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Mainstream - The Hustler Blu-ray Book

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The Hustler Blu-ray Book
Jackie Gleason, Paul Newman
Directed by Robert Rossen
Black and White 1961
Fox Home Entertainment 2011
135 minutes

The Hustler is one of those movies you have to see at least once in your life. Jackie Gleason, yes that Jackie Gleason  is superb in this dramatic role though not as brilliant as in the yet to be released on DVD Gigot. Paul Newman is also very good as the young pup trying to best the master at his game, this time it is pool. If you are not into moody movies however you might want to pass. The Hustler Blu-ray Book features a few picture pages and text about the principals. Special features here really are worth it. By the way if Gleason looks "off" on the cover it is because it is a reversed photograph: the carnation is supposed to be on the right.

Newman plays pool shark Fast Eddie Felson. Fast Eddie is a pool hustler whose sole ambition is to beat the legendary and never beaten Minnesota Fats (Gleason, who does all his own trick shots in this movie). His first encounter with the legend does not go well and he loses his manager in the aftermath.

In a somewhat complicated setup Eddie meets Sarah (Piper Laurie) at the bus stop and they hook up together. Fats’ backer Bert Gordon (George C Scott) finds Eddie and proposes to stake him in a rematch. Fast Eddie finds he cannot make it on his own.

Getting to the rematch is central to the movie’s pathos and point but a bit long if you are really interested in the face-off with Minnesota Fats. The story with Sarah is central to the character arc but there is something missing in the Sarah character to really get who she is.

Special features include audio commentary various people (also subtitled in four or five languages); Life In The Fast Lane, Swimming With Sharks: The Art of the Hustle; The Hustler: The Inside Story; Milestones In Cinema History, Paul Newman: Hollywood’s Cool Hand; Trick Shot Analysis with Mike Massey; How To Make The Shot with Mike Massey; Never before seen special features include Paul Newman At Fox Documentary, Jackie Gleason: The Big Man Documentary; and The Real Hustler: Walter Tevis Documentary.

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