johnlink ranks THE CINCINNATI KID (1965)

Classics month rolls along with THE CINCINNATI KID. I can knock another of the list of movies I’ve been intending to get to. I knew this was another Steve McQueen film, but didn’t realize how solid the supporting cast was. Was very happy to have finally seen this.

Steve McQueen plays an up-and-coming poker player who sets his sights on one of the very best, played by the great Edward G. Robinson.

I watched THE CINCINNATI KID (1965) at movie night on 9.24.09. It was my first viewing of the film.

NOTE: THIS RANKING UTILIZES THIS SITE’S ORIGINAL SYSTEMIC ARTICLE WRITING METHOD. THE METHOD BY WHICH THE RANKINGS WERE ARRIVED AT, HOWEVER, REMAIN THE SAME.

FILM

A solid, though not exquisite, film. Well shot by Norman Jewison, well edited, well paced. But this is a fairly standard movie, cinematically speaking. I give it a slightly above average score because of its thematic elements (trust, honesty, loyalty) and for its bold ending. Well, that, and its beautiful portrayal of its titular city. SCORE: 6

MOVIE

Feels like it goes by in a half-hour. I use the term ’70s slow’ sometimes to refer to old movies which take their time to get where they are going. This is not one of those. It zips along at a quick (though not frantic) pace which holds you in anticipation of the big, final, poker match between McQueen and Robinson. SCORE: 8

ACTING

Robinson is brilliant as the wise old veteran. Tuesday Weld is the new object of my celebrity crush (don’t remind me that she is in her 60s or 70s please). I’ve never seen her in anything before, but she plays the doey-eyed innocent to heartbreaking depths. Ann Margaret is a sexpot, and her scenes with McQueen are very well toned. Karl Malden is a solid core, his moral compass wavers with the audience. And this is the sort of role McQueen was made for. The Kid is emotionally underdeveloped, and he has a hard time telling his girlfriend (Weld) how he feels. He is more impulse than brains, except when he gets behind a hand of poker. This is not to say McQueen was this way, but I think he is at his best when he (here it comes) plays his cards close to the vest. SCORE: 9

WRITING

This has become a mantra of sorts during classics month, but I will say it again about THE CINCINNATI KID. This movie would not be the same were it written today. Huge spoiler here…

The Kid does not win! Imagine that. Imagine trying to make a movie with, say, Nicolas Cage where he is a poker player facing off against the big veteran (maybe… Robert DeNiro). And Cage loses! It wouldn’t happen. I give this movie credit for being about its characters and its themes more so than showing someone win. I will say that I wish McQueen said something to his girlfriend in the last shot. We get the feeling that she gives in to him because she loves him unconditionally. I sort of wanted to see him earn it. SCORE: 7

FINAL TALLY

FILM: 6; MOVIE: 8; ACTING: 9; WRITING: 7

6+8+9+7+0= 30

FINAL SCORE: 7.5

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~ by johnlink00 on September 25, 2009.

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