Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Sting (1973)



I was watching a show the other night (anyone ever hear or watch the show Medical Investigation before it was canceled?) and one of the characters mentioned The Sting. My brother has had this movie on DVD for years and he was always telling me that the movie was so good. I decided to watch something different today so I picked out The Sting. I am a HUGE fan of the show Leverage and love stories about con men so I was very excited to see that the movie was about con men and their running a scheme to get even. As the promos for Leverage say “Don’t get mad, get even” and that is exactly what Johnny and Harry do.
            Johnny Hooker (Robert Redford) and his partner Luther are running a scheme on someone when the movie opens. After they get their money Luther tells Johnny that he wants out of what they do. Later on Luther is killed because the people they stole from tracked where their money went to when Johnny spent it all.

            To get back at the mob boss Doyle Lonnegan Johnny goes to a veteran con man named Harry Gondorff (Paul Newman) who knew Luther as well. Harry gathers all his regular conmen and they get to work scamming the mob boss. The boss does not go anywhere without his goons and he does not regularly gamble or bet. They catch him on a train where he likes to play a game of poker with men who have money. Harry manages to get in on the game and he wins by cheating. He had his girlfriend Billie (Eileen Brennan) steal Lonnegan’s wallet so he would have to do business with him. After the game Johnny goes to Lonnegan pretending to double cross Harry that he wants to get out on his own and needs the boss’s help to do so.
            From there the conmen set up a warehouse to look like a horse betting lounge and Lonnegan buys the bait. Using a machine they get the finished races and tell Lonnegan which winning horse to bet for. The mob boss gets himself in pretty deep with the con and in the end loses a lot of money.
            I really liked the movie. It was very clever and the story was excellent. The cast was great everyone was perfect in their roles. Paul Newman and Robert Redford were a great team. At fifty-three Newman was still incredibly handsome (those blue eyes of his were incredible!). he had one of the funniest lines in the movie: Harry pretends to go to the card game with Lonnegan drunk so he barges in the room where the game is and he apologizes by saying “Sorry I’m. I was taking a crap” haha (Yes, I am really a little kid when it comes to toilet humor. This cannot be helped I have three younger brothers).
              There are many actors that you will recognize from all kinds of movies. The only person I felt that was miss cast was Eileen Brennan. She had a great attitude there was one scene in the movie that I would die to use if I ever made a movie or show but there is something about her I find unsettling and not that great.
            Famed costume designer Edith Head won an Academy Award for her work. As always with Edith Head her costumes were stunning. The suits that the men wear were gorgeous.
            The Sting is a fun movie to watch. The story keeps you on your toes and there are a lot of twists and turns. I will say there are some parts that drag a bit but other than those scenes The Sting is quite flawless and deserved to win for best picture, best direction, and best screenplay.