I've seen The Hustler repeated times, thought not as many as some of the other commentators. Recently I saw it for the first time in the theater, at the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin. Watching "The Hustler" in a theater is like listening to Dave Brubeck's "Time Out" album: you start to see and even hear things in black and white. You know the pool tables are green, and the balls are multi-colored, but somehow the black and white perfectly matches the colorless existence of the protagonist and his supporting players. You can smell the cigarettes, taste the booze. Newman, Gleason, Scott, and Laurie all turn in great performances. But this movie, made after the heyday of the studio players' contract, still bears the hallmark of great movies from that era: strong supporting performances all the way down the line. Vincent Gardenia, for pete's sake, as the unlucky bartender in the first scene! Michael Constantine as Big John. Myron McCormick as Charlie, Eddie's sponsor most of the way through the movie. And Murray Hamilton as the millionaire Southern mark. This movie was made when supporting roles were an end in themselves, by actors who believed every second they were on screen should be of high quality. The day I wrote this review -- January 18, 2004 -- The Hustler was no. 143 on the Top 250 list. No way are there 142 better movies.
Drama / Sport
Drama / Sport
An up-and-coming pool player plays a long-time champion in a single high-stakes match.
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May 2, 2019