The Hustler 「ハスラー」

2002年 9月 06日
作者: Jon Pauley

脚本:ロバート・ロッセン 、シドニー キャロル
出演者:ポール・ニューマン 、ジャッキー・グリースン 、パイパー・ローリー 、ジョージ・C.スコット
ビリヤードに全てをかける若き天才勝負師エディーの敗北を通じての苦悩と成長が ポール・ニューマンの名演技で繰り広げられる。
緊張感漂う迫力ある ビリヤードシーンは見逃せない傑作である。

Robert Rossen’s The Hustler is a film about how far a man will go to get what he thinks he wants. The film is an intense focus on the deep inner workings of a man, Eddie Felson (Paul Newman), also known as "Fast Eddie," who believes he has what it takes to be the best pool player in America. But when he plays a more experienced and older player, Minnesota Fats (Jackie Gleason), he discovers that he doesn’t have the stamina or the experience to play against Fats and loses in a destructive straight pool match which lasts for over twenty-four hours. After winning over $10,000 in wager money, Eddie loses all but $200 of his winnings. It is here, that Eddie has reached a very low point. He is disgusted with himself and losing so much money.

After losing in such a devastating manner, Eddie meets Sarah (Piper Laurie), an alcoholic middle aged college student, in a bus station diner. The two do not click at first and become re-acquainted in a neighborhood bar. Soon Eddie moves in with her and falls in love with her. Although both characters do not seem to value their lives very much, they cling to one another for some support they can’t find within themselves. Many scenes are touching and the display of Eddie’s naïveté and innocence in a rough environment is touching.

After losing his winnings, Eddie roams around the anonymous city playing other hustlers for small time money. He buys bottles of liquor for Sarah and he, as they live from day to day in a drunken haze. Suddenly, Sarah discovers her ability to write and Eddie is alienated because she is not drinking all of the time. He is forced to change, yet again, with the environment he has chosen for himself.

The Hustler is an American classic. Made over forty years ago, the film still holds up very well. Mr. Rossen’s direction is seamless. Newman’s performance is one of the strongest I have ever seen. Rarely does a character express so much anger, sorrow and love at the same time. Although Eddie is a cocky man, he isn’t cocky at heart. He is childish at points, simply because he has great difficulty in understanding his own motivations. His actions are always questioned, not only by himself, but also by those who surround him. Therefore, his life is a swarm of self-doubt that escalates near the end of the picture and culminates in some very difficult decisions to be made.

The Hustler is a complex and original tale of psychological defeat and the desire for self-fulfillment. The film allows the viewer to be sucked into the dark pool halls of urban America. It then allows you to get into the minds of those who play there. This film is not to be missed and Newman and Gleason are simply a joy to watch on screen.