Monday 2 March 2015

Film of the Week - The Hustler

This weeks 'Movie of the Week' is The Hustler  1961

Film fans will know this movie well but if you haven't seen it, it is simply one of the best written films of all time, and about pool.

Now personally I find snooker, pool, billiards (whatever you call a game that involves putting balls in pockets) not nearly as fun as it sounds. But this is a beautifully crafted story of self destruction, talent and sex.

Paul Newman as you would expect is perfection playing Eddie a very talented pool player. This may be his best film. He makes you hate him and love him and draws you deeply into his intense world.
And along comes Piper Laurie as Sarah, the spokeswomen for Sixties American cool. I had never seen a woman act like this with such character and subtlety. Her limp, her voice!

Behind it all is a perfect balance of brilliant writing, directing, acting and cinematography. The cherry on top is costume designer Ruth Morely bringing the characters just what was needed, a dirty coolness. Known for Taxi Driver and Annie Hall you can see where she made her icon making first marks on Paul Newman and Piper Laurie in 1961.

The sequel to the Hustler is The Colour of Money by Martin Scorsese which I saw first and thought was great. I watched them as a double bill recently and sadly it lacks that very special magnetism of The Hustler.

Watch it and watch it again. Enjoy the film.

Piper Laurie, she's way cooler than this but the dress is still fabulous.

The Hustler 1961
Starring: Piper Laurie (Twin Peaks) and Paul Newman
Director: Robert Rossen
Cinematography: Eugen Schufftan
Costume Design: Ruth Morely (Annie Hall and Taxi Driver)