Movie Monday: The Hustler 1961
Two young wanderers meet in a train station. He is running away from his failure, and she is wallowing in her own. He has suitcases, and she has a place for them in her apartment. So together they hide away from the world, with only imaginations for their past. You can call me Sarah, and I will call you Eddie.
One day a man walks through the door and they’re forced to face themselves. Sarah learns Eddie is actually Fast Eddie, a no-good loser of a Hustler who constantly disapoints himself and everyone else in his life. I guess she figures it’s okay, considering her own personal disapointments. So Sarah takes to the bottle for comfort, while Eddie continues to blame it for his own failures.
When Eddie takes a break from shooting pool, he and Sarah fall in love and begin to consider what life would be like if they stop sabotaging anything good that comes along. So the two of them head off on their adventure- a high stakes billiards game in Louisville, where Eddie risks more than just a shot at some fast cash.
This iconic movie features a tremendous cast, with Paul Newman as Fast Eddie, Jackie Gleason as his great opponent, Minnesota Fats, and George C. Scott dons his villainous grin once again as a fast-talking, money grubbing manager. Touted in the early ’60s as an edgy story about love, lust, and gambling, The Hustler really is about more than just vice. Like dynamic character development? You’ll really enjoy watching the transformation of Fast Eddie as he learns more about character, all the while playing it fast and loose. And my oh my, he looks good while doing it.