The Hustler: A Moody Must See Masterpiece of Cinema

Posted by Michael Pinto on Sep 25, 2009 in Cinema

The Hustler: Title Screen

Paul NewmanOn this day in 1961 the classic film The Hustler opened to both critical and popular success. Frankly before this film Paul Newman had an amazing body of work behind him, but this was the film that made him a star for years to come. The reason is that in this film Newman fine tunes his anti-establishment personality on the screen which would resinate with audiences in the 60s and 70s with films like Cool Hand Luke and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. This trait allowed his career to continue after the 50s while many other actors from that decade fell out of style. Sadly as of tomorrow (September 26th) Paul Newman passed away exactly a year ago — but this film is a treasure worth revisiting for every fanboy of the cinema. Read more…

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Cat on a Hot Tin Roof: Could This Film Be Made Today?

Posted by Michael Pinto on Sep 18, 2009 in Cinema

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof: Poster from 1958

On this day in 1958 the then controversial film Cat on a Hot Tin Roof opened up, and while we live in a much more liberal society than that of 51 years ago I wonder if this film (or something on the level of this film) would get made today? The film was based on a play by Tennessee Williams; now when was the last time that Hollywood put major bucks and star power behind a story that didn’t start life as a comic book or television series? Read more…

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Remembering Al Hirschfeld: The King of Caricatures in Action

Posted by Michael Pinto on Jun 21, 2009 in Comic Books

This amazing rare video shows illustrator Al Hirschfeld in action drawing a caricature of Paul Newman. Hirschfeld was born on this day in 1903 and lived to be 99 years old (he passed away in 2003). His legacy of drawing Broadway stars was so strong that they named a theater after him, and he honored his only daughter Nina by sneaking her name into each illustration (often doing it several times). What’s amazing to me about this video is that it was shot when Hirschfeld was 99 years old, yet the detail and quality of his draftsmanship looked as good as ever. Read more…

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They Called Him “Fast Eddie”

Posted by Michael Pinto on Sep 27, 2008 in Cinema

Paul Newman

My favorite Paul Newman film is The Hustler from 1961, his acting in that role still brings that film to life with a raw power that you don’t see often today (of course a good screen play and the right director help too). Of course many fanboys and fangurls know Newman for so many of the other films that he brought to life — every role from a prisoner in Cool Hand Luke (1967) to a cowboy in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969). Paul Leonard Newman we salute you:

Paul Newman: A First-Class Actor, A Class Act

“Paul Newman, who died yesterday at 83 of cancer, was a beautiful man who never seemed to notice his own beauty. He was at his worst when the camera did.

But far more often, he was at his best when he was too busy thinking to care about the looks he’d been given. He stood for an American archetype: he was the shrewd guy. Practical, tough, urban. He figured angles, calculated odds, charted courses, deployed distractions, maneuvered brilliantly. He wasn’t violent, he wasn’t a leader, he wasn’t Mr. Cool with the babes, he had limited gifts for comedy and highly-articulate, dialogue-driven set pieces. But nobody played shrewd better than Paul Newman. He became great playing shrewd.

You could see it in his eyes, and he probably didn’t care much whether they were blue or not. You’d see them narrow as he lapsed into concentration, then come alive again as they read cues, divined patterns, perceived dynamics, sniffed weaknesses. He figured it out with a gusto he sold to audiences brilliantly and you — with him — enjoyed his triumphant cerebration.”

Below: The famous scene from The Hustler between Eddie Falson (Paul Newman) and Minnesota Fats (Jackie Gleason):

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