Smooth and cool

March 4, 2006 at 10:16 PM (Uncategorized)

It was my first PG movie with my parents the first grownup movie…

and I’m watching it tonight.

“The Sting” with Newman and Redford.

It’s an original, from the beginning frame, when Universal nodded to the Thirties, the decade in which the film was set, by running the period logo.

The descriptive sketches in between the acts

Full of faces I know and love even in the supporting cast.

Ray Walston

Eileen Brennan

Robert Shaw…

Dana Elcar (From McGiver, and even earlier than that the singularly weird soap, “Dark Shadows”)

Charles Durning

The score, so marvelous, and at the same time irritatingly out of step with the period of the film.

The scenes in which Redford first gives us the pretty boy grifter running like hell through various back lots, the type of fleeing that would later become the stock in trade of Tom Cruise. (The Firm, Mission Impossible etc.)

And my first look at Paul Newman…well…

I would later fall in love with the Butch/Sundance movie that preceeded this, that I was too young to see in theaters…

and so I had to see “The Verdict,” that reminded me unpleasantly of my father,but was one of Newman’s best acting jobs, and something called “The Color of Money,” in which Tom Cruise believed he would use the vehicle to *upstage* Newman. [No effing way]

And still later,

Paul Newman’s from *Shaker Heights!!!???* WTF!!!!

and the real star of ‘The Sting’…the twisty, secretive plot/dialogue that really makes you *think*

What con are they pulling and why?

What’s the first stage, why do they need to set it up so gradually…and you’re sitting in the dark at the second run theater a thirteen year old kid, trying to puzzle and figure and think it through…

and as you’re puzzling, you realize two things.

What the small-timers are trying to pull off involves great risk…
and concurrently, they’re loving every second, every artful little touch that makes the bad guy buy their ruse…

The sets are wonderfully detailed, the costumes are great, even when they’re awful (That suit that Redford/Hooker blows his lucky strike on in the first part of the film is so bad, it’s endearing that the poor slob thinks he looks good in it.)

Go rent ‘The Sting,’ for a crash course in cool.

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