THE HUSTLER: COLLECTOR’S EDITION
MOVIE: **1/2 (out of 5)
DVD EXPERIENCE: **** (out of 5)
Paul Newman as EDDIE FELSON
Jackie Gleason as MINNESOTA FATS
Piper Laurie as SARAH PACKARD
George C. Scott as BERT GORDON
Created by: Robert Rossen
Studio: 20th Century Fox
BY KEVIN CARR
“The Hustler” is one of those classic Paul Newman films that I have missed over the years. I have seen the late-made sequel “The Color of Money” and enjoyed it (albeit not as much as Martin Scorsese’s other films). By taking the time to watch “The Hustler” in this light, I feel like I’ve put the pieces in place for the other film.
“The Hustler” tells the story of Eddie Felson (Paul Newman), a pool shark who makes his dough hustling people around the country. His biggest problem, however, is that he never knows when to quit. He goes after the biggest pool star around, Minnesota Fats (Jackie Gleason) and loses his shirt. After hitting rock bottom, he struggles for redemption, with women and with money. After he takes heavy casualties on all sides, he manages to find a way to dig up his dignity.
I can see why this film make Newman a star. He is as compelling to watch in old black-and-white as any name actor is today. Newman gives a powerful acting performance, and he bolstered by co-stars Gleason and George C. Scott. His relationship with the character of Sarah (Piper Laurie) wallows around a bit too much in the muck, and I found this far less compelling that his struggle to win – and keep his earnings – in the pool hall.
For historical significance, it’s definitely worth it to check out “The Hustler,” even if it is just a rental. The film shows timeless struggle and is a classic in cinema. The new DVD comes with two discs, featuring new featurettes about the film and its creation. There’s also resurrected features, including an audio commentary, trick shot analysis and other featurettes.