Saturday, February 27, 2010

Movie of the Week

This week,

THE STING (1973)

Starring- Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Robert Shaw

The best picture of 1973 was this fun, witty caper film from director George Roy Hill. Newman and Redford re-teamed after the success of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid to star as two con men who look to get revenge by grifting a mob boss played by Robert Shaw. This film is the gold standard to which all other caper films are compared. Before Clooney as Danny Ocean Pitt as Rusty Ryan there was Newman as Gondorf and Redford as Hooker.

Hooker is a small-time con man who goes to work with Gondorf when his partner is unexpectedly killed by the ruthless mobster, Doyle Lonegan. Together, these two set up a big score to get revenge and make enough money to live on for a long time. Hill expertly constructs the movie in several acts that are divided by title cards to keep the audience in on the steps of a big con operation. It is really cool to see how grifters do their business, and how they keep the law from intruding on their work.

Redford is great, as is Shaw, but to me, it is Newman who steals the show. The scene on the train that sets the grift in motion, in particular, is Newman at his best. The supporting cast is very strong as well, with great character actors filling out the group of con men. There are certainly more revolutionary and weighty films that have won Best Picture, but very few are more fun to watch than The Sting.

Things to watch for-

Edith Head's great costumes
The Ragtime score by Marvin Hamlisch by way of Scott Joplin
The diner that was also used in Back to the Future
The Norman Rockwell-esque artwork

"Not only are you a cheat, you're a gutless cheat as well."

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