Sunday, July 16, 2017

The Hustler (1961)

Academy Awards, USA 1962

Best Cinematography, Black-and-White
Eugen Schüfftan
Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Black-and-White
Harry Horner
Gene Callahan
Best Picture
Robert Rossen
Best Actor in a Leading Role
Paul Newman
Best Actress in a Leading Role
Piper Laurie
Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Jackie Gleason
Best Actor in a Supporting Role
George C. Scott
Refused even to be nominated.
Best Director
Robert Rossen
Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium
Sidney Carroll
Robert Rossen

Twentieth Century-Fox Film
Directed by Robert Rossen
My rating: 4 stars out of 4
IMDb Wikipedia
(Blu-ray, Fox)

Paul Newman is a talented but cocky pool hustler who travels the country with his money man conning unsuspecting billiard players. He tires of the small time and they go to the pool hall of Minnesota Fats, the best player in the country, to challenge him. They have a marathon battle of the wills, and while Newman appears more talented his character falters over the long haul as he becomes too tired to carry on and Fats declares victory. Seeking solace, he picks up lonely alcoholic Piper Laurie in a dingy restaurant and they start a troubled relationship consisting of long nights of drinking and sex. Newman returns to small time hustling and gets his thumbs broken. Laurie nurses him back to health, but cannot convince to quit. He takes an offer of financing from con man George C. Scott and challenges Minnesota Fats to another long night. He wins, but it comes at a high price. Outstanding performances from the ensemble cast and moody black and white photography by Eugene Schüfftan which perfectly captures the seedy backroom pool halls of America make this an essential film.

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