|Directed by||Paul Bogart|
Gordon Douglas (uncredited)
|Written by||Richard Alan Simmons (story)|
Peter Stone (credited as "Pierre Marton")
|Produced by||Harry Keller|
|Cinematography||Fred J. Koenekamp|
|Edited by||Walter Thompson|
|Music by||David Shire|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros.|
Skin Game is a 1971 American independent comedy western directed by Paul Bogart and Gordon Douglas, and starring James Garner and Lou Gossett. The supporting cast features Susan Clark, Edward Asner, Andrew Duggan, Parley Baer and Royal Dano.
Quincy Drew (Garner) and Jason O'Rourke (Gossett) travel from town to town in the south of the United States during the slavery era. A flashback in the movie shows both men first met when Quincy sold Jason a horse that turned out to have been stolen from the local sheriff. They meet again in jail after pulling various con jobs and develop a con together in which Quincy claims to be a down-on-his-luck slave owner who is selling his only slave, who is Jason. Quincy gets the bidding rolling, selling Jason, and the two later meet up to split the profit. Jason was born a free man in New Jersey and is very well educated. The con is complicated by Jason being sold to a slave trader who is very savvy and intent on taking him down south to make a profit.
In January 1966 Harry Keller, a producer at Universal, announced he was developing the project based on a story by Richard Alan Simmons.
In March 1968 Peter Stone signed to write the script. In October 1968 Universal announced the film for the following year.
In April 1969 Universal put the film on its slate for the following year. Keller would produce with Peter Stone, who wrote the script.
The film did not go ahead. By September 1970 Keller announced the film would be made by James Garner's Cherokee Productions, releasing through Warner Bros with Burt Kennedy to direct. By December Kennedy had dropped out and was replaced by Paul Bogart.
In January 1971 Lou Gosset signed to co star.
In March Bogart fell ill with hepatitis and Gordon Douglas took over directing for a period of filming.
Stone later claimed Garner radically changed the last third of the film to give him more screentime. These changes annoyed Stone who used a pseudonym on the film.
Garner called it "a funny movie if you don't mind jokes about slavery. Paul Bogart did a masterly job."
A sequel was made three years later as a television film called Sidekicks, with Larry Hagman playing Garner's role and Gossett reprising his part.