Paul Newman heads a superb cast featuring Jackie Gleason, George C. Scott and Piper Laurie in the riveting film that received an Academy Award(r) nomination as Best Picture of 1961 and brought all four of its Oscar(r) nomi... more »nation. Newman (Best Actor nominee) is electrifying as Fast Eddie Felson, an arrogant, amoral hustler who haunts backstreet pool rooms fleecing anyone who'll pick up a cue. Determined to be acclaimed as the best, Eddie seeks out the legendary Minnesota Fats (Gleason, Supporting Actor nominee), who's backed by Bert Gordon (Scott, Supporting Actor nominee), a predatory gambler. Eddie can beat the champ, but virtually defeats himself with his low self-image. The love of a lonely woman (Laurie, Best Actress nominee) could turn Eddie's life around, but he won't rest until he beats Minnesota Fats, no matter what price he must pay. Voted one of the year's ten best by "The New York Times" and "Time," and distinguished by 2 Academy Awards- Cinematography, Art Direction-Set Decoration (B&W), The Hustler is a dazzling cinematic triumph.« less
Michel D. (michelann) from WALNUT GROVE, MO Reviewed on 8/3/2016...
Paul Newman at his young and feistiest best! He was always so smooth and fantastic and this film shows the tough life of a pool shark who is vulnerable (gets his thumb broken) when playing with the low life crowd. Jackie Gleason was far more than a lovable clown, he was a great actor and this character proves it! I have watched this movie many times over the years and never get tired of it!
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Great because it is the opposite of Color of Money
Seiyul Yu | Victoria, BC, Canada | 12/26/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Many people who saw the slick and stylish Scorcese creation Color of Money didn't even realize that Eddie Felson already existed on the silver screen in The Hustler. What many people tell me when they find out and see The Hustler is that either they hated it or loved it. That's because while Color of Money is smooth, slick, smooth, and polished, The Hustler is raw, biting, and powerful and so by definition it is not for everyone. Color of Money is more about visual effects and music, which is classic Scorcese, though there's no real substance. Scorcese himself has said in interviews that movies like Goodfellas were close to his heart, but Color of Money was just a commercialized creation. The Hustler, on the other hand, really grabs you. First off, as a pool player myself, let me tell you Tom Cruise can't play pool worth a damn, and that lack of authenticity is a glaring weakness to begin with. But just the fact that Newman and Gleason can play pool does not make The Hustler a better movie - it's a masterpiece because it is a gripping tale of human redepmption, of Eddie's battle to separate his pool game from his self-esteem. It's also about one man's passion for the game. How can any pool player forget that soliloquoy by Fast Eddie when he and Sarah go for that picnic, how he talks about how he loves even just the sound of the click of the balls, how the cue has nerves in it and is part of his arm! Remember that last scene in Color of Money, where young cocky Vincent plays the older, cagier Fast Eddie and Eddie declares "I'm back" before he breaks the balls? Even though the movie ends there, everyone knows Eddie wiped up the floor with Vincent. Vincent's character had talent, but Eddie had character, and that's what beat Fast Eddie time he played Fats.Bert Gordon: You got talent.Fast Eddie: I got talent? So what beat me?Bert: Character.And that's the way the two movies are too. Color of Money has talent, but The Hustler has character."
Hustle this one into your collection, quick!!!
Christopher J. Jarmick | Seattle, Wa. USA | 07/05/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Hustler spotlights one of Paul Newman's finest performances in his portrayal of Fast Eddie Felson, an arrogant, amoral pool hustler who's determined to be the greatest pool player in the country by beating the legendary Minnesota Fats (played flawlessly by Jackie Gleason). The film is a gritty, uncompromising character study and tragic love story that is set in the world of pool hustlers. Piper Laurie; as an alcoholic floozy who falls hard for Fast Eddie; and George C. Scott as the cold hearted manipulative gambler, Bert Gordon,-- contribute two additional flawless supporting performances. It was directed by the controversial Robert (All the King's Men) Rossen (he resisted but eventually named names during the infamous blacklist of the 50's).The film focuses on the arrogant, unsympathetic exploits of a con man as he uses his charm, looks and pool playing skills to hustle enough money to challenge Minnesota Fats, only to be humiliated in defeat. As 'Fast Eddie' attempts to raise money for a re-match, he meets and almost falls in love with Sarah a fellow alcoholic. At first Fast Eddie refuses to be managed by Bert Gordon, but after a pool hall hustle ends up with Fast Eddie having his thumbs broken, he reconsiders. Before the re-match with Minnesota Fats, a warm up high stakes game in Louisville has tragic consequences.The film dares to focus on a-typical anti-hero characters who live by amoral codes. Very little Hollywood style gloss is to be found anywhere in this stylistic gritty masterpiece which wound up being nominated for 10 Academy Awards (West Side Story won most of them that year). Cinematographer Eugene Shufftan deservedly won an Oscar for his moodily lit, beautiful black and white images. Harry Horner's and Gene Callahan's intricately art direction, production design and set decoration were also awarded with Oscars. Pool legend Willie Mosconi taught Newman how to look and act the part of a pool hustler and also made Newman's trick shots in the film. Jackie Gleason was already an excellent pool player. There really was an Aames pool hall in New York City and it is used for the film's most riveting scenes. Boxer Jake LaMotta (of 'Raging Bull' fame) plays a bartender in the film.Director Rossen who began his career as a screenwriter made only one other film (1964's Lilith) after 'The Hustler'. Rossen died in 1966. Martin Scorcese directed the 1986 sequel Color of Money, with Newman reprising his Fast Eddie role (and this time Newman won a best Actor Oscar for his efforts) as he teaches an up and coming hustler (Tom Cruise) the ropes. The sequel doesn't come close to being as good as the original (despite its stylistic flourishes, cast and director). Interesting to note that the characters in The Hustler were fictitious and an above average pool player legally changed his name to Minnesota Fats AFTER the film was released. The real life 'Minnesota Fats' eventually played a nationally televised (hosted by Howard Cosell) pool exhibition with William Mosconi in the 1970's more than 10 years after this 1961 film. DVD IMAGE AND SOUNDThe film has been digitally re-mastered in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. The films looks to be in excellent shape with very little print damage observed. The look of the film is smoky and gritty and the shadow details are rich indicating strong black levels present. This is a very sharp looking black and white film. The sound will not impress but the dialogue, sound effects and occasional music is crisp and usually centered..
DVD EXTRA'SIn addition to two trailers for the film, there are a few interesting featurettes some production stills and the superb commentary track.Richard Schickel hosts the too short documentary The Hustler: The Inside Story which gives us some details on how the film came to be made, and delivers some we were there stories from some of the film-makers and a few surprise guests. "How to Make the Shot," and "Trick Shot Analysis by World Artistic Champion, Mike Massey"
are two shorts demonstrating and showing viewers how to make some trick shots on the pool table. There is a superb commentary track which features the reminisces, and perspectives from actors: Paul Newman, and Stefan Gierash (Preacher), Dede Allen (film editor), Ulu Grosbard (assistant director), Carol Rossen (the director's daughter), Richard Schickel (film critic, Time), and Jeff Young (film historian). The comments cover all aspects of the making of the film. Newman's comments as one might expect are few.The film looks and sounds great, the extras compliment the classic film very well. Along with Hud, and Nobody's Fool, The Hustler has, what for me, is one of the three best Newman performances on film. Considering the supporting cast are superb, there's little for anyone to fault with this film. Christopher J. Jarmick, is the author of The Glass Cocoon with Serena F. Holder a critically acclaimed, steamy suspense thriller..."
Do The Hustle: Newman Makes Fast Eddie Felson A Hollywood L
K. Harris | Las Vegas, NV | 04/06/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Let's face it, what can I possibly say about Robert Rossen's exquisitely hard-edged classic that hasn't been said before? "The Hustler" is an astounding and uncompromising drama that seems as fresh today as it did 45 years ago. So often we'll look back at the classics--and, as is appropriate, they might seem dated. Times change and that is reflected in cinema. "The Hustler," though, is one of the rare films that was so sophisticated, so intelligent, and so honestly raw--that its power has not been diminished by the years. Set in a very unglamorous world of pool halls and back rooms, "The Hustler" is a testosterone fueled excursion into the life and pursuits of one of Hollywood's most notorious anti-heroes--Fast Eddie Felson. Nominated for eight Oscars, this refreshingly adult film cemented Paul Newman's status as one of our greatest actors.
The story of "The Hustler" is surprisingly simplistic. A brash young pool shark sets his sights on defeating one of the game's greatest players--Minnesota Fats (Jackie Gleason, at his best). But getting up on Fats isn't enough--no, he wants to crush his opponent. Eddie's naked and uncompromising drive eventually becomes his undoing as his winning streak turns to defeat. Despondent and broke, Eddie aligns with an equally desperate love interest. Sarah, played by Piper Laurie (never better), is a bitter alcoholic who has given up on life. But her complicated romance with Eddie seems to hint at the possibility of new hope. Eddie, however, can't change his spots overnight and an encounter with an unscrupulous manager (George C. Scott) just might get Eddie a second chance at Fats. For good or for bad, it seems Eddie is destined to go down that road again.
Paul Newman imbues Eddie with much cockiness, bravado, arrogance, ambition, and even desperation. In my opinion, it is Newman's best and most multi-layered performance. This (along with "Hud") celebrated Newman as a new type of leading man--someone you could like and despise at once. Morally questionable, perhaps even amoral at times, Newman was not afraid to be despicable. While only Oscar nominated for this film, ironically he won roughly 25 years later for reprising Eddie for "The Color of Money." Laurie, Scott, and Gleason all picked up Oscar nods as well. The film is impeccably acted and beautifully filmed. Not just for those with an interest in pool, "The Hustler" is a searing drama that stands as a deft character study of a man figuring out what is important after all.
While the Collector's Edition seems to be handsomely packaged as a two disc set, whether or not it's worth the upgrade from the Special Edition seems a bit suspect. Both have widescreen presentation, commentary from Newman and "Time" film critic Richard Schickel (among others), and features on "How to Make The Shot" and "The Hustler: The Inside Story." This new addition adds four featurettes--"Life in the Fast Lane: Fast Eddie Felson and The Search for Greatness," "Milestones in Cinema History: The Making of The Hustler," "Swimming with Sharks: The Art of the Hustle," and "Paul Newman: Hollywood's Cool Hand." So it's a judgment call whether or not you feel these extra shorts will add to your viewing experience. If you don't own the film, then it's a no-brainer! Either way, "The Hustler" is a true classic. One of Newman's best (if not best) performances make this gritty and timeless drama a must own DVD. KGHarris, 04/07."
Absorbing! Realistic! Riveting! Fantastic!
David Von Pein | Mooresville, Indiana; USA | 12/06/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"1961's "The Hustler" is a picture that will truly "suck you in". It totally absorbed my attention throughout. Making this in black-and-white was a wise choice by the movie-makers too. It sets the mood of the drab surroundings we experience during the film.A perfect cast has been assembled here, with Paul Newman a knockout in the lead role of pool shark "Fast Eddie" Felson. Piper Laurie, George C. Scott, Murray Hamilton, and Myron McCormick give strong support to Newman. And there's a very controlled and somewhat subdued Jackie Gleason as "Minnesota Fats". Jackie doesn't have a huge part here, but he pulls off his role as "Fats" with style.There are a lot of quiet moments in this picture ... when just visuals propel the story. I like that in movies! Sometimes there's too much dialogue in a film, in places where nothing needs to be said at all. It just seemed to me that the producer/director (Robert Rossen) knew when to keep the actors quiet here.The Hustler will forever remain a Classic to me!!Some Hustler stats:
Running Time: 135 minutes.
Debut in theatres: September 25, 1961.
Nominated for Best Picture of 1961. (Beaten out by "West Side Story".)
Paul Newman nominated for Best Actor of 1961. (Beaten out by Maximilian Schell--Judgment at Nuremburg.)
Both George C. Scott and Jackie Gleason were nominated for Best Supporting Actor in 1961 for this film. (Both beaten out by George Chakiris--West Side Story.)
Piper Laurie nominated for Best Actress in '61. (Beaten out by Sophia Loren--Two Women.)
Film won two 1961 Oscars --- Best Cinematography and Best Art Direction/Set Decoration (B&W).
Billiard champ Willie Mosconi, 14-time world champion from 1941-1957, was a key technical adviser on the set of The Hustler, literally teaching Mr. Newman how to play the game of pocket billiards, right down to his grip on the cue stick. Newman became quite proficient by the end of the shooting of the picture.
Newman reprised his role as Fast Eddie in 1986's sequel, "The Color of Money", co-starring Tom Cruise. Newman DID win the Oscar for Best Actor that year."