Fast Eddie Felson (Paul Newman) is on a mission to prove he is the best pool player there is. The one person that stands in his way is Minnesota Fats (Jackie Gleason). After a short introduction scene of Felson and his partner Charlie, the film moves directly to an epic battle between players. The interplay between the two characters is great as they size up the other man and play the game in their own way. Just as I was surprised to see the match so early, I was surprised to see where the film went from there. I won’t go into more details so other who might not have seen it can also enjoy the progression as I did.
Joan Fontaine plays a young and innocent woman who is a paid companion to a rich woman, Edythe Van Hopper. While together in Monte Carlo, they meet Maxim de Winter, a rich widower. While Edythe tries to gain favor and Maxim, his interests turn instead to the younger woman. They are wed and return to Maxim’s estate where the new Mrs. de Winter learns that the previous Mrs. de Winter (Rebecca) is still very much a part of Maxim’s life and the care-takers of the estate.
Alfred Hitchcock is one of my favorite directors. I like the way he shoots scene and how he is very deliberate in building tension during a scene. And I enjoyed how he did that in this film. However, my issue is with the plots points that occur as part of the climax and the scenes following. So much of it is a twisted tail explaining all the events that lead to the current situation. I don’t mean twisted in the scenes that disgusting. Instead I mean we are lead in one direction, then there is a turn in a different direction. This repeats a number of times so that when you get to the end, you are trying to see how everything pieces together and what the run around added to the story.
Note: As I prepared for the business trip, I made sure to have a number of movies I could watch while traveling to keep myself occupied. In addition to these two, there was one additional film that I brought with me. However, that film was in French. That by itself is not an issue, but the fact that I did not attach the subtitles to the video file when compression from the DVD made my efforts to watch it futile. My review for La Belle Noiseuse will arrive when I have time to watch it with the English subtitles.