Tag: paul newman

MOVIE REVIEW | Buffalo Bill and the Indians, or Sitting Bull’s History Lesson (1976)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “It has a message, it has things to say, and it never makes any bones about saying them openly and directly.”

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“The difference between a white man and an injun in all situations is that an injun is red. And an injun is red for a very good reason. So we can tell us apart.”

For a long time, westerns always seemed to me like a genre for old men.  Sure, when you watch old sitcoms from the 50s, or even in the original Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, young boys are always portrayed as being obsessed with cowboys.  But in my lifetime, westerns have always been watched by old blokes.  A baseless theory that none the less gets more validity as I get older and like them more and more.  As I increasingly seek westerns out, I generally only ever found further examples of the standard clichés that define the genre in its broadest terms.  But today, I stumbled across a real anti western, Buffalo Bill and the Indians, or Sitting Bull’s History Lesson.

William ‘Buffalo Bill’ Cody (Paul Newman) was once a frontier conquering, buffalo killing, man of the range.  But when this movie picks up, he’s a cheap huckster, leading a cheesy troupe of performers in ‘Buffalo Bill’s Wild West’.  A kind of arena show for late 19th century rubes, notorious names of the day, like Cody and Annie Oakley (Geraldine Chaplin) pimp out their once good names, and resort to performing re-enactments of recent cowboy versus Indian events. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | The Hustler (1961)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “Not only does Newman have the amazing charisma to personify Felson at his cockiest when on top, there’s also a vulnerability to Newman that shines through when we see cracks in Felson’s cocksure facade.”

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“No trouble losing when you got a good excuse. Winning… that can be heavy on your back, too, like a monkey.”

Robert Rosen isn’t a name that jumped out at me as a director whose work I know and love.  When I looked into it, I saw that he only directed 10 movies in his entire career.  But he was definitely a quality over quantity kind of guy, because of those 10, he made one pretty great movie with All the King’s Men, and one undisputed classic, with The Hustler.

‘Fast’ Eddie Felson (Paul Newman) hustles his way across America playing pool.  Along with his partner Chalrie (Myron McCormick), they scam and win decent money from locals before moving on to the next town, but Felson has his eye on a bigger prize.  The legendary Minnesota Fats (Jackie Gleason) hasn’t been beaten in 15 odd years, and Felson walks into Fats’ home ground pool hall hell bent on taking the legend down.  At one point $18,000 up, Felson’s ego gets the best of him, and after 25 hours straight at the table, he loses the lot. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | Sweet Bird of Youth (1962)

Sweet bird
“Well, I may have done better… but God knows I have done worse.”

It’s always easy to look back at bygone eras in art and assume they were somehow different, even better.  It feels like in my lifetime, the biggest movie stars were either action movie meatheads or pretty boy idols.  While the 50s, 60s and 70s were all about  legit actors in serious roles.  But just like the 80s had action stars, like Bruce Willis in Die Hard, who proved the action genre wasn’t brain dead, previous generations had plenty of vapid, vacant movie stars where their pursuit of fame greatly outweighed their desire to be great actors. Like Elvis in pretty much anything.


But one of the actors to perpetuate my belief that things were better back in the day, is Paul Newman.  He had movie star good locks, he had movie star fame, he had movie star success.  But with the years since his heyday, I have the benefit of only the real crackers remaining famous and relevant.  So while I’m sure he made more than a few clunkers, his legacy means he’ll always be remembered for the crackers, like Sweet Bird of Youth. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | The Cincinnati Kid (1965)

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The young, cocky up and comer, going for one big win against the old guard is almost its own genre. Paul Newman did it in 1967 as a pool hall grifter in The Hustler as Fast Eddie Felson. Then backed up again 25 years later, reprising the Felson role for The Color of Money. Matt Damon did it at the poker table with Rounders in 1998. And I’m sure there are dozens I haven’t seen, or just forgotten. It’s a tried and true plot formula that lets you put the charisma filled star of the day in the lead role, then let the seedy, yet enviable cool of the not-quite legit world deliver a seedy, yet enviably cool story. Two years before Newman tore up the felt against Minnesota Fats in The Hustler, Steve McQueen did it poker style, in The Cincinnati Kid.


The titular Kid, McQueen is on a winning streak and can’t be beaten. Whether it’s high stakes cards with the city’s most ruthless gamblers, or a simple coin flip with a young boy in the street, the Cincinnati Kid can’t lose. Which means it’s time for him to go for the big one, local poker king, Edward G Robinson as Lancey Howard. (more…)