The Cincinnati Kid

"Extraordinary"

The Cincinnati Kid Review


A fairly obvious attempt to make The Hustler of poker, with Steve McQueen playing the role of Fast Eddie (McQueen and Newman were rival screen heroes at the time). The Cincinnati Kid artistically falls just short of that standard -- the characters are not as fully developed as in The Hustler -- but it's just as much fun, and one of McQueen's best films.

McQueen is the Kid, a young card player who believes he is the best in the country. Edward G. Robinson is the Man, the aging veteran that McQueen must knock off his pedestal. McQueen is cocky, confident, appealing, and fundamentally decent; Robinson is complex and opaque, with one of the greatest poker faces in cinema. The inevitable showdown between the two is a battle of wills and nerve which lasts a night, most of the next day and another night.

Almost half of the movie is taken up by the game itself, and it's the best half -- tense and exciting, with a classic (though very improbable) finish. Away from the card table, the film is only slightly less successful. Rip Torn plays a rich gangster who tries to blackmail the dealer (Malden) into fixing the game for the Kid. Meanwhile, the Kid also has to juggle the attentions of sixties archetypal pinups Ann-Margret and Tuesday Weld. (Predictably, winner takes all and the loser gets nothing.)

Among a cast loaded with talent, McQueen and Robinson are excellent. Joan Blondell is good in a bit part as a has-been player who needles Robinson. The often-underutilized Weld can't do much with her wholesome character, but Torn and Ann-Margret get scenery to chew as the bad influences that try to drag the Kid down. The morality play is routine and the moral is familiar: someone has to fall, and fall hard. Screenwriters Ring Lardner and Terry Southern add snappy dialogue as expected, but the subplots are secondary to the action at the green felt table.

As a bonus, the film ably exploits New Orleans settings, from the opening jazz funeral to the blues band that briefly diverts the Kid as he kills time in the Quarter. (As a finishing piece de resistance to this period piece, Ray Charles sings the theme song.)



The Cincinnati Kid

Facts and Figures

Run time: 102 mins

In Theaters: Friday 15th October 1965

Distributed by: WARNER BROTHERS PICTURES

Production compaines: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), Filmways Pictures, Solar Productions

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 85%
Fresh: 17 Rotten: 3

IMDB: 7.3 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as The Cincinnati Kid, Edward G. Robinson as Lancey Howard, as Melba Nile, as Shooter, as Christian Rudd, as Lady Fingers, as William Jefferson Slade, as Pig, as Yeller, as Hoban, Theo Marcuse as Felix (as Theo Marcuse), Milton Selzer as Sokal, Karl Swenson as Mr. Rudd, Émile Genest as Cajun (as Emile Genest), Ron Soble as Danny, Irene Tedrow as Mrs. Rudd, Midge Ware as Mrs. Slade, Dub Taylor as Dealer

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Hampstead Movie Review

Hampstead Movie Review

Deliberately appealing to older audiences, this undemanding comedy-drama comes with a hint of social relevance...

The Book of Henry Movie Review

The Book of Henry Movie Review

Apparently, this offbeat script had been making the rounds in Hollywood for some 20 years...

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

With this fifth Transformers movie, it seems clear that Michael Bay is still trying to...

Churchill Movie Review

Churchill Movie Review

This drama about the iconic British prime minister tells a darkly personal story set over...

Gifted Movie Review

Gifted Movie Review

This is one of those films that dances right up to the edge of soapy...

Whitney: Can I Be Me Movie Review

Whitney: Can I Be Me Movie Review

Notorious British filmmaker Nick Broomfield teams up with Austrian music documentary producer Rudi Dolezal to...

The Mummy Movie Review

The Mummy Movie Review

To launch their new Dark Universe franchise, Universal has taken an approach that mixes murky...

Advertisement
My Cousin Rachel Movie Review

My Cousin Rachel Movie Review

Daphne du Maurier's 1951 mystery-romance novel has been adapted for theatre, radio, TV and film,...

Wilson Movie Review

Wilson Movie Review

It's never helpful when a comedy becomes a bit too smug about its own quirkiness....

Interlude in Prague Movie Review

Interlude in Prague Movie Review

A fictionalised story from the life of Wolfgang Mozart, this lavishly produced period drama is...

The Hippopotamus Movie Review

The Hippopotamus Movie Review

This British satirical comedy may be a bit of a mess, but since it's based...

Detour Movie Review

Detour Movie Review

This may look like a rather typical American indie thriller, but British filmmaker Christopher Smith...

Wonder Woman Movie Review

Wonder Woman Movie Review

Boldly optimistic, this action-packed adventure breathes fresh life into the DC universe with a welcome...

Baywatch Movie Review

Baywatch Movie Review

Clearly, it's a risky proposition adapting a cheesy vintage TV series for the big screen:...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.