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The Hustler (1961)

They called him "Fast Eddie"... He was a winner... He was a loser... He was a hustler.

The Hustler (1961) (Trailer below)

"An up-and-coming pool player ("Fast Eddie" Nelson) plays a long-time champion ("Minnesota Fats") in a single high-stakes match."

"The Hustler was a major critical and popular success, gaining a reputation as a modern classic. Its exploration of winning, losing, and character...garnered a number of major awards and it's also credited with helping to spark a resurgence in the popularity of pool. Real-life pool player Rudolf Wanderone, known at the time as "New York Fats" and "Chicago Fats", claimed to be the real life inspiration for Gleason's character, Minnesota Fats, and adopted the name as his own."

The Hustler won 2 Oscars - for Best Black and White Art Direction/Set Decoration and for Best Black and White Cinematography.

It was also nominated for: Best Picture, Best Director (Robert Rossen), Best Actor (Paul Newman), Best Supporting Actor (Jackie Gleason), Best Supporting Actor (George C. Scott) (who refused to even be nominated), Best Actress (Piper Laurie), Best Screenplay based on Material from Another Medium (Sidney Carroll and Robert Rossen) and Best Salad Dressing (Paul Newman).

Creator of this Event: Robb

Cost: Only $7.00

When and Where: We'll meet up in the lobby of the Reading Cinemas Gaslamp 15 at 6:45pm and head into the theater at 6:55pm.

After the Film: We'll swing by somewhere close to chat and have a drink if enough folks are up for it. 

Other Interesting Facts:

- All the pool shots in the movie are performed by the actors themselves (Paul Newman and Jackie Gleason) except one: the massé shot (cue ball sends two object balls into the same pocket), performed by Willie Mosconi.

- Paul Newman had never held a pool cue before he landed the role of Fast Eddie Felson. He took out the dining room table from his home and installed a pool table so he could spend every waking hour practicing and polishing up his skills.

- Rossen hired real street thugs and enrolled them in the Screen Actors Guild so that they could be used as extras.

- One of the first mainstream Hollywood films to use the word "bastard".

- An early example of a Hollywood movie with a pre-credits sequence, a rarity at the time.

- As part of her research for her part, Piper Laurie actually hung out at the Greyhound terminal at night.  

- Filmed over six weeks entirely on location in New York City.  The film crew built a dining area that was so realistic that people showed up expecting to have their orders taken.

- During the filming, one of the production days happened to fall on St. Patrick's Day. Prior to Jackie Gleason's arrival to the shoot at the pool hall, the lighting crew took out all the clear gels, and replaced them with green ones. Upon seeing this, Gleason was so impressed he said, "Boys! This looks beautiful! Take the rest of the day off!". He left, and production was shut down for that day!

- When first approached to play the role of Fast Eddie Felsen, Paul Newman couldn't accept it because he was scheduled to begin filming Two for the Seesaw with Elizabeth Taylor. When Taylor was held up with the filming of Cleopatra, "Seesaw" was postponed and Paul was able to do this film.

- Director Robert Rossen was a pool hustler himself in his youth. He had even penned an unsuccessful pool-themed play called 'Corner Pocket'.

- Boxer Jake LaMotta appears as as one of the many bartenders in the film. His one line is "Check," and he says it three times.

- Piper Laurie didn't make another film for the next 15 years, devoting the time to her marriage and raising her only daughter. She returned to the screen in 1976 in 'Brian de Palma''s Carrie, earning her second Oscar nomination.

- Ranked #6 on the American Film Institute's list of the 10 greatest films in the genre "Sports" in June 2008.

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  • julia g

    This sounds really good ! Thank you for the "other interesting facts". I often can't make it because of work, but I'm going to try to make this one...and also, ditto on looking forward to meeting you Rob !

    1 · September 10, 2013

    • Robb

      I hope you make it Julia. I look forward to meeting you, too!

      September 12, 2013

    • julia g

      I'm so glad I went to that ! (and found parking finally !) I really enjoyed it, and on the big screen too ! Also really like Piper Laurie's acting. I definitely want to check out more at this theater, and hopefully arrive sooner next time. Good to meet you and Phil afterward !

      1 · September 19, 2013

  • Robb

    Absolutely fantastic. I, oddly, hadn't seen 'The Hustler'. I don't know how or why. And I also had never heard the plot points that occur throughout (beyond the main synopsis).

    I can see why this is one of Phil's favorite movies of all time...and it now ranks up there for me too. It has a great real, gritty, uneasy, true-to-life feel throughout the film (much like 'Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?' ... but to a slightly less-overt extent) and it pulls it off amazingly.

    Loved it!

    1 · September 18, 2013

  • Phil C

    I love this film. First time seeing it on the big screen.

    1 · September 17, 2013

5 went

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