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Directed by Norman Jewison
USA 1965


  Norman Jewison, perhaps the best of the more unrecognized directors, replaces Sam Peckinpah, supposedly because Peckinpah tried to sneak in a nude scene with Sharon Tate into a US cut that was only proposed for the European edition. Fired Peckinpah disappears with Tate and the project stalls. Destined for greatness we have Ring Lardner and Terry Southern's script, taken from Richard Jessup's novel dealing with 2 poker-icons, the aged master and the fresh up-and-commer, meeting for THE big game in '30s New Orleans. A great assembled cast could have easily extended the film to twice its length. As it turns out with the game itself expertly takes up much of the latter half of the film. With McQueen and Edward G. Robinson as the combatants, Karl Malden as go-between and Tuesday Weld and Ann-Margaret as the female distractions - it is a classic. Jewison captures the poker community and southern mood as well as The Hustler did with pool - only with its own distinction and atmosphere. A fabulous film with intense and suspenseful moments, great editing and marvelous building pace.  out of   

Gary W. Tooze


Theatrical Release: October 15th, 1965

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DVD Review: Warner Home Video - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC

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Distribution Warner Home Video - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC
Runtime 1:42:32 
Video 1.85:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 7.0 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.


Audio English (Dolby Digital 1.0), DUB: French (Dolby Digital 1.0)  
Subtitles English, French, Spanish, None

Release Information:
Studio: Warner Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1

Edition Details:

• Commentary by: director Norman Jewison
• Scene-specific commentary by Phil Gordon and Dave Foley, the hosts of Celebrity Poker Showdown
• Featurette: Cincinnati Plays According to Hoyle
• Theatrical trailer

DVD Release Date: May 31st, 2005

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Chapters: 26




Warner gives us a superlative DVD very worthy of the film. Strong image with muted colors and true skin tones. Sharp, anamorphic and progressive transfer in the 1.85:1 widescreen ratio. Dirty in spots - which was probably Jewison's intent for a fitting atmosphere.

Audio is original, clear and consistent - there is a French DUB option. Subtitles are shade on the small side higher up on the screen than we usually see but accurate to the dialogue.

Supplements include a feature-length commentary by Jewison that is extremely informative with minor gaps. Also included are a scene specific commentary with two 'poker aficionados', Phil Gordon and Dave Foley, who discuss the changes in the game of poker while viewing some of the significant hands played in the film. A featurette is included with some card tricks spliced in with scenes of Joan Blondell from the film.

Overall a great DVD package. Strongly recommended!


Gary W. Tooze


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DVD Box Cover


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Distribution Warner Home Video - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC


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Gary Tooze

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