Cue Scott Joplin music and prepare to have tons of fun with Newman, Redford, and director George Roy Hill. The trio captures much of the magic that happened with Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, as well as capturing Oscar gold. The con is on.
Johnny Hooker (Robert Redford) is an up and coming con man under the tutelage of Luther Coleman (Robert Earl Jones). When the duo pull a con and get the purse of gangster Doyle Lonnegan (Robert Shaw) he orders that they two get rubbed out for the offense.
Only Luther gets killed and Hooker is on the run. He runs to more experienced con man Henry Gondorff (Paul Newman) to plan revenge against Lonnegan. Gondorff brings in his compatriots J.J. Singleton (Ray Walston), Kid Twist (Harold Gould), Gondorff’s gal Billie (Eileen Brennan), and a host of others to pull the wool over Lonnegan’s eyes and put cold hard cash into the group’s pockets.
However, nasty policeman Lt. Snyder (Charles Durning) is on the trail of Hooker and threatens to expose them and blow the whole scam.
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) saw Paul Newman and Robert Redford memorably joining forces with George Roy Hill in the director’s chair. That initial team-up would score four Oscars. With the Sting it would be an attempt to capture lightening in a bottle. Audiences wouldn’t be conned but find a grand time with a pair of grifters who just happen to look fabulous on the screen.
However, the Academy would be charmed enough to lay nearly twice as many Oscars on the Sting. It won for best picture, director, writing, art direction, costume design, editing, and score. I’m sure much of that has to do with the killer team at the core of the film – Newman, Redford, and Hill.
The results are a smash with everyone seeming to be having such a good time on screen that it couldn’t help but bleed into the audience. The twist ending will dampen with repeat viewings, but you can’t help but get caught up again in the fun. I had a swell time seeing it again and fondly remember both the star players and familiar character actors like Walston and Gould.
They certainly don’t make ‘em like they used to. This edition features a new transfer that I thought looked a bit faded but otherwise gorgeous. I don’t remember Newman’s eyes blazing that blue before in other editions. I must be blinded by bromance, but this new Blu-ray looked great to me.
The Sting is presented in a 1080p transfer (1.85:1). Special features include the standard definition 56 minute “Art of the Sting” making of and the 2 minute theatrical trailer. The high definition features are the 11 minute “100 years of Universal: the 70s” about that decade and the 9 minute “100 Years of Universal: the Lot” about the backlot. Disc two is a DVD copy and it’s housed in digibook packaging that has production information and photos.
The Sting hits all the high notes and one can’t help but get caught up in the funhouse. Newman, Redford, and Hill score with a rigged hand of a great story, acting, and charm. This new edition also looks fantastic, though recycling a bit of special features, and the buyer shouldn’t feel like they’ve been bamboozled.
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