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The Hustler

Paul Newman , Jackie Gleason , Robert Rossen    Unrated   DVD
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
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Paul Newman shines as cocky poolroom hustler "Fast" Eddie Felson in Robert Rossen's atmospheric adaptation of the Walter Tevis novel. Newman's Felson is a swaggering pool shark punk who takes on the king of the poolroom, Minnesota Fats (a cool, assured Jackie Gleason in his most understated performance). After losing big and crashing into a void of self-pity, Eddie meets down-and-out Sarah (Piper Laurie in a delicate performance), an alcoholic blue blood who's dropped into Eddie's world of dingy bars and seedy poolrooms. Eddie regains his confidence and attracts the attention of a shifty, calculating promoter, Bert Gordon (George C. Scott at his most heartless), who offers to bring Eddie into the big money--but at what cost? Rossen brings his film to life with the easy pace of a pool game, giving his actors room to explore their characters and develop into a razor-sharp ensemble. Eugen Schüfftan earned an Academy Award for his shadowing black-and-white cinematography, as did art directors Harry Horner and Gene Callahan for their deceivingly simple set designs. Even in the daylight this film seems to be smothered by night, lit by the dim glow of a bar lamp or the overhead glare of a pool-table light, an appropriate environment for this tale of one man's struggle with his soul and his self-esteem. Newman returned as an older, wiser, cagier Felson 25 years later in Martin Scorsese's Color of Money. --Sean Axmaker

Special Features

The DVD debut of this landmark drama is exceptional. Besides a luminous widescreen transfer and picture-in-picture deconstruction of the pool shots by billiards master Mike Massey, the commentary track is unique--and we hope starts a new trend. Film historian Jeff Young hosts an oral history of the film from a variety of sources including Paul Newman, legendary editor Dede Allen (who nearly steals the show), assistant director Ulu Grosbard, Time magazine critic Richard Schickel, and director Robert Rossen's daughter, Carol. The result is a free-following collection of memories created decades after the film wrapped (and many of the key players have died). Don't want the fine details? The new 25-minute documentary hits the major points with expertise. --Doug Thomas

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Steven Aldersley TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Blu-ray
The Hustler (drama, romance, sport)
Directed by Robert Rossen
Starring Paul Newman, Jackie Gleason, Piper Laurie and George C. Scott

20th Century Fox | 1961 | 134 min | Rated R | Released May 17, 2011

Video:
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Video resolution: 1080p
Aspect ratio: 2.34:1

Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
English: Dolby Digital 2.0
French: DTS 5.1
German: DTS 5.1
Portuguese: DTS 5.1
Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1

Subtitles:
English SDH, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Mandarin, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish

Disc:
Single 50GB Blu-ray Disc (digibook)

The Hustler was nominated for nine Oscars, winning for cinematography and art direction for a black and white film. The four main actors deservedly received nominations, although George C. Scott refused his. It was the second nomination for Newman, the first of three for Piper Laurie and Jackie Gleason's only nomination. The film deserved the recognition, but West Side Story ended up with 10 Oscars that year. Newman received an honorary Oscar in 1986 and won a best supporting actor Oscar a year later when he reprised the role of Eddie Felson in The Color of Money.

The film is quite complex. Although a sports movie on the surface, there's a strong romantic element. The story is essentially about strength of character. What would you do to get what you want in life? What if it means hurting people close to you? Is the goal worth the sacrifices? And, most important of all, how do we define success?

Newman was an emerging force in 1961, but his popularity hadn't reached its peak. His portrayal of Eddie Felson was convincing.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Classic June 1 2014
By lcd
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Good story line although not one of my favourite classics. This is Jackie Gleeson as I had never seen him. He played a great part and apparently he was quite a good pool player in real life which I did not realize.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Young and the Fit, the Old and the Fat Dec 29 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Splendid young Newman with an ageing Jackie Gleason on a rampage at the pool table.Redford has not yet arrived but there are clues to what might be in the wings. Wonderful to go back half a century and relive youthfull fantasies
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4.0 out of 5 stars I liked it. Sept. 27 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Paul Newman was great in this film. The story is also captivating, it shows that there is no easy way to earn a living.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent ....... June 22 2013
By JT TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Really the only way to describe this movie. I saw it when I was a kid and it was one of those movies that stuck with me. To me, over the years it's one of those films that gains an iconic status, like Ben Hur for example. I guess that part of the charm and appeal is the black and white timeless silver screen feel it has to it. I think that this is the role I will always remember Jackie Gleason for. George C. Scott plays a good villain. And Paul Newman is sort of like Brando in a Street Car Named Desire in that you are seeing him with so much energy and presence. The pool shooting scenes were fantastic. And the fact that it is an old movie filmed in black and white makes it that much more appealing.

I picked this dvd up on Amazon for next to nothing, and it has tremendous back for the buck. A wonderful addition to any dvd collection, particularly if you like old movies.
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By Mark
Format:DVD
With or without the Oscar, this is one of the greatest American films ever made in any genre. George C. Scott refused to take part in the Oscar ceremonies when "The Hustler" was nominated, calling them "a self-serving orgy" if my memory serves me right. Perhaps that stand contributed to the movie not being recognized in its own time. Whatever the reason, this film shows you that recognition is unnecessary for true art. The cream always rises to the top.
People may not realize that Paul Newman was an unknown when this movie was made. His youthful brashness and emotion laden performance show him as an actor beyond his years.
One can never say too much about George C. Scott. He's old reliable, in this movie as in his others. He does an excellent job. He's just so good that we are numb to his mastery.
Piper Laurie also turns in an amazing performance. Her acting is subtle but her method is steady.
The real standout in this film is Jackie Gleason. He shows why he was called "The Great One." I personally feel that this movie shows him as the greatest method actor of his generation, and perhaps one of the greatest ever.
But unbelievable acting is only one part of this gem. The cinematography is clear and artistic. The script is expertly written and the scenery couldn't be more authentic.
This is the only pool movie I know of that you can enjoy as a pool player. The pool scenes are unbelievable. They used the greatest pool players of the day in shooting and it shows. The Color of Money is a nicely shot movie but there is not really a lot of pool in it. This is a pool movie that transcends pool.
Please do yourself a favor and add this to your collection.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Hustler is simply amazing. March 2 2004
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
The Hustler is a 1961 20th Century Fox release about the game of billiards. It features an amazing cast; Paul Newman as Fast Eddie, Jackie Gleason as Minnesota Fats, Piper Laurie as Sarah Packard, and George C. Scott as Bert Gordon. Robert Rossen directs the 134-minute film, with outstanding cinematography, for which it won an academy award, but it was hard not to just watch the amazing acting displayed.
The most interesting things I found in the movie are the lighting and the camera angles. The pool halls are just as most people picture them, dark, dingy and full of smoke. This is visible at the beginning of the movie when Fast Eddie and Minnesota Fats play their first game of pool. The players are lit when playing at the table, but when the rest of the hall is shown, it is dark with almost no lighting whatsoever. I find it interesting that the actors are kept in the shadows, even when delivering dialogue, until they lean to the table to shoot. I feel this is to emphasize the game played, and the players, but only when they are doing what is important to them. This also pushes the spectators almost out of view, to become the same as the viewers in the theatre and at home. This leads to a somewhat humorous scene. Fast Eddie and Minnesota Fats are playing a marathon set of games for high stakes. The favorite is Fats, but he is down about $10,000. While Fats is making a shot, an employee of the pool hall starts to raise the blinds, and he complains telling the employee to "cut that sunshine out", to accentuate the mood I feel the director was trying to set. After 25 hours of playing, Minnesota Fats wins back $13,000 dollars, leaving Eddie with only $200 in his pocket.
The lighting changes when Eddie is not in the pool hall, and is almost blinding to the viewer.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A Breath-taking Cinematic Experience...
A small-time pool hustler, Eddie Felson (Paul Newman) also called Fast-Eddie, is feeling that he is on his way up as he wants to take on the reputable Minnesota Fats (Jackie... Read more
Published on Feb. 12 2004 by Kim Anehall
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best films ever made.
This film has haunted me ever since I saw it (experienced it, really) for the first time in the mid-1960s. Read more
Published on Jan. 11 2004 by Paul S. Brewer
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best of the best
Jackie Gleason usually plays Jackie Gleason, but he soars far above his own image to become the character he plays in The Hustler, Minnesota Fats, and it's probably the performance... Read more
Published on Nov. 26 2003 by Peggy Vincent
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent movie, somehow disappointing DVD
A very impressive movie with great characterizations and wonderful performances. Highly recommended.
The DVD:
Picture and sound are perfect. Read more
Published on Aug. 23 2003 by David Theis
5.0 out of 5 stars The Real Lesson of THE HUSTLER: Adapt or Die
By the time Paul Newman played Fast Eddie Felson in THE HUSTLER, he had already established himself as Hollywood's most enduring icon of the anti-establishment rebel. Read more
Published on Aug. 10 2003 by Martin Asiner
5.0 out of 5 stars Fast and Loose
This was an absolutely great movie. Newman was definitely at his best as "Fast Eddie" Felson. Read more
Published on June 23 2003 by Jason Koster
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