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Newman is a top-notch pool hustler who gets cocky and challenges Gleason's Minnesota Fats to the match of his life.
The DVD debut of this landmark drama is exceptional. Besides a luminous widescreen transfer and picture-in-picture deconstruction of the pool shots by billiards master Mike Massey, the commentary track is unique--and we hope starts a new trend. Film historian Jeff Young hosts an oral history of the film from a variety of sources including Paul Newman, legendary editor Dede Allen (who nearly steals the show), assistant director Ulu Grosbard, Time magazine critic Richard Schickel, and director Robert Rossen's daughter, Carol. The result is a free-following collection of memories created decades after the film wrapped (and many of the key players have died). Don't want the fine details? The new 25-minute documentary hits the major points with expertise. --Doug Thomas
- Original documentary: "The Hustler: The Inside Story"
- Picture in picture commentary on "How To Make the Trick Shots"
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Blu-ray transfer has excellent grayscale with good contrast and is clean. Grain is present but handled well without sacrificing detail. The audio is limited by its original monaural source of low fidelity monaural source of low fidelity by today's standards. It has been reworked to 5.1, but the low fidelity shows with the opening Fox theme and logo. There is a 2.0 option if desired but it does not improve the overall fidelity. There's only so much that can be done with the original soundtrack.