The Color of Money
|The Color of Money|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Martin Scorsese|
|Produced by||Irving Axelrad
Barbara De Fina
|Screenplay by||Richard Price|
|Based on||The Color of Money
by Walter Tevis
Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio
|Music by||Robbie Robertson|
|Editing by||Thelma Schoonmaker|
Silver Screen Partners II
|Distributed by||Buena Vista Distribution|
|Running time||120 minutes|
The Color of Money is a 1986 drama film directed by Martin Scorsese from a screenplay by Richard Price, based on the 1984 novel of the same name by Walter Tevis. The film stars Paul Newman and Tom Cruise, with Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Helen Shaver, and John Turturro. Newman won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance. The film featured an original score by Robbie Robertson.
The film continues the story of pool hustler and stakehorse Edward "Fast Eddie" Felson from Tevis' first novel, The Hustler (1959), with Newman reprising his role from its film adaptation (1961). The film begins at a point more than 20 years after the events of the previous film, with Eddie retired from the pool circuit. Although Tevis did author a screenplay for the film, the filmmakers decided not to use it, instead crafting a new one.
Eddie Felson (Paul Newman) is a former pool shark turned successful liquor salesman. One night he meets Vincent (Tom Cruise) a talented young pool player who hustles small time pool games while working as a clerk at a toy store. Eddie meets with Vincent and Vincent's girlfriend/manager Carmen ((Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio). Eddie, who misses the excitement of pool hustling, convinces the pair to come on the road with him so that he can teach Vincent how to become a more successful pool hustler.
With Eddie providing the money for their bets, Vincent plays a series of pool halls where Eddie tries to teach him that "pool excellence is not about excellent pool". Although Carmen is a quick study, Vincent chafes at Eddie's scams, which routinely require him to play well below his abilities. Eventually, Eddie picks up a cue himself, and does well at several games before being taken in by a pool shark Otis (Forest Whitaker). Humiliated, Eddie leaves Vincent and Carmen with enough money to make it to the championships in Atlantic City and returns home.
Comforted by his girlfriend Janelle (Helen Shaver), Eddie gets new glasses and begins working out and practicing. He eventually earns a spot in the championships and finds himself facing off against a more world wise Vincent. Eddie beats Vincent, but later, when he is celebrating with Janelle, Vincent arrives and informs Eddie that he intentionally lost in order to collect on a bet. He gives Eddie 8,000 dollars as his "cut" but Eddie returns the money, saying that he wants to beat Vincent legitimately. The two set up a private match where Eddie informs Vincent that if he doesn't beat him now, he will in the future because "I'm back!"
- Paul Newman as Fast Eddie Felson
- Tom Cruise as Vincent Lauria
- Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio as Carmen
- Helen Shaver as Janelle
- John Turturro as Julian
- Bill Cobbs as Orvis
Many top American pool players of the 1980s had speaking roles, including Steve Mizerak, Grady Mathews, and Keith McCready, and there were many cameo appearances, including Jimmy Mataya, Mark Jarvis, Howard Vickery and Louie Roberts. Mike Sigel was technical director, and he and Ewa Mataya Laurance served as technical consultants and shot-performers on the film. A young Forest Whitaker makes an extended appearance as a pool hustler as well.
Director Scorsese has a cameo walking his dog, and another playing pool. Another notable cameo is that of Iggy Pop, who plays one of the many contenders on the road.
Scorsese has cited the influence of techniques and lighting in the 1947 Powell-Pressburger classic Black Narcissus in making the film. In particular he states that the extreme close ups of Tom Cruise around the pool table were inspired by those of the nuns in that film. Newman said that the best advice he was given by Scorsese was to "try not to be funny". Cruise performed most of his own shots. An exception was a jump shot over two balls to sink another. Scorsese believed Cruise could learn the shot, but that it would take too long, so the shot was performed for him by Mike Sigel. Standing in for the extremely valuable "Balabushka" cue in the movie was actually a Joss J-18 (which later became the Joss N-07), made to resemble a classic Balabushka.
Absent from the film is the character Minnesota Fats, played by Jackie Gleason in The Hustler. Newman later said that he had wanted the character to appear, but that none of the attempts to include him fit well into the story that was being written. According to Scorsese, Gleason apparently agreed with Newman's opinion that Minnesota Fats was not essential to the film's story. Scorsese said that Gleason was presented a draft of the script that had Fats worked into the narrative, but that upon reading it, Gleason declined to reprise the role because he felt that the character seemed to have been added as "an afterthought".
Reflecting the general theme of the film, director Martin Scorsese delivers an opening uncredited voiceover, describing the game of nine-ball, over a scene of cigarette smoke and a piece of cue chalk:
Nine-Ball is rotation pool, the balls are pocketed in numbered order. The only ball that means anything, that wins it, is the 9. Now, the player can shoot eight trick shots in a row, blow the 9, and lose. On the other hand, the player can get the 9 in on the break, if the balls spread right, and win. Which is to say, that luck plays a part in nine-ball. But for some players, luck itself is an art.
- "Who Owns This Place?" – Don Henley
- "It's In The Way That You Use It" – Eric Clapton, Robbie Robertson
- "Let Yourself In For It" – Robert Palmer
- "Don't Tell Me Nothin'" – Willie Dixon
- "Two Brothers And A Stranger" – Mark Knopfler
- "Standing On The Edge Of Love" – B.B. King
- "Modern Blues" – Robbie Robertson
- "Werewolves Of London" – Warren Zevon
- "My Baby's In Love With Another Guy" – Robert Palmer
- "The Main Title" – Robbie Robertson
The Color of Money held its world premiere at the Ziegfeld Theater in New York City, NY on October 8, 1986. The film was commercially released in the United States on October 17, 1986. This release was limited to only select theaters throughout the country, with the film opening in more theaters during the next four weeks of its initial release. After its run, the film grossed $52,293,982 domestically.
Upon its release, the film received mixed to positive critical response with many critics noting that the film was an inferior followup to The Hustler. Based on 37 reviews collected by Rotten Tomatoes, the film received a 92% approval rating from critics, with an average score of 7.3/10. Siskel and Ebert gave the film "two thumbs down", Scorsese's only film to receive such a review from the team.
The film positively influenced the popularity of pool.
Ben Stiller, then a film student at NYU and a cast-member of the Broadway production of The House of Blue Leaves, created a student film, The Hustler of Money, that parodied the movie. It featured Stiller's Broadway co-stars John Mahoney, Danny Aiello and Julie Hagerty, with appearances by his parents. The film appeared on an episode of SNL.
Paul Newman won Academy Award for Best Actor as well as National Board of Review Award for Best Actor, and received Golden Globe nomination for his role. 25 years prior to this, Newman was also nominated for Academy Award for Best Actor and Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Drama for the same role, but won only BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role. Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio was nominated for Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress and Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture. The film was nominated for Academy Award for Best Art Direction (Boris Leven and Karen O'Hara) and Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.
The Color of Money was first released onto DVD on June 4, 2002. The film was later released on Blu-ray on June 5, 2012. Neither of the releases contain any special features pertaining to the film itself.
- LoBrutto, Vincent (November 30, 2007). Martin Scorsese: A Biography. Westport, Connecticut: Praeger Publishers. ISBN 978-0-275-98705-3.
- Forsberg, Myra (October 19, 1986). "'The Color of Money': Three Men and a Sequel". The New York Times.
- "Black Narcissus (The Criterion Collection) (2001) DVD commentary". Criterion. Retrieved 27 October 2013.
- Commercial information about the Joss N7 model pool cue
- Levy, Shawn (May 5, 2009). Paul Newman: A Life. New York: Harmony Books. ISBN 978-0-307-35375-7.
- "Biography". Robbie Robertson. 2011-04-05. Retrieved 2012-08-02.
- "The Color of Money (1986)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved September 13, 2012.
- "The Color of Money". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved September 13, 2012.
- Ebert and Roeper at the movies
- "Most Significant Event: The Color of Money (1986)", Billiards Digest, October 2003, page 72.
- "The 59th Academy Awards (1987) Nominees and Winners". oscars.org. Retrieved 2011-07-31.
- "'The Color of Money' Announced for Blu-ray". Retrieved 2012-06-11.
- Reuben, Michael (June 6, 2012). "The Color of Money Blu-ray Review: We've Been Hustled". Blu-ray.com. Retrieved September 14, 2012.
- Available editions of the book include: ISBN 0-446-32353-5 (1984, first edition), ISBN 0-446-34419-2 (1986, movie tie-in edition), ISBN 0-349-10150-7 (1990), ISBN 1-56849-689-3 (1997), and ISBN 1-56025-485-8 (2003).
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