Universal/1973/129m/FS 1.33

         The movie is as smooth as the beautifully plotted con of the title. Director George Roy Hill works from a sterling screenplay by David S. Ward. You can sense a synch between the writer and director. Hill's pacing is perfect. From phase to phase The Sting moves swiftly in precisely executed strokes to its very satisfying conclusion.
     When Johnny Hooker mistakenly pulls a small con on a mob money runner, his partner Luther is killed in retribution. Johnny takes it on the lam in search of big con specialist Henry Gondorff. Hooker wants to get even for Luther's death and the big con seems the way to go. Gondorff is the only sting artist around who's good enough to pull it off. Gondorff can't resist the lure and before you can say Doyle Lonnegan (the mark), the partners begin to set up The Sting.

sting.jpg (5918 bytes)

Gondorff plays the mark. ŠUniversal

     Stars Paul Newman and Robert Redford are teamed again under George Roy Hill's direction after the trio's success with Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. This time the perfection of script marries with terrific star power in creating a screen classic. Newman is a great Henry Gondorff. His drunk scenes when he sucks Lonnegan into the con during a railroad card game are a masterful combination of comic and straight acting. Redford has just the right measure of innocence to make Johnny Hooker special. Robert Shaw invests Doyle Lonnegan with blown up self importance and a short fuse ever about ignite. Hill works splendidly with the large cast, getting the best from all of them.
     The rag time music of Scott Joplin as interpreted by Marvin Hamlisch accompanies the action with a charm that emphasizes the era 1920's era of the film. The inspiration for the scene cards setting separating each phase of the movie adds to the overall delight.

        The Sting turns out to be an excellent DVD after the first title cards seem far too grainy. It's certainly the best quality video I've seen of this wonderful film. The colors are brighter than ever on video and depth of detail is excellent. The 2-channel mono Dolby Digital sound is clear and all the sharp dialogue is cleanly delivered.



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