Saturday, 26 April 2014

The Sting (1973) 70's Marathon 8#


Directed by: George Roy Hill
Comedy, Crime

129 Minutes
USA
IMDB INFO

After watching the Carnival-styled intro with the song “The Entertainer” playing in the background, I knew I was going to enjoy this film. Anything set in the period of the 20’s and 30’s I truly adore, and The Sting has a terrific story and great characters. Robert Redford is charmingly witty and you cannot help but cheer him on his journey. The film is spot on in the area of nostalgia looking back at the 30’s and the Hollywood genres of yesteryear. Start to finish, you will find yourself surprised, subverted and giving cheesy smiles of relief and awe with everything that happens.


The film concerns Johnny Hooker (Robert Redford) a conman whose good friend and con mentor, Luther (Robert Earl Jones) is murdered by a racketeer/gambler Doyle Lonnegan (Robert Shaw). He sets out to avenge his with the help of Hendry Gondoor (Paul Newman) to pull off the biggest swindle they have ever done on Lonnegan with the help of others who despise him.

This film was selected for the National Film Registry in 2005, and I believe that is because of its charming humour, terrific screenplay and wonderfully historical setting, showing the architecture, clothing and streets of 1930’s America. The performance from Robert Redford and Paul Newman go to show that with a bit of wit, twists and humour can add up to an enriching film.

What I loved best about it, is just how far it goes in leading us, the audience on. We think we are in on all of the conning and set-ups- but then that wouldn’t be as much fun would it? That would make it predictable. With this in mind, audiences now are smart as a whip and even when you expect twists, you still find yourself surprised sometimes. The Sting had this effect on me, and it makes it ever so charming. It even had me saying aloud- “Ahhhh!”

My favourite scene would have to be the card game- perhaps one of the most tense card games in a film. I wish not to spoil much about this film and this scene in particular, but undoubtedly, it will be a memorable scene for you.

The set design and architecture sometimes have a false cardboard cutout look, which looks cheap but all deliberate in George Roy Hill’s imagining of 1930’s New York. It gives the film a feeling of nostalgia. This film went on to pick up seven Oscar nominations, taking home Best Picture, Director and Screenplay, and was a great success at the time. Overall, this is one of the highlights of the 1970’s and I think in some ways it is a timeless classic.

8.8/10



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