The journal of a Kentucky culture vulture
The impetus for showing The Hustler now is, of course, showing the late Paul Newman in his prime.
In 1961, Jackie Gleason as Minnesota Fats was probably as big an attraction, but the movie was the story of Newman’s “Fast Eddie” Felson, a pool hustler who loses big in the beginning and struggles to get back at great personal expense. It shows at 1:30 p.m. and 7:15 p.m. Wednesday as part of the Kentucky Theatre’s Summer Classics Series. Admission is $4.
The story actually visits the Kentucky Derby as the setting for a key match for Eddie, though Louisville is not listed as a filming location. Most of the action takes place in New York City.
The Hustler is considered by many to be an American classic and Fast Eddie became an iconic American film character, though it took 25 years for Newman to win an Oscar for the part. He did that when he reprised the role in The Color of Money (1986), a sequel that finds aging Eddie trying to nurture a talented-but-cocky young Hustler played by Tom Cruise. The Martin Scorsese film featured Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio as Cruise’s girfriend and a soundtrack highlight by some solid Eric Clapton tunes.
But the original remains the classic.
About Rich Copley & Copious Notes
Raised by opera-loving parents in a rock ’n’ roll world, Rich Copley has parlayed his broad interests into his career writing about arts and entertainment. Since 1998, he has covered performing arts, film and faith-based popular culture for the Lexington Herald-Leader, the daily newspaper in Lexington, Ky. MORE | E-mail Rich