How much of a Bluray marketing genius do you have to be to not know that the photo of Paul Newman on the new Bluray of The Hustler is from The Young Philadelphians (’59)? And if the Fox Home Video marketing ace who chose this photo did know of its origin, why did he/she use it?
Any fan of The Hustler (’61) would spot the error in two seconds and be mildly irked by it, as I was when I bought this sucker last night at Kim’s Video. And any fan of The Young Philadelphians, a John O’Hara-styled soap opera, probably wouldn’t care for the grit and realism of The Hustler or would be too dumb to notice what I’m talking about in the first place.
The 33 year-old Newman looks preppy and straight-laced with neat, cleanly-parted hair in the Philadelphians photo. And he looks a tiny bit younger and smoother than he does in The Hustler, in which his hair is wiry and curly and his manner and expressions are mainly about anxiety and uncertainty — definitely a different emotional package. (The Hustler was shot in the fall of ’60, when Newman was 35, and opened in September ’61.)
It’s just a stupid-ass movie to use the Philadelphians pic. While the Fox Home Video brain surgeons were at it why didn’t they use a still of Newman from The Silver Chalice, with his Roman curls? Why not a still from The Outrage, for which Newman wore dark face makeup so he’d look like a Mexican? If you don’t care about being true to the source then why not? Go to town. Create your own Hustler mythology.
A DVD Beaver frame capture from The Young Philadelphians.
(l.) Newman’s Eddie Felson in The Hustler; (r.) Newman as Anthony Lawrence in The Young Philadelphians.