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Lee H. Katzin
In 1930s New Orleans, the Cincinnati Kid, a young stud poker player who travels from one big game to the next, stopping along the way up with various girls, is pitted against the legendary champion card-sharp Lancey Howard in a high-stakes poker game. Written by
When "Shooter" is dealing cards in the 5-card stud game rather than dealing the first card to the player to his left (Howard) it appears that he skips him and deals the first card to the player to his left. This is in fact normal practice for card tables to "rotate deal" so that every player gets a chance to be the first to bet. It is the job of the dealer to keep track of the positions, and that is why it is common to have a "dealer button" that passes to the left. See more »
Listen, Christian, after the game, I'll be The Man. I'll be the best there is. People will sit down at the table with you, just so they can say they played with The Man. And that's what I'm gonna be, Christian.
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Gritty dialogue and location shooting make a great classic
Norman Jewison's (`In the Heat of the Night,' `The Thomas Crown Affair,' `Fiddler on the Roof')1965 `The Cincinnati Kid' contains top notch location shooting in New Orleans and gritty dialogue (screenplay by Ring Lardner, Jr., `M*A*S*H*') that seems way ahead of its time.
The star power of this film is immense, with Steve McQueen portraying `the Kid' who is overly confident that he can beat `the Man,' Edward G. Robinson at his own game, stud poker. McQueen is ever confident while Robinson has seen it all and will not be surprised or scared by anything that he sees on the card table.
As in all great movies there is a very strong supporting cast in this film. Led by Karl Malden as `the Kid's' confidant, Shooter and a trio of strong supporting actresses, Ann-Margaret, Tuesday Weld and Joan Blondell. Ann-Margaret portrays Shooter's wife, Melba with great flair; she sees her husband as a loser and as a weakling. She openly commits adultery and talks down at him in front of anyone. Her characterization appears to be the role model for Fredo Corleone's wife Deanna, in `The Godfather, Part II.'
Beyond the obvious supporting roles is one of the best supporting/character players of all time, Jack Weston. He appears in many films in the 1960s and 1970s often as a person who gets in over his head with people and situations he cannot handle. In this movie he plays `Pig,' the first victim of Edward G. Robinson at the big card game. Pig thinks he is a pro but quickly and thoroughly gets gutted by `the Man.' Weston portrays a similar character in the original `Thomas Crown Affair.' Nobody sweats on camera like Jack. His type of adept characterizations can be seen in more recent settings, for example William H. Macy's `Jerry Lundergard' in 1996's `Fargo.'
Al in all this is one of the all time classics and by far is my favorite of any of the serious gambling movies such as `The Hustler,' `The Gambler' and `The Color of Money.'
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