Posted June 6, 2012 by Chris Suffield in DVD/Blu-ray
 
 

The Sting


Paul Newman and Robert Redford reunite in this classic crime caper; out for revenge after his partner is murdered, a young conman seeks the help of a washed out former big time grifter to help him get even.

Paul
Newman and Robert Redford reunite in this classic crime caper; out for revenge
after his partner is murdered, a young conman seeks the help of a washed out
former big time grifter to help him get even.

Universal
Pictures
have reissued a number of their classics
this year to mark the centenary of the famous studio’s formation. Earlier in
the year film buffs were treated to a loving restoration of To Kill a
Mockingbird
, and now it’s the turn of director George Roy Hill’s The Sting.

Set in
1930s Chicago, small time conman Johnny Hooker (Robert Redford) is
looking for some payback against the man who killed his partner. This leads
Johnny to find big time con artist (but down on his luck) Henry Gondorff (Paul
Newman
), and they set about setting up the ultimate long con to steal their
target’s fortune.

Robert
Redford and Paul Newman are just about as good as an on screen double act as
you can get, their first partnership on Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
four years earlier was more akin to a pair of actors who had worked together
all their lives. Sadly this marked the last time they would work together on
screen.

A
couple of years before he became immortalized as Shark hunter Quinn in Jaws
(another Universal title to undergo the restoration process), actor Robert
Shaw
played the thuggish Doyle Lonnegan with menace and glee. Few actors
can intimidate an audience just by their presence, and this is easily Shaw’
best work as a villain throughout a prolific career.

The
effortless cool exuding from both leads is intoxicating, despite the good guys
being thieves and grifters it’s impossible not to root for them. Newman is no
stranger to playing a con man, The Hustler (and it’s belated sequel The
Colour of Money
) and Cool Hand Luke rank as some of his finest
performances. Shockingly Newman wasn’t even nominated for an Academy Award for
The Sting but Redford secured a Best Actor nomination, and rightly so.

The
Blu Ray transfer is simply stunning, the film looks bright, crisp and fresh not
a single one of its near 40 years is apparent. The transfer is so sharp that
Newman’ famous blue eyes are even more piercing, and the digital audio upgrade
makes the film sound better than ever before.

At the
1974 Academy Awards The Sting won 7 of the 10 Oscars it was nominated for,
these included best picture, best director and best-adapted screenplay for
writer David S Ward who would rather strangely go on to write and direct
John Goodman comedy King Ralph.

Ten
years after this was made, The Sting 2 was put together, Ward wrote the
script but none of the original cast returned to reprise their roles. Needless
to say it wasn’t a patch on what came before.

The
Sting is a classic movie and features knockout performances from Newman and
Redford, and they remain one of the best on screen partnerships in cinema
history even to this day.


Chris Suffield