The Cincinnati Kid

The Cincinnati Kid ★★★

I have never understood the McQueen mythos. His weird roman crop blonde mop makes him stand out amidst the short back and sides of the sixties and then again amongst the long hair and beards of the seventies.

With this in mind I approach the prospect of him playing a sort of amalgam of Johnny Hooker and Henry Gondorff without the confidence tricksterism, with some tredpidation.

Fortunately the New Orleans location really provides a depth and grime to the depression tale. Rip Torn is great as the beaten card player who wants to orchestrate Lancey's demise. Robinson's belief that this ewas his greatest and most personal performance just adds more credence to the observation that actor's are not good judges of their talent and frequently their favourite films reflect something other than the technique or level of performance. Not to say that Robinson is not effective as the aging poker master but there are more fun roles and energetic performances in his cv.

Karl Malden is the poor bastard who sets up the game and is then strong-armed into rigging it by Torn and he is very good at playing guys on the edge of criminality but are averse from crossing over.

Perfectly acceptable poker-flick but clearly not in the same league as The Sting or The Hustler.

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