movie film review | chris tookey


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  Hustler Review
Tookey's Rating
6 /10
Average Rating
9.06 /10
Paul Newman , Jackie Gleason , George C. Scott
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Directed by: Robert Rossen
Written by: Robert Rossen, Sidney Carroll

Released: 1961
Genre: DRAMA
Origin: US
Length: 134

An up-and-coming pool hustler (Paul Newman, pictured) takes on the unbeatable Minnesota Fats (Jackie Gleason).
Reviewed by Chris Tookey

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The story is predictable, the dialogue overblown and the film could have done with 30 minutes taken out of the middle; the memorable aspect of this movie is the acting - that, and the dark, sleazy claustrophobia of the pool-hall.

Newman had to wait 25 years before he won an Oscar for his character (which he reprised in Martin Scorsese's The Color of Money ), but the film picked up Oscars for cinematography (Gene Shuftan) and art direction (Harry Horner, Gene Callahan).

The film was virtually remade as The Cincinnati Kid (1965), with Steve McQueen as a young poker-player. Though much acclaimed in recent film guides, the contemporary critical response was less enthusiastic.

Belongs to that school of screen realism that allows impressive performances but defeats the basic goal of pure entertainment.
The picture is swollen with windy thoughts and murky notions of perversions... but it has strength and conviction, and Newman give a fine, emotional performance.
(Pauline Kael, New Yorker)
Plumbs the unsuspected depths of depravity to which, apparently it is possible to sink by way of billiards. After seeing this film I should not be surprised to learn that the Vice Squad was investigating ping-pong or that to help addicts get off the hook somebody had formed Golfers Anonymous.
(Thomas Wiseman, Sunday Express)
A hateful film, dredged of any glimpse of spiritual light. But its power is undeniable.
(Felix Barker, Evening News)
It's the sort of film that proves the wilful idiocy of that line about the irrelevance of content strongly plugged by Cahiers du Cinema and their English adherents: shot with immense technical confidence, it still has to deal in humanity and, at a crucial point, it fumbles.
(John Coleman, New Statesman)
Repeated viewings of the movie serve to underline the slickness of the story's resolution which seems more and more to indicate that there's nothing like the loss of a loved one to improve your pool game, but it's the players who bear endless scrutiny on a screen of any size.
(Judith Crist, long after release)

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