With the poker craze of the last ten or so years you would think The Cincinnati Kid Blu-ray would have been released a long time ago. This Norman Jewison film is a psychological thriller about Kid, a hotshot stud poker player (McQueen), taking on legend Lancey Howard (the great Edward G. Robinson) is one of if not the best poker movies around.
The Cincinnati Kid is also much more than a movie about flushes and straights but it does have stud poker at its heart. That is why one of the special features on this Blu-ray is a (weak) commentary track for the card scenes with professional poker players Phil Gordon and Dave Foley.
This is also a very good psychological drama. Kid’s pal Shooter –as in straight shooter--(Karl Malden) sets up a game between the newcomer and legend Lancey Howard. Since Shooter is to be the dealer New Orleans millionaire Slade (Rip Torn) blackmails him into helping the Kid at the right times. This goes against everything Shooter is as he is known as a straight shooter.
Throw in dames like Ann Margret as Shooter’s wife Melba who even cheats at puzzles and Tuesday Weld as Kid’s girlfriend, Christian, and you have even more psychological tension going on.
Not that the players themselves do not have a knack for trying to get in their opponent’s head. Especially entertaining is how Lady Fingers keeps asking Lancey about so and so from the old days who is now dead, dying, or in the hospital or a home as a not subtle hint he too may be getting long in the tooth.
Look for Cab Calloway as one of the players.
The Cincinnati Kid Blu-ray also features a decent enough commentary track with Norman Jewison and a featurette where magician dealer Jay Ose teaches Lady Fingers (Joan Blondell) how to deal and deal dishonestly.