The Color of Money

The Color of Money Earned Paul Newman an Oscar

The Color of Money is an American drama film that was made in 1986. The film is directed by Martin Scorsese. It is based on a book of the same name by Walter Tevis and is a sequel to the 1971 film The Hustler, also based on a book by Walter Tevis. The screenplay for the The Color of Money was done by Richard Price, though, and apparently with significant contributions from Paul Newman, who starred in the original Hustler and the Color of Money. His c-stars in the film were Tom Cruise, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Helen Shaver, and John Turturro. The film was directed by Martin Scorsese.

The Sport was Nine Ball Pool

The Color of Money shone a spotlight on the underhand and devious world of pool hustling. Playing pool for money, betting on the outcome of games and wagering on matches and tournaments has long been a favourite pastime. In the film, retired pool shark Fast Eddie Felson and star of the Hustler meets and decides to mentor an up-and-coming pool player and his girlfriend. The Color of Money is excellent in its basic theme of an apprentice who outgrows the teacher.

The Color of Money is a gripping tale that is interwoven with the spirit and negative aspects of professional pool playing. Obviously playing the game of Nine Ball pool means that pool excellence is not always about excellent pool, and that there are many other factors involved, such as throwing the game, bluffing and, of course, plain simple luck. In the film, Fast Eddie discovers a raw talent in Vincent, and puts together a business arrangement with Vincent’s’ girlfriend to mould him into a pool player that could win big money at a high paying Nine Ball tournament in Atlantic City. Vincent has the natural personality to succeed at pool, for other players would tend not to take him seriously until it was too late.

A Plot Rewritten for Cinema

The overall plot of The Color of Money is unpredictable, and Richard Price’s plot development is very different from the earlier mooted plot in the book. Quite obviously, though, Fast Eddie and Vincent do not see eye to eye and part ways, only to meet each other over the pool tables in Atlantic City some time later. This turns out to be a subdued meeting with Vincent forfeiting the match to make more money.

The Effect on the Game of Pool

The Hustler was more of a sporting movie, in terms of concentrating on the pool aspect of the plot. The all day and all night confrontation between Fast Eddie and his nemesis is legendary, and Scorsese opted not to concentrate on the sporting aspect but rather to concentrate on character development. This was clearly successful, since Paul Newman went on to win the Oscar for the Color of Money.

The gambling and pool playing aspect of the Color of Money was, however, clearly not lost on the audience completely though. Sales of pool cues rose by more than 25% for many months after the release of the film, and pool halls around the world saw an increase in play that boosted the game for years. Nine Ball pool became even more popular and well-known as players were inspired by the film.