Brick, an alcoholic ex-football player, drinks his days away and resists the affections of his wife, Maggie. His reunion with his father, Big Daddy, who is dying of cancer, jogs a host of memories and revelations for both father and son.
"Fast" Eddie Felson is a small-time pool hustler with a lot of talent but a self-destructive attitude. His bravado causes him to challenge the legendary "Minnesota Fats" to a high-stakes match, but he loses in a heartbreaking marathon. Now broke and without his long-time manager, Felson faces an uphill battle to regain his confidence and his game. It isn't until he hits rock bottom that he agrees to join up with ruthless and cutthroat manager Bert Gordon. Gordon agrees to take him on the road to learn the ropes. But Felson soon realizes that making it to the top could cost him his soul, and perhaps his girlfriend. Will he decide that this is too steep a price to pay in time to save himself? Written by
Piper Laurie learned how modest and unassuming Paul Newman was. "He really didn't believe in himself as an actor at all. He thought he had great limitations, and owed everything to other people- the Actors Studio, Joanne- he seemed not to take credit for himself." See more »
In Fats' first game against Eddie, his cigarette disappears briefly. See more »
[Eddie watching Minnesota Fats during their first game, whispers to Charlie]
Boy, he is great! Jeez, that old fat man. Look at the way he moves: like a dancer... And those fingers, them chubby fingers. That stroke... it's like he's, uh, like he's playin' the violin or somethin'.
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When is a movie about pool not a movie about pool? When it's The Hustler. Watching this for the first time, i was expecting a movie full of games of pool with trick shots galore, with Newman the hero getting the girl and beating Fats the champ, role credits...a nice little feel good story. wow, was i ever mistaken (and very pleasantly surprised to be). The Hustler is filled with great performances: Newman, Gleason, Scott, and Laurie all give great, GREAT performances that makes a fairly simplistic plot with little real action absolutely riveting to watch. Newman is great as Eddie the born loser with talent coming out of his ears, but not enough brains to know how to utilise it best. Gleason is great and says a lot with simple body language more than the few lines he has. Scott is phenomenal as always as a soulless gambler only looking out for himself and dragging all those around him down as well. Laurie is perfectly suited to her character, a desperate, lonely alcoholic who seems to know her relationship with Eddie is bad for both of them, yet is unwilling or unable to break free.
The Hustler is amazingly written, with quotable lines and dialogue that just cuts deep into the cores of these characters; as they interact with each other and are forced to show their true colours, we see the true people underneath as the facade is stripped away. These are damaged, broken, confused, troubled souls who seem to gravitate towards one another, as if they can sense a kindred spirit. I have to say that the reason these characters resonated so strongly with me, is because, as unpleasant as it is to do so, i can see elements of myself in each character.
This kind of movie is one that would be nigh on impossible to get made in contemporary Hollywood. A downbeat story from start to finish, with unlikeable characters, it is one of the greatest films i have ever seen. an absolute classic in the purest sense.
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