The Cincinnati Kid

The Cincinnati Kid [1965]

This classic card shark film is highly regarded as the best poker movie of all time.

Steve McQueen is ‘Eric “The Kid” Stoner’.  Edward G. Robinson is ‘Lancey “The Man” Howard’. The Kid is about to play the biggest game of his life against The Man. Once he wins, he will become The Man.

But its going to be much more complex than that. Soon, trusted friend and dealer Shooter (Karl Malden) is threatened by Slade (Rip Torn) into cheating in The Kids favor. Also, Shooter’s wife Melba (Ann-Margret) is constantly attempting to seduce The Kid away from his current rocky relationship. In the end, it is up to The Kid to wipe out all distractions, confusion, and obstacles so he can beat The Man on a fair playing field.

Like most movies starring Steve McQueen, this has that same flowing vibe. OK, so he is the ‘King of Cool’. I hear it all the time. And I DO think he is a cool guy and actor. But I refuse to call it a ‘cool’ vibe, because its different. Its difficult to explain. It’s similar to Bullitt or The Getaway. No filler or fat, all straight forward. This movie is more of that. Flows very nicely.

One great thing is that you don’t need to know poker to enjoy the movie. Everything is played out in such a way, that you can understand whats going on, even if you don’t get the jargon. The story is very gripping, and the acting is extremely natural. It all boils down to the all famous ending that you just cant beat.

Also, Ann-Margret is very easy-on-the-eyes in this film. From what people tell me, she usually is. Although I was shocked to find out she was the not-so-easy-on-the-eyes mom in the rock opera ‘Tommy’. And If you love rare Jazz funerals (like the one in Live and Let Die), make sure to catch the opening!

The downers are there. The movie can appear very ho-hum. At times, it seems overly built up, but the tension is at an all time low. With little regard for audience, the last poker game is casually going by and WHAM you’re suddenly at the last match. Was not a smooth lead in…

3 stars for The Kid! Its very well done and solid. But nothing will really blow your mind, and compared to other Steve McQueen movies, its not as much fun.


1 Response to “The Cincinnati Kid”

  1. May 5, 2008 at 4:24 am

    Heya Joey! I had to double-check my list of acquaintances to make sure there wasn’t another person I know named “Joey”. Welcome to blogging!

    I *LOVE* card shark flicks, so maybe I should see this movie.

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