Saturday, 26 June 2010

(500) Films of Empire - Day 284

127 - The Sting - 3 stars
When it comes to director/actor partnerships the usual names are mentioned: Scorsese/DeNiro, Burton/Depp, Ford/Wayne, Scorsese/DiCaprio, Soderbergh/Clooney, Capra/Stewart and Raimi/Campbell... but no one ever seems to talk about George Roy Hill and Paul Newman. Together they made three films; Slap Shot, Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid and The Sting.
They were successful because Hill allowed Newman to do what he does best which is charm the audience. However unlike The Towering Inferno, Newman is happy to play second fiddle here to Robert Redford.
Redford plays Hooker who is a small time grifter whose partner is killed when they run a foul of Lonnegan (Robert Shaw). He teams up with Newman's king of the con to get revenge and they pull together a 30's style Ocean's Eleven-esque team to do it.
Redford gets the majority of the screentime, but Newman does get one great face-off with Shaw and schools everyone in how to cheat successfully at poker.
It plays out in a series of chapters that set up the various stages of the con but there are still some twists and turns along the way as you try to figure out just who is conning who.
A fun crime caper with lots of thirties period trimmings but it felt a little shallow to have won Best Picture at the Oscars. Perhaps it was making up for not awarding it to Butch Cassidy!

Days remaining - 81 Films remaining - 80

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