Everybody "hustles"-especially in Los Angeles where suicides, strip joints, shootouts, porno movies, the mob and murder combine into a collage. Caught in this web of modern reality is an old fashioned detective (Reynolds).... more » A moralist who still sees the difference between right and wrong, he can hardly reconcile himself to the ugliness of his job. By day he investigates a young girl's suicide, while at night he relaxes with a high-priced Paris call girl (Deneuve).« less
B-MAN | Earth, occasionally. Until I get bored. | 07/26/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"One of the last 5 films by director Robert Aldrich (Kiss Me Deadly, Apache, The Dirty Dozen) and starring pre-moustache/Bandit Burt Reynolds (who also starred in Aldrich's previous film, "The Longest Yard") as Phil Gaines, a L.A. cop who would rather be living in the 1930s when life was cleaner. Ironically, he is in love with a prostitute (Catherine Deneuve). They have dreams of going away and starting a new life together, but never make it. The other side of the story concerns Gaines' case of Gloria, a teenage girl found dead on the beach and the Father refuses to believe that she committed suicide. His reckless investigation and obsession with revenge on his daughter's "killer" ends in the murder of an important, yet crooked and slimy attorney, Leo Sellers (Eddie Albert). Also co-starring is Ernest Borgnine as Santori, Gaines' boss, but he doesent quite seem on the "up & up". "Hustle" is not that bad, although it's also not spectacular. It is a pessimistic film, like a modern film noir, that in the hands of any other director or actors would probably not have had much significance. Many elements, especially the vulgar language and the drugs/porno theme (common in the 1970s) are what help this to get lost within the slew of 70s exploitation films. I would probably not have seen it if it were not for taking a film course where the focus was on the films of Robert Aldrich. As of yet, the film is not available on DVD and you're lucky if you can even rent the VHS, let alone own it. Still worth a look for fans of Aldrich, Reynolds (before "the bandit") and 70s cop or exploitation film. Trivia:
*Look for Robert Englund (Freddy Kreuger) who shoots Burt Reynolds during the store robbery.
*Look for Catherine Bach (Daisy Duke) as Peggy, a porn actress and former roommate of Gloria"
Despite efforts, Hustle falls short
B-MAN | 06/02/1999
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Hustle is an attempt at the film noir of the 1940s. A clean shaven (and tougher looking) Burt Reynolds is a streetwise L.A. detective with a problem. He's fighting crime while committing somewhat of a crime himself: his girlfriend is a hooker (played by the venerable Catherine Deneueve). What a premise! Perfect for film noir...but. But the entire idea wasn't thought out enough to achieve its goals. First off, film noir is visually darker, slicker. Hustle's locale should have been New York(even Seattle, if you want to stay on the left coast)--someplace with stints of bad, dreary weather. But L.A.? Director Aldrich had to stretch it by actually putting in several rainy, night sequences. Second, film noir is supposed to have an sense of mystery about it. Hustle (despite a cast of several Oscar winners) has all the awe and mystery of an episode of Starsky and Hutch. Last, film noir dialog is gritty, memorable. Hustle's dialog is too gritty--more filthy than gritty. It's full of too many sexual inuendoes that are memorable but unrepeatable. Despite its efforts, Hustle falls way short of classic noir. It's instead mired somewhere in that muttled gray mess of bad 70's cinema."
What might have been...or not.
Midge | The Heartland | 06/22/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Those born in the Reagan years may not realize that for a brief shining moment in the late 1970s, Burt Reynolds was the most popular movie star on the planet. Just prior to that, in 1975, he made this movie, and gives a creditable, serious and even moving performance.
If he had not grown the mustache and played up the good old boy shtick and annoying high pitched laugh, he may not have been Numero Uno for those couple of years, but he might have been taken more seriously and made better movies.
Perhaps not. This is the man who was first choice to play the Jack Nicholson part in TERMS OF ENDEARMENT and opted to do STROKER ACE instead.
In any event, this is a good example of gritty, bleak 1970s movie making, when mainstream Hollywood flicks could be dark and even have an unhappy ending. In 1976 ROCKY came along and changed all that.
A little dated, and a less than crisp DVD transfer, but worth checking out."
The good, the bad and the indifferent
Trevor Willsmer | London, England | 03/12/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"At times it's hard to know quite what to make of Hustle. There's certainly a good film in there, but there's also a bad one as well and Robert Aldrich doesn't make the two into something entirely cohesive. Joseph Biroc's photography is somewhat schizophrenic too. The police station interiors and night shots look great with a classic neo-noir look to them with their deep blacks, but some of the daytime work looks like painfully artificial TV movie stuff. Some of the editing is awkward and some of the writing so on the nose it's like someone decided to film `My First Cop Movie' while the references to Moby Dick (the film, not the book) come over as Symbolism 101, but then it delivers something good enough for you to want to file away and use yourself at a later date.
Where it scores is in its portrait of a job and a place where you can all too easily lose all sense of yourself, a side of Los Angeles the film captures remarkably well (there's a reason so many Angelinos move to different States or even countries). Burt Reynolds' cop is so desensitized to his job that he obliviously talks to the morgue staff about football scores while escorting a father to see his daughter's dead body, behavior no-one finds shocking in a place where people only count if they're `somebody.' In many ways the most impressive thing about it is its determination to avoid becoming a murder mystery: no-one, least of all Reynolds, has any interest in investigating a murder, and neither does the film. Instead it's more interested in the emotional fallout from the death and how it affects (or rather fails to affect) those around the death. It all ends in violence, naturally, albeit with the caveat that you end up paying for the sins you didn't commit rather than the ones you you did. "
BETTER THAN SOME.......NOT AS GOOD AS OTHERS.
Kay's Husband | Virginia, U.S.A. | 08/13/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
HUSTLE is better than some other Burt Reynolds movies, while not as good as others. The film is a very good film, however, a problem arises in that the subject matter is very sleazy, many of the people are sleazy, and in the end the movie suffers from all the sleaze.
I'm a Burt Reynolds fan, always have been, so when I watch one of his movies I am pretty much happy to watch ole Burt do his thing, which is entertain. I've been able to collect some of his DVDs with this one being a recent acquisition. I had seen the picture when originally released and it did not make much more of an impression on me back then than now, some 33 years later. The list of actors is impressive but the final script is depressing, overall serving to drag the movie down even farther, you keep watching because you want to know how it all comes out.
But Gloria's problems and resultant suicide are not much different from many other similar lost souls of the 1970s, and to build an entire movie around this doesn't quite work. And then the relationship between Burt and Catherine is unravelling and doesn't work at all. But just when you think they will surmount their problems, crawl out from under all the sleaze, the movie ends in an entirely unsatisfactory manner offering more sleaze to an already overly sleazy movie.
The film looks very dated and stark in a film noir way, while the dress and smoking and drinking all give an aura that is strictly 1970s. For me the 70s decade did not serve up the best ambience and this movie reflects all that, moreover brings it back all too vividly. Not too many folks would choose to relive the 1970s. And my 'armchair director's award' goes to Ben Johnson, he pretty much gives whatever spark is present in this movie.
I will continue to rewatch this thing, but for me I take an ending away that somehow evaded the director:
Burt doesn't stop at the liquor store, no, he is too pumped and excited to get into that weekend with Catherine, and when he asks her to marry, she says yes, and they both break out into another life. He quits, she quits, they start anew.
Crazy you say, not at all. Today many movies have alternate endings, I just cannot abide the stupid ending in this movie. Throughout the movie Burt tells Marty he ain't a professional. Well in this last scene Burt's standing up, out in the open, with a snub nosed .38 firing at a fleeing car is just not professional, not even smart. Talk about throwing peanuts at a fleeing elephant. And then how many liquor store robbers are going be able to shoot center, bulls eye, while moving excitedly away from someone with the distance continually increasing? Sorry, not plausible for anyone who ever infrequently handled firearms, pistols especially. They buried Wild Bill a long time back, the age of the shootist is way past.