Search DVDBeaver

S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

 

(aka 'Robert Rossen's The Hustler')

 

directed by Robert Rossen
USA 1961

 

Paul Newman heads a superb cast featuring Jackie Gleason, George C. Scott and Piper Laurie in the riveting film that received an Academy Award nomination as Best Picture of 1961 and brought all four of its Oscar nominations. Newman (Best Actor nominee) is electrifying as Fast Eddie Felson, an arrogant, amoral hustler who haunts backstreet pool rooms fleecing anyone who'll pick up a cue. Determined to be acclaimed as the best, Eddie seeks out the legendary Minnesota Fats (Gleason, Supporting Actor nominee), who's backed by Bert Gordon (Scott, Supporting Actor nominee), a predatory gambler. Eddie can beat the champ, but virtually defeats himself with his low self-image. The love of a lonely woman (Laurie, Best Actress nominee) could turn Eddie's life around, but he won't rest until he beats Minnesota Fats, no matter what price he must pay. Voted one of the year's ten best by "The New York Times" and "Time," and distinguished by 2 Academy Awards- Cinematography, Art Direction-Set Decoration (B&W), The Hustler is a dazzling cinematic triumph.

***

The game of pool has a cult-like aura all its own. For the participants it borders on "religious". The color of the felt, the seedy venues its clandestinely played, the purity and simplicity of spherical artistry that surrounds it. Only a black and white drama with brooding film-noir overtones could capture its essence completely... and none has achieved this goal before or since like Robert Rossen's 1961 masterpiece "The Hustler".


"This is Ames mister"
Charlie: "It's quiet."
Eddie: "Yeah, like a church. Church of the Good Hustler."
 

Eddie Felson (Paul Newman) is a pool hustler. The best. His confidence and bravado are enough to convince us. His play proves it. With his partner Charlie Burns (Myron McCormick) they travel across the country "conning" other pool aficionados out of as much money as they can. This is their art. Charlie is content but Eddie strives for more. He wants recognition of his talent and challenges the legendary "Minnesota Fats" (played totally unselfishly by Jackie Gleason). Eddie proves the wide disparity between skill and success by losing through attrition and drink.
 

Bert: "Stick with this kid... he's a loser"


Fats: "Do you like to gamble, Eddie? Gamble money on pool games?"


After his demise he acquaints himself with an obvious soul mate, Sarah Packard (Piper Laurie). A girl with troubles who is drawn into the wake of his eventual ascension. Sarah and Eddie are good for each other and the background jazz lilting away foretells of love and loneliness, but visually we see a spark... if only a dying ember.  Eddie is an honest hero escalating his passion of colliding phenolic balls into holes, but his striving for this goal leaves him bypassing what his true love may have been. Eddie's battle appeared not with "Minnesota Fats" and the surrounding nefarious minions, but rather with himself and perhaps what he his value system deems "important".

The film so adeptly encapsulates all the attributes and foibles, revelry and seediness of the environment that has formulated around a game of rolling ivory on slate. Fascinating, heartfelt and strong statements on the price of winning and losing embedded in the script with an exacting touch of melodrama. The fitting black and white cinematography only adds to its mystique and there has never been a more perfect symbiotic element for a film.

Gary Tooze

Posters

 

Theatrical Release: September 25th, 1961

Reviews         More Reviews         DVD Reviews

Comparison: 

20th Century Fox (2-disc Collector's Edition) - Region 1- NTSC vs. 20th Century Fox (Special Edition) - Region 1- NTSC vs. 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment (Special Edition) - Region 2, 4 - PAL vs. Fox (50th Anniversary) - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 

1) 20th Century Fox (2-disc Collector's Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) 20th Century Fox (Special Edition) - Region 1- NTSC SECOND

3) 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment (Special Edition) - Region 2,4 - PAL THIRD

4) 20th Century Fox (50th Anniversary) - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

DVD Box Cover

Distribution

20th Century Fox (2-disc Collector's Edition) - Spine #30

Region 1- NTSC

20th Century Fox (Special Edition)

Region 1- NTSC

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment (Special Edition)

Region 2,4 - PAL

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment (50th Anniversary)

Region FREE - Blu-ray

Runtime 2:14:36 2:14:32 2:09:12 (4% PAL speedup) 2:14:44.451

Video

2.35:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 7.58 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

2.35:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.88 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

2.35:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.84 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 44,217,708,644 bytes

Feature: 27,282,751,488 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 18.99 Mbps

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

Bitrate :

NTSC - CE

Bitrate :

NTSC - SE

Bitrate:

PAL

Bitrate:

Blu-ray

Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), DUB: French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono) English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), DUB: French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono) English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), DUB: French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), Italian (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono) DTS-HD Master Audio English 2872 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2872 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS Audio French 768 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit
DTS Audio German 768 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit
Dolby Digital Audio Portuguese 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio English 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps
Commentary: Dolby Digital Audio English 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps
Subtitles English, Spanish, None English, Spanish, None English, Dutch, French, Italian, None English (SDH), Chinese, Chinese, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish, Thai, Turkish, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Fox (NTSC - CE)

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.35:1

Edition Details:
• Commentary lead by Stuart Galbraith with Paul Newman and others

• Trick Shot analysis

Disc 2
Featurette Life in the Fast Lane: Eddie Felson and the Search For Greatness (11:50)

Featurette - The Hustler The Inside Story
Featurette - Milestones in Cinema History: The Hustler (28:03)

Featurette - Swimming With Sharks - The Art of The Hustle (9:41)

How To Make The Shot
• Featurette - Paul Newman: Hollywood's Cool Hand (43:31)

The Films of Paul Newman
Behind The Scene Stills Gallery
Theatrical Trailers

DVD Release Date: June 12th, 2007
Double Standard Keep case inside cardboard box

Chapters 32

Release Information:
Studio: Fox (NTSC)

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.35:1

Edition Details:
• Commentary lead by Stuart Galbraith with Paul Newman and others
Featurette The Hustler The Inside Story
How To Make The Shot
5 Seamlessly Branched Sequences Of Trick Shot Analysis
Behind The Scene Stills Gallery
Theatrical Trailers

DVD Release Date: June 4th, 2002
Keep case

Chapters 24

Release Information:
Studio: Fox - Europe
 

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.35:1

Edition Details:
• Commentary lead by Stuart Galbraith with Paul Newman and others
Featurette The Hustler The Inside Story
How To Make The Shot
5 Seamlessly Branched Sequences Of Trick Shot Analysis
Behind The Scene Stills Gallery
Theatrical Trailers
 

DVD Release Date: August 19th, 2002
Transparent Keep Case

Chapters 24

Release Information:
Studio: Fox

 

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 44,217,708,644 bytes

Feature: 27,282,751,488 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 18.99 Mbps

 

Edition Details:
Milestones in Cinema History: The Hustler (28:05)
Audio commentary by Paul Newman, Carol Rossen, Dede Allen, Stefan Gierasch, Ulu Grosbard, Richard Schickel and Jeff Young
Paul Newman at Fox (27:11 in 1080P)
Jackie Gleason: The Big Man (12:04)
The Real Hustler: Walter Tevis (18:55 in 1080P)
Life in the Fast Lane: Fast Eddie Felson and the Search for Greatness (11:50)
Swimming with Sharks: The Art of the Hustle (9:38)
The Hustler: The Inside Story (24:33)
Paul Newman: Hollywood’s Cool Hand (43:44 in 480i)
Trick Shot Analysis by Mike Massey (13:51)
How to Make the Shot with Mike Massey, featuring five scenes (3:51)
US and Spanish theatrical trailers (3:21)

26-page digibook with photos and essays

Blu-ray Release Date: May 17th, 2011
Digibook Blu-ray case

Chapters 32

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Fox - Region FREE - Blu-ray - May 11':  Quick perusal of Fox's new Blu-ray of the iconic The Hustler - and things look quite good - if imperfect. Firstly this is a 'region free' release and I expect it will be the exact same transfer as sold in the UK (and elsewhere) although without the Digi-book packaging. The value of comparison shows that the DVDs now look to, possibly, have a touch of edge enhancement. There is some softness in the 1080P image but I can't help but think this is more a function of the source. I haven't pulled out the magnifying glass to search for any major flaws and I was expecting a bit more grain - but overall it shows some depth and looks impressive in-motion. If we have more to report - we will do so here - very soon.

What is undeniably brilliant is the audio which is such a huge part of The Hustler's ambiance. The DTS-HD Master 5.1 at 2872 kbps keep the separation spare but the even undertones of the jazzy/bluesy score is pristine. I could listen to the dulcet Louisville brass and Kenyon Hopkins's original score all night. It has never sounded better in my opinion. It is clean, ripe, melancholy and subtle - making me crave a cigar and a cheap scotch. There are plenty of subtitle options on the region free Blu-ray disc.

Extras duplicate the 2007 2-disc CE (including the same commentary) but add even more with some homage to Newman, Gleason and writer Tevis via three separate pieces totaling over an hour - the latter is audio only. Plus all the video supplements from previous (about 1.5 hour's worth) remaining in 480i. This is housed in a handsome 26-page digi-book with photos and essays. It is quite impressive.   

The whole package 'essential' in my eyes. The film is unforgettable and I'll wager I recall more of the lines than I do for Casablanca. This is Newman's perfect 'anti-hero' role and the noir elements can extend even beyond that. There will never be another film like The Hustler and I wouldn't pass up any chance to own it on the best possible transfer for repeated play on my home theater.

***

ADDITION: 2-disc Collector's Edition - June 07': Firstly, almost impossible to believe but, the encode of the new Collector's Edition was not flagged for progressive playback. It is interlaced. Regardless of your system this error is part of the DVD and projection users may notice the flaw more prevalently than tube viewers. I suggest that Fox enact a replacement program immediately.

Other than that the transferred image looks almost exactly the same as the previous Special Editions - perhaps slightly darker.

In the extras it has the same commentary (Stuart Galbraith with Paul Newman and others - discussed below and still not recognized on the box as being Galbraith!), trick shot analysis, featurette: The Hustler The Inside Story, How To Make The Shot, Behind The Scenes Stills Gallery and the Theatrical Trailer. What is new is a 12 minute featurette entitled Life in the Fast Lane: Eddie Felson and the Search For Greatness with Newman, and others, discussing the role and character of Eddie Felson. Another featurette called Milestones in Cinema History: The Hustler - it is quite good and runs almost 30 minutes. We have two more - Swimming With Sharks - The Art of The Hustle which is a 10 minute ditty on how to hustle - kinda cool and finally at about 45 minutes a documentary Paul Newman: Hollywood's Cool Hand with plenty of testimonials about the man, his various roles and his legendary contribution to Hollywood lore.

Although I did like the supplements and the sexy animated menus I think the interlaced faux-pas is too heavy to ignore on this new CE. It is a rare mistake by Fox - one I don't recall them ever making before. Trouble is that the price is quite tempting at about $15. Let's see if Fox does anything about the interlacing issue.

***

The SE NTSC vs the SE PAL:

Image differences are minute, but:

- The NTSC is tight to the frame edges but the PAL has a slim black border limiting the horizontal resolution to some minor degree.

- The PAL edition is minutely brighter.

- Artifacts on the PAL edition are slightly more apparent (NTSC is negligibly smoother).

- The NTSC shows more information in the frame (notably the left edge).

For this, and taking into account the PAL speedup, slightly noticeable on actor's voices, we lean towards the NTSC. Supplements are the same but other differences include:

- white subs on the PAL, yellow (but more accurate) on the NTSC.

- more subtitle and audio options on the PAL but the NTSC has English in original mono and two channel stereo.

- slight differences in menu naming and structure

- the NTSC case is standard black amaray and the PAL is transparent with some art pool images visible on the inside of the case.

The commentary (same on both editions) is entertaining but the dialogue relates very little to what is going on in the adjacent scenes. Otherwise it is filled with good information initiated by Stuart Galbraith's questions. They range from production details to Rossen's capitulation to the House on Un-American activities. Newman's tidbits usually relate past anecdotes of learning the game from Willie Mosconi or scouting out 'Ames' incognito prior to shooting. Carol Rossen and Dede Allen were valuable to hear as well. There is a 23 minute featurette expanding further in the 'pool' aspect of the film - abilities pof the actors, Willie Mosconi etc. There is a still gallery, trailers and 5 X 30 second or so examples on how to make some trick shots. There is also a seamlessly branched commentary available with picture-in-picture during certain sequences of the film.

The movie needs no more accolades from me but its narrative seems to resonate like the same jazz score used in the score. This runs at times like an arthouse film.

It appears as though the NTSC is out of print in some locations and its the one I recommend although purchasing the cheapest edition unless you are adamant about the minor variance in the image (or the subs). What I look forward to is an HD edition of this film which I hope will not be too far away. 

Gary W. Tooze

 



DVD Menus - 20th Century Fox (2-disc Collector's Edition) - Region 1- NTSC

 

 

Disc 2 - 20th Century Fox (2-disc Collector's Edition) - Region 1- NTSC

 


(20th Century Fox (Special Edition) - Region 1- NTSC LEFT vs. 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment (Special Edition) - Region 2,4 - PAL RIGHT)

 

 

20th Century Fox (50th Anniversary) - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 


CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Screen Captures

 

NOTE: The 2-disc Collector's Edition is interlaced!

 

 

1) 20th Century Fox (2-disc Collector's Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) 20th Century Fox (Special Edition) - Region 1- NTSC SECOND

3) 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment (Special Edition) - Region 2,4 - PAL THIRD

4) 20th Century Fox (50th Anniversary) - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM


Subtitle Sample: Not exact frame

 

 


 

1) 20th Century Fox (2-disc Collector's Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) 20th Century Fox (Special Edition) - Region 1- NTSC SECOND

3) 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment (Special Edition) - Region 2,4 - PAL THIRD

4) 20th Century Fox (50th Anniversary) - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


 

1) 20th Century Fox (2-disc Collector's Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) 20th Century Fox (Special Edition) - Region 1- NTSC SECOND

3) 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment (Special Edition) - Region 2,4 - PAL THIRD

4) 20th Century Fox (50th Anniversary) - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


 

1) 20th Century Fox (2-disc Collector's Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) 20th Century Fox (Special Edition) - Region 1- NTSC SECOND

3) 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment (Special Edition) - Region 2,4 - PAL THIRD

4) 20th Century Fox (50th Anniversary) - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


 

1) 20th Century Fox (2-disc Collector's Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) 20th Century Fox (Special Edition) - Region 1- NTSC SECOND

3) 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment (Special Edition) - Region 2,4 - PAL THIRD

4) 20th Century Fox (50th Anniversary) - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


 

1) 20th Century Fox (2-disc Collector's Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) 20th Century Fox (Special Edition) - Region 1- NTSC SECOND

3) 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment (Special Edition) - Region 2,4 - PAL THIRD

4) 20th Century Fox (50th Anniversary) - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

More Blu-ray Captures

 

Report Card:

 

Image:

Blu-ray

Sound:

Blu-ray

Extras: Blu-ray

 
DVD Box Cover

Distribution

20th Century Fox (2-disc Collector's Edition) - Spine #30

Region 1- NTSC

20th Century Fox (Special Edition)

Region 1- NTSC

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment (Special Edition)

Region 2,4 - PAL

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment (50th Anniversary)

Region FREE - Blu-ray


 


Hit Counter

 

DONATIONS Keep DVDBeaver alive:

CLICK PayPal logo to donate!

Gary Tooze

Thank You