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The Cincinnati Kid (1965)
 
One movie you are not allowed to avoid in your life is this one, but is it actually any good? Well yes it is.

Its 1965 in this film, as opposed to the 1930s in the Richard Jessup book. This is a good thing because we feel the big city in the first major scene as McQueen runs across a rail yard, away from three hoods.

The massive cast might have gotten in the way of the film but Norman Jewison plays cleverly with the story line and plays each scene with only two main cast members. That is of course until he has built the epic ending and then every person in the whole film gets in it (except Tuesday Weld).

For 1965 the film was ground breaking. McQueen is seen to be good friends with a Black poker player and Rip Torn gets in bed with a Black woman in a hotel room. Cab Calloway is one of the major players in the final scene. Poker was supposedly racially sound forty years ago - we must have gone backwards since then.

Edward G. is a master in this. We are supposed to dislike him but he never really does anything to earn that feeling except being ruthless. But then he is a poker player. Of course we root for Steve because he's made it from nothing.
 
The major difference from the book other than being 30 years on, is the transition of Shooter from being a completely noble guy to being the servant of the real bad guy, Slade (Rip Torn). In the film he tries to cheat to give the Kid extra chances but the Kid stops him. Ultimately though, the film is a little shaky on the actual poker. A strange scene between Slade and The Man occurs where $4,000 is bet on a Jack high versus a Queen high.
 
Then there is the much talked about ( in poker circles, which are quite small ) final hand. People almost entirely shout loudly that the hand is a mockery but we like to be different. The hand actually makes sense (albeit unlikely to occur) but it could do with a commentary to explain why. One day that will appear on this site.
Marks : 9/10
Director Norman Jewison Steve McQueen Cincinnati Kid
Producer Martin Ransohoff Edward G. Robinson Lancey Howard
Writing Ring Lardner Jr. et al. Ann-Margret Melba
Production MGM Karl Malden Shooter
Cert./Runtime 113 mins Tuesday Weld Christian Rudd
 
Also starring Joan Blondell (as Lady Fingers ), Rip Torn (as Slade ), Jack Weston (as Pig ), and Cab Calloway (as Yeller).
 
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