romance and too much champagne. Although clearly drawn to each other, neither is able to take the final step, and the temporary lovers prepare to part. Freddy appears under Muriel's balcony and learns from Andre that Christine is gone: he has lost the bet. He rushes to Christine's empty room and is about to give up in despair, when Christine returns ? she really is in love with him. As they prepare to consummate their relationship. Freddy revels in his victory. Christine emerges in her nightgown, and they move together. Unfortunately the heat of the moment, and Christine's natural clumsiness, prove too much for them, as the two rush together, accidentally clunk heads, and Freddy is knocked out.
Christine arrives at Lawrence's villa in tears. She tells him that she and Freddy made love and fell asleep. When she woke up, she found that he'd absconded with all her possessions ? including Dr. Shuffhausen's $50,000 fee. Ashamed and contrite, Lawrence decides to make up for Christine's losses, puts the money in a briefcase and sends her away. She quickly returns; she can't take this. it's doesn't belong to her. Besides, she'll always have something from him worth so much more. As she leaves, Freddy is brought in by the police. The two men accuse each other of backstabbing and double-dealing. They suddenly stop. open the briefcase and find the money gone, in its place a note from Christine: 'Goodbye. boys. It was fun.
At the Beaumont Airport. Andre is about to see Muriel off, when they are finally able to admit their true feelings. They discover the fantasy they have been seeking has been there all along in each other, and decide to build a life together. The season over, Lawrence realises it may be time to give up the game for good, as he and Freddy reflect on their adventures together. They are about to part, when they are interrupted by the arrival of a Greek shipping tycoon and his entourage. being led by Paula, a loud, pushy real estate agent from Boca Raton. She removes her sunglasses, and we see it is Christine. back to serve up Lawrence his latest pigeon. Although stunned at first, Lawrence quickly assumes the persona of 'Don Diego Fernando Alahambra, the King of Spanish Real Estate,' as the three artists begin their latest con and happily set off to scam the world.
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