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The Hustler
Director: Robert Rossen (Dir)
Release Date:   1961
Premiere Information:   New York opening: 25 Sep 1961
Duration (in mins):   133
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Cast:   Paul Newman (Eddie Felson)  
    Jackie Gleason (Minnesota Fats)  
    Piper Laurie (Sarah Packard)  
    George C. Scott (Bert Gordon)  
    Myron McCormick (Charlie Burns)  
    Murray Hamilton (Findlay)  
    Michael Constantine (Big John)  
    Stefan Gierasch (Preacher)  
    Clifford Pellow (Turk)  
    Jake LaMotta (Bartender)  
    Gordon B. Clarke (Cashier)  
    Alexander Rose (Scorekeeper)  
    Carolyn Coates (Waitress)  
    Carl York (Young hustler)  
    Vincent Gardenia (Bartender)  
    Gloria Curtis (Girl with fur coat)  
    Charles Dierkop    
    Donald Crabtree    
    Brendan Fay (Poolroom hoods)  
    Willie Mosconi    
    Don De Leo    
    Tom Ahearne    

Summary: Newly arrived in New York from California is "Fast" Eddie Felson, a brash pool shark who makes his living hustling in billiard parlors around the country. Taking on unwary opponents, he allows them to win until the stakes are high enough; then he makes his killing and leaves town. Eddie has come to New York with his longtime crony and manager, Charlie Burns, to challenge Minnesota Fats, the undisputed champion pool player in the country. For 36 hours the two men battle, and, at first, game after game goes to Eddie. Then, filled with too much liquor and conceit, he eventually falls apart and ends up beaten and broke. Following the bout, he wanders into an all-night coffeeshop and picks up an alcoholic, disillusioned cripple named Sarah Packard. For want of anything better to do, he moves in with her and lives a day-to-day existence by hustling in third-rate pool halls throughout the city. One night he challenges the wrong sucker, another young hustler he meets in a waterfront dive. Although Eddie wins, four hoodlums grab Eddie, throw him into the men's room, and break both his thumbs. Once recovered, Eddie aligns himself with a coldblooded gambler, Bert Gordon, who agrees to arrange bigtime matches in return for 70 percent of the winnings. Accompanied by Sarah, Eddie and Bert travel to Louisville, Kentucky, where Eddie takes on Findlay, a millionaire playboy addicted to billiards. Though the trip ends in victory for Eddie, it ends in tragedy for Sarah. Badgered by the ruthless Bert, who demands complete dominion over his client, Sarah admits defeat and slashes her wrists with a razor. Shattered by the realization that his egotism has destroyed his one chance for happiness, Eddie returns to New York and again challenges Fats. Eddie outshoots, outmaneuvers, and outthinks his opponent until Fats finally concedes defeat. Victorious, Eddie denounces Bert, refuses to give him a cut of the winnings, and walks out of the pool room. 

Production Company: Rossen Enterprises  
Production Text: A Robert Rossen Production
Distribution Company: Twentieth Century--Fox Film Corp.  
Director: Robert Rossen (Dir)
  Charles Maguire (Asst dir)
  Don Kranze (Asst dir)
Producer: Robert Rossen (Prod)
Writer: Sidney Carroll (Scr)
  Robert Rossen (Scr)
Photography: Eugen Shuftan (Dir of photog)
  Saul Midwall (Cam op)
  William Cronjager (Asst cam)
Art Direction: Harry Horner (Prod des)
  Albert Brenner (Assoc art dir)
Film Editor: Dede Allen (Film ed)
  Richard Stone (Asst film ed)
Set Decoration: Gene Callahan (Set dec)
Costumes: Ruth Morley (Cost des)
Music: Kenyon Hopkins (Mus)
  Dan Terry (Louisville mus)
Sound: Jim Shields (Sd)
  Richard Vorisek (Sd)
  Edward Beyer (Sd ed)
  Angelo Ross (Music ed)
Special Effects: Film Opticals (Opt eff)
Make Up: Robert Jiras (Makeup)
  Donoene (Hairstyles)
Production Misc: John Graham (Unit prod mgr)
  Marguerite James (Scr supv)
  Willie Mosconi (Tech adv)
  Muky (Stills)
  David Golden (Ch elec)
  Martin Nallan Jr. (Ch grip)
Country: United States

Source Text: Based on the novel The Hustler by Walter S. Tevis (New York, 1959).
Authors: Walter S. Tevis

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Rossen Enterprises 26/9/1961 dd/mm/yyyy LP20623

Physical Properties: b&w:
  Sd: Westrex
  Widescreen/ratio: CinemaScope

 
Genre: Drama
 
Subjects (Major): Alcoholism
  Billiards and billiard parlors
  Handicapped
  Gamblers
  Louisville (KY)
  Millionaires
  New York City
  Pickups
  Pool sharks
  Suicide

Note: The Hustler was shot in New York City. Rudolph Wanderone, Jr., the professional pool player who was known as New York Fats, changed his name to Minnesota Fats after the character in this film. Fats appeared in the 1972 film The Player (see below). 

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