Robert Rossen was the son of poor Jewish immigrants and worked briefly as a professional boxer before drifting into the New York theatre and thence to Hollywood to write social-conscience pictures for Warner Brothers. He was an established director in his All the King's Men won an Oscar when he was called before the House Un-American Activities Committee to answer for his communist affiliations he'd left the party in , and was briefly blacklisted before agreeing to name fellow communists. Thereafter, he always worked outside Hollywood and this experience coloured his subsequent work in which the troubled heroes were consumed by doubt, self-hatred, a fear of cowardice and a need to justify themselves. His penultimate movie, The Hustler , is his greatest; a stylised fable about loyalty and betrayal, character and self-respect, winning and losing, set in a subterranean world where men drink, play cards and shoot pool in smoke-filled rooms.
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It tells the story of small-time pool hustler "Fast Eddie" Felson and his desire to break into the "major league" of professional hustling and high-stakes wagering by high-rollers that follows it. He throws his raw talent and ambition up against the best player in the country, seeking to best the legendary pool player " Minnesota Fats ". After initially losing to Fats and getting involved with unscrupulous manager Bert Gordon, Eddie returns to try again, but only after paying a terrible personal price. Scott as Bert. The Hustler was a major critical and popular success, gaining a reputation as a modern classic.
With "no bar, no pinball machines, no bowling," and even some posted prohibitions against gambling, New York's Ames Billiards a real location doesn't immediately seem like the sort of place to sell a soul. Its high ceilings and air of hushed concentration make it obvious why, in The Hustler , Paul Newman compares Ames to a church when he first walks in. Ames takes on a more sinister cast by the end of Robert Rossen's film, in which Newman enters as an innocent con man and leaves with a taste of what the world can do. Having traveled to New York with the dream of taking on pool legend Minnesota Fats Jackie Gleason , he learns that talent alone will only get him so far.
Sign in. What other roles has she played? Watch now. A laid back Southern man is sentenced to two years in a rural prison, but refuses to conform. A lawyer sees the chance to salvage his career and self-respect by taking a medical malpractice case to trial rather than settling.