THE HUSTLER (1961) B/W widescreen 134m dir: Robert Rossen
w/Paul Newman, Piper Laurie, Jackie Gleason, George C. Scott, Myron McCormick, Murray Hamilton, Michael Constantine, Stefan Gierasch, Jake LaMotta, Gordon B. Clarke
Riveting melodrama about "Fast" Eddie Felson, a hot-headed pool shark who has the talent but ultimately may lack the character to be a winner.
From The Movie Guide: "This dark stunner, based on Walter Tevis's novel, boasts Paul Newman in the role that made him an overnight superstar. The treatment feels like a cross between Hemingway and Odets and there are some affectations with dialogue. But Rossen knows how to frame his story and give his actors room to breathe, eliciting terrific performances from everyone....
"With the help of Gene Shuftan's Oscar-winning black-and-white cinematography, producer-writer-director Robert Rossen offers a grim world where the only bright spot is the top of the pool table, yet his characters maintain a shabby nobility and grace. Gleason is brilliantly detached, witty, and charming as Fats; sexy, waifish Laurie offers some of the best work of her career; Scott is evil incarnate; and Newman is simply unforgettable in his Oscar-nominated role (he would have to play Fast Eddie again 25 years later in the excellent sequel, THE COLOR OF MONEY, to actually win his first Academy Award). The great pool player Willie Moscone coached Gleason and Newman in their shots. Not to be missed."
Besides Shuftan's Cinematography Oscar, THE HUSTLER also won for Best Art Direction (Harry Horner, Gene Callahan). It was also nominated for Best Picture, Director, Actor (Newman), Actress (Laurie), Supporting Actor (both Gleason and Scott), and Adapted Screenplay (Sidney Carroll, Rossen).