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Cool World

Thursday, July 12, 2012
7:00 p.m. The Hustler
Robert Rossen (U.S., 1961)



Paul Newman swaggered right out of the fifties and into the sixties without missing a beat. Maybe it was his rebellious spirit coupled with a pained yearning that sat right behind his big blues—too bad The Hustler’s in black and white. For this gritty realist rendering, Newman plays “Fast Eddie” Felson, a pool shark from Oakland. Fast Eddie’s got something to prove—well, everything. He seeks out the reigning low-baller, Minnesota Fats, played by the well-barreled Jackie Gleason. Fast Eddie’s got a great stick, but he doesn’t know how to win. And right on cue, he loses. But encouraged by his soused squeeze (the piping-hot Piper Laurie), Eddie returns to the tables. The Hustler is all about the felt.

—Steve Seid

• Written by Sidney Carroll, Rosen, based on the novel by Walter Tevis. Photographed by Eugene Shuftan. With Paul Newman, Jackie Gleason, George C. Scott, Piper Laurie. (134 mins, B&W, 35mm, ‘Scope, From Criterion Pictures)