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.
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. There are many scenes with Eddie and Sarah in her apartment, and it is usually very bright, but when the mood is depressing or dreary, it gets darker, helping to convey the mood displayed. When they travel out of the apartment, the mood is usually light, and the scenery also brightens showing the actors more dramatically.
The camera angles used in the movie are very interesting to the viewer. There are many shots inside of doorways, usually featuring Fast Eddie. Those scenes are usually more personal parts of the movie, away from the pool halls. The actors are almost never featured in the center of the screen, but offset to the side. I feel this is to allow the lighting to enter more into the viewing experience. When scenes are shown featuring two actors, the camera takes a side view, making the space between them seems greater. The camera also often shifts in between characters, even when separated by just a table. This allows the spectator to concentrate more on the speaker, or to view emotion conveyed by the other actors. When the actors are playing pool, the camera often pans up to the character leaning down to the table. I feel this angle allows us to focus more on the action of shooting, and on facial expressions, instead of the actual shot. When at the pool hall, there are also many angled shots from above and over, allowing the background and lighting to display more prominently.
I would rate this movie five stars. While I have not concentrated on the acting, it is tremendous. Paul Newman displays amazing emotion, and mix of desperation and cockiness of Fast Eddie conveys through almost every small thing he does. The story line is unique and builds the characters into people that the viewer can become very interested. However, I find that what the audience usually does not notice is what truly makes this movie great.
Picture and sound are perfect. Read more