Saturday, May 3, 2014

The Hustler (1961)

"Fast" Eddie Felson is a small-time pool hustler with a lot of talent but a self-destructive attitude. [imdb]

Nominated for 9 Oscars:

Best Picture
Best Director: Robert Rossen
Best Actor: Paul Newman
Best Actress: Piper Laurie
Best Supporting Actor: Jackie Gleason
Best Supporting Actor: George C. Scott
Best Adapted Screenplay
Best Cinematography, Black-and-White (WINNER)
Best Art Direction, Black-and-White (WINNER)

I heard a lot of great things about The Hustler before I saw it and they were mostly confirmed; I knew it would be better than its sequel (The Color of Money), which I'd seen many years ago and frankly I don't remember much from it, except it wasn't exactly spectacular. But this is a good film and its quality is due to a well-written screenplay. The film didn't bore me and I thought it built up nicely to the final match. 

Everything happening around the pool table was interesting and intense. The love story could've been better, but it served its purpose inside the film. Paul Newman is excellent (had it not been for Maximilian Schell's great performance in Judgment at Nuremberg, Paul would've had no problem winning - it's the closest he ever got prior to Color of Money). Jackie Gleason is ok, Piper Laurie is good, George C. Scott gives a great performance. 

My rating for the film: 8.5/10. It's an entertaining film that does justice to its hero.

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