The Hustler, Robert Rossen, Eugen Schufftan, Dede Allen

Written by Joe D on July 30th, 2007

I wanted to talk about The Hustler. A great film, just look at the talent involved, Robert Rossen, a genius socially conscious writer/director.


Smilin’ Bob Rossen

“Dede, stop pishing with the mustard!”

He battled back from the Blacklist and made some excellent films. Paul Newman, Jackie Gleason, George C. Scott, Piper Laurie, all tremendous in this film. Eugen Schufftan, the great cinematographer, inventor of the Schufftan process, an in camera special effects technique used on Metropolis and many other films.

The Man Who Shot Detour

Eugen Schufftan

Lang’s Metropolis

Dede Allen, this was the first film where her incredible talents as an editor were clearly on display, as a matter of fact I would nominate this film as the greatest editing job in Cinema! It is that good!


DeDe Allen


Where’s that trim!

The incredible plasticity of Schufftan’s images, the atmospheric pool games, the glowing, magical cue ball dancing on the velvet felt of the table, cracking at just the right moment, then freezing on a heart pounding emotional note from Newman. Jumping back to life and swinging us into this irresistible story of a young man’s talent and drive to be the best.

Killing The Dragon

Then once you’re hooked, Rossen steps in with his monsters, George C. Scott, an evil wizard from a psychaitrist’s couch, putting a spell on Newman, controlling him, destroying his relationship with Piper Laurie.

Scott and Gleason- The Sorcerer and his Golem

Jackie Gleason, a dragon breathing smoke in the dungeonlike pool halls. When Paul Newman as Fast Eddie comes back to do battle with him, he looks like a knight with his lance, St George, vanquishing the Serpent.


Newman Pays The Piper

Also the montages are among the best ever put together, little camera moves from clocks dissolving to pool balls dissolving to the incredible faces of the rouges gallery watching the game, pure visual poetry. Everyone involved at the top of their game. I’ve heard Rossen asked Dede to watch Godard’s Breathless and the liberating editing techniques of that film inspired her to towering heights of creativity. Dede had just finished Odds Against Tomorrow for Robert Wise before starting this film and it is interesting to compare the two in terms of editing. Odds is a great film, cited by Jean Pierre Melville as a personal favorite, the editing is excellent but only in some unorthodox(for it’s time) sound cutting( prelapping incoming sound on scene transitions for ex.) does it hint at the revolutionary brilliance of The Hustler. If you’re interested in editing The Hustler is a must see film, it was shot in CinemaScope so hopefully a museum or revival house will screen it and you can see it as it was meant to be seen.

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