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.
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
Director Sam Peckinpah insisted on changing an early expository scene in which a girl in her underwear is massaged with a vibrator. He removed the vibrator from the scene altogether and had the girl lie naked but completely covered with a fur coat. Producer Martin Ransohoff was unhappy with the shift in tone and fired Peckinpah. See more »
Set in the 1930s, the women have obvious 1960s hairstyles. 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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"There's always a kid", says Edward G. Robinson's character, "the man", in this film, and I guess there's always a man as well. In fact, the Cincinatti Kid is just about the least kid-like kid you could imagine, as Steve MacQueen was little more than ten years away from his death-bed when he played the part. I don't know what it is I like about Steve MacQueen: either his acting is very subtle indeed, or it's virtually non-existent, but there's something about his strong, silent, only reluctantly violent heroes that is innately more appealing than, say, the "make my day, punk" attitude of Clint Eastwood. Robinson's suave gambler is also an appealing figure in this movie. There's also some good use of traditional New Orleans jazz (but also some nasty, obvious strings on the soundtrack as well, reminding one of the equally ugly music in director Jewision's 'In the Heat of the Night', made at around the same time).
There are obvious parallels between this film and 'the Hustler', but while more modern, this film is also simpler in construction: there are some side-plots but ultimately, the characterisation (though strong) is static and it all comes down to the cards on the table. Someone wins, someone loses; but that's always the way. This isn't the deepest film you'll ever see, but it remains an immensely watchable one.
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