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Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Color of Money (1986) - Directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Paul Newman and Tom Cruise

The Hustler was a film released in 1961, starring Paul Newman in the role of the pool hustler Edward "Fast Eddie" Felson. Then in 1984, a novel was published with the title of 'The Color of Money', based on the same character, and with the story of the continuation of the life of Felson. After a period of 20 years, he is back into the pool world; and like many such sequels, the only continuation of the story is in terms of the same character, without needing to watch the previous movie. The novel was written by author Walter Tevis; and he was hired to write a screenplay for a movie based on the novel; and then the screenplay was not used at all. Instead the movie finally used a new screenplay (written by Richard Price); and if you have seen the movie 'The Baltimore Bullet', you will find many sub-plots to be similar (The Baltimore Bullet was a pool comedy released in 1980). The Color of Money is an interesting title, and seems very logical if you consider that a dollar note is based on a green background, and so is the color of the cloth used to cover a pool table. The movie was directed by Martin Scorsese and also starred, besides Paul Newman, Tom Cruise, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Helen Shaver and John Turturro.



Scorsese also appears in 2 cameo instances in the movie, once while walking a dog, and playing pool in the other instance. The movie also included many real life top pool players from the 1980's with them having small roles. The movie is not only about pool, since pool is only the instrument, it is actually about human behavior and what drives people, and if you were to compare the pool shots with the earlier, "The Hustler", you would find the quality of pool shots to be much better in the previous movie.
Newman is no longer in the game, but at heart, remains connected to the game. He is now a liquor salesman; but then comes across a brash cocky young kid, Vincent (Tom Cruise), and decides to take him on the circuit, teaching him how to hustle money, which makes for interesting viewing, since you have 2 people with egos against each other and having to work with each other. And you have seen what happens after this in numerous movies, where the protege moves away the mentor (with his own brash confident manner combined with the influence of the girlfriend) and then they have a show-down with the game (you see this in the Rocky movie where Rocky promotes a kid who moves away from him and they have a final street fight); and then he learns that Vincent really did learn the full contours of making money, including when to fold and when to win.

The Color of Money (1986) - Directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Paul Newman and Tom Cruise

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