One of my favorites from childhood. Used to watch this all the time on ABC television. Hadn't seen it in a very long time. I still very much like THE STING, yet it's power truly lies in the unexpected twist and turns of the con. After many repeated viewing throughout my life...the unexpected turns into...the expected. But you know...that's okay. Not every movie is meant to be seen over and over again. The shock of seeing THE STING for the very first time is what I'll always hold dearly.
David S. Ward's script still holds up well, and is very well put-together. The character shading is minimal, yet THE STING never pretends to be anything more than a fun, plot-oriented story.
Paul Newman is fantastic as Henry Gondorf...his work appears so effortless, and natural. There is not acting to be seen, nor heard. Robert Redford, however, stumbles a bit...at least in my opinion. He was probably 36 when they shot THE STING, and thus doesn't come off well playing "the kid" to Newman's father-like character. It's not that Redford was bad, it's just that he's had stronger roles before, and after. He is, however, the master of the double-take. It's one of Redford's trademarks...and he does it well.
Great supporting cast is one of the reasons THE STING is a great picture. Robert Shaw, Eileen Brennan, Harold Gould, Charles Durning, Ray Walston, Robert Earl Jones, Sally Kirkland, and Jack Kehoe all shine in the movie playing small to large parts.
Another important part of THE STING. a very important part...is the joyous wonder that is the music of Scott Joplin, adapted by the late great Marvin Hamlisch. My father always used to play THE STING soundtrack in the car when I was growing up...because it's awesome, perfectly complimenting the story, the design, and the images on screen.
Course, THE STING would never have been THE STING without the brilliant work of GEORGE ROY HILL...who had a special knack for making quality period films, with great music. Hill never lay it on too heavy in his films...he showed a bit of danger, and darkness...yet always would bring you out of the dark before you started to feel too bad. George Roy Hill was a director of not just great story...but also great entertainment. He was like the great Scott Joplin song...the main theme of THE STING..."The Entertainer."
The selfish side of me hates the fact that Newman and Redford never again worked together on film. Yet humanitarian side of me is forever grateful that the ever got together in the first place...