The Color of Money (Martin Scorsese, 1986)

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hearthesilence
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The Color of Money (Martin Scorsese, 1986)

#1 Post by hearthesilence » Mon Mar 21, 2005 11:42 pm

After seeing the Hustler for the first time, I saw The Color of Money again. Last time I saw it was probably 10-12 years ago. It's much more satisfying having see the Hustler because so many things carry more weight once you know the baggage attached to them.

Newman's guilt means more after knowing George C. Scott's character. Even a line towards the end where his new girlfriend tells him how much she appreciates "character" means a whole lot more.

Knowing the details behind Newman's exile, the moment he breaks for the first time in the film, it's probably the first time in decades; Scorsese and Schoonmaker (sp?) cut it dynamically to drive that point home, but it really sinks in when you're familiar with the final scene of the Hustler.

Not my favorite Scorsese picture, but definitely a worthy sequel.

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The Color of Money (Scorsese, 1986)

#2 Post by THX1378 » Tue Mar 22, 2005 5:33 am

Of all of Scorsese's films, this is the forgotten one. The one that people the most tear into as his "worst" film. I really don't see why. I mean it's not on the level that The Hustler was, but it still isn't a bad sequel. I think the problem again with most people is that it's a Scorsese film that came a couple of years after Raging Bull. I think maybe people started to expected more out of Scorsese. I have to adment that even I think the film starts off flat then builds up. But I think also that some of the over-worn situations that we have seen in every other film doesn't work for this film. Plus the end I think is week after they build up that
SpoilerShow
The showdown between Eddie and Vince at the end, ending with Newman breaking for the game. Then just ending not knowing who won after they built it up that this was going to be the end all pool game between the 2 best players in the US.
I don't think this is by far Scorsese's worst film, but it's not one of his best. But it does work as an ok sequel because in part Newman owns the film.

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#3 Post by swingo » Tue Mar 22, 2005 8:03 am

I gotta admit I haven't watched the Hustler and I imagine it is better than the color of money.

But I've always liked the color of money, it's still has some Scorsese elements and it's worth to watch...

A lot of people don't like the ending but I do...

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#4 Post by Fletch F. Fletch » Tue Mar 22, 2005 10:30 am

THX1378 wrote:Of all of Scorsese's films, this is the forgotten one. The one that people the most tear into as his "worst" film. I really don't see why.
Really? Despite its commercial success I always felt that his unnecessary remake of Cape Fear was considered to be his "worst" film.

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#5 Post by Andre Jurieu » Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:28 am

I don't think the ending is "week" at all. It's the perfect ending to the film, because the outcome of the game itself means very little in the grand scheme of things. As Eddie states, if he doesn't beat Vincent in this game, he'll do it next week, or a week after that, or a month down the line. It doesn't matter if Eddie wins this showdown with Vincent, or if he ever beats Vincent at all. All that matters is that he keep attempting to do so and keep competing. The entire point is that he's recaptured that drive and passion to be the best. It's the perfect ending to a story that has revolved around this man attempting to surround himself in poolhall culture, without succumbing to the temptation of an addictive sport that destroyed his life once. In the end, he realizes he can't stand outside this culture any longer so he throws himself back in without regard for whether he's being played or not. The ending shows that Eddie has regained control over himself and can endure the harsh realities of this culture he has emersed himself in once again. It's his experience and age that allows him to do so. He's even willing to continue despite the fact that Vincent has beat him at the game that Eddie originally meant to teach the kid. It's a simple rebuke to the notion that Eddie is in some form of twilight. His age no longer matters, since he's determined to keep going. The scene isn't about Eddie vs Vincent - it's about Eddie vs Himself.

No offense, but if you're waiting for some big climactic payoff scene where two characters vie to determine who is "the Best" once and for all, maybe check out Days of Thunder instead.

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#6 Post by Alonzo the Armless » Tue Mar 22, 2005 3:02 pm

I think THE COLOR OF MONEY is one of the better sequels out there. I agree with Andre that the ending is perfect. An ending with either Eddie or Vincent winning would have obscured the point. Eddie's last line reveals it best. "I'm back!"

In a very thought-provoking post on another thread, Andre said:
I don't know. Is it really just that Vincent didn't enjoy the idea that Eddie took a cut of his profits while they were on the road? This doesn't seem as if it qualifies as "being used". Did Eddie ever keep more money than he was supposed to, or was it just that Vincent didn't appreciate being somebody's cash-cow?
I guess I think it's the latter. Vincent didn't like being someone else's cash cow. Plus Vincent is unhappy that Eddie didn't appeciate the con Vincent pulled on him at the tournament. Eddie wouldn't acknowledge that Vincent finally learned how to con as good as Eddie could.

Earlier, Andre, you posted:
what exactly does Vincent mean when he accuses Eddie of "using" them (Eddie & Carmen - even though Vincent probably means to emphasize himself with his choice of words)? Those words always threw me off for some reason, because I could never quite figure out how Eddie actually used Vincent over the course of the film.
I thought of one time when Vincent was not happy about being used. It was when Eddie and Carmen pretended to be a couple during a scam. It seems to me they purposely played their roles strongly to get a rise out of Vincent, as if that would get him to play along more convincingly. He didn't realize they would act as lovers so blatantly, although it was Eddie's intention from the beginning.I'd say this was an example of Vincent being used.

As for CAPE FEAR, it's far from being Scorsese's worst. It's a sensational remake. It's well made, it's suspenseful, it's scary, and it's also a fun look at Scorsese getting back at religious fundamentalists who protested THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST. For Scorsese's worst, you have to go to BOXCAR BERTHA.

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#7 Post by hearthesilence » Tue Mar 22, 2005 4:36 pm

Yeah, there were a ton of complaints about the ending, but I never bought into the argument. It works as is and the winner would've been irrelevant - that became clear in Newman's dialogue, when he says he will beat him, and if not now, then in Texas, or the next competition, whatever. The point is, "I'm back," Felson's no longer another Bert Gordon, he's playing the game again, and he's redeemed himself.

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#8 Post by Fletch F. Fletch » Tue Mar 22, 2005 5:32 pm

Alonzo the Armless wrote:As for CAPE FEAR, it's far from being Scorsese's worst. It's a sensational remake. It's well made, it's suspenseful, it's scary, and it's also a fun look at Scorsese getting back at religious fundamentalists who protested THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST. For Scorsese's worst, you have to go to BOXCAR BERTHA.
Yeah, I was never crazy about Boxcar Bertha. But I really don't dig Cape Fear all that much. It was a classic example of a film that didn't need to be remade. De Niro came off as a caricature, a simple, leering monster that needed to be destroyed. I did think the family dynamic/dysfunction was interesting but that's about it. Also, I thought it was just way to over-the-top and obvious. I dunno... it just felt like a film Scorsese did for the money.

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#9 Post by hearthesilence » Tue Mar 22, 2005 7:33 pm

A long time ago, I read an article that said "Cape Fear" was Spielberg's project, but he swapped it with Scorsese for "Schindler's List." I'm a little skeptical about that, but that's what I recall reading.

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#10 Post by swingo » Tue Mar 22, 2005 10:49 pm

hearthesilence wrote:A long time ago, I read an article that said "Cape Fear" was Spielberg's project, but he swapped it with Scorsese for "Schindler's List." I'm a little skeptical about that, but that's what I recall reading.
That Schindler's List project was for someone else is a legend. I've read that story too. I've also read that Kubrick and Wilder were innit as well...

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#11 Post by Alonzo the Armless » Tue Mar 22, 2005 10:50 pm

I've read about Scorsese and Speilberg switching CAPE FEAR and SCHINDLER'S LIST in a couple places including the book Martin Scorsese by Les Keyser.

I like CAPE FEAR the more I watch it and don't see Cady in it as just a criminal, but more like a force of God that Sam Bowden has to deal with in order to redeem himself. I don't know if I should talk too much about it here since I don't want to hijack this thread away from THE COLOR OF MONEY.

Speaking of which, perhaps Vincent serves the same role in COLOR OF MONEY as Cady did in CAPE FEAR. Perhaps he was the force sent to help Eddie redeem himself.

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#12 Post by THX1378 » Wed Mar 23, 2005 6:45 am

Everyone I have talked to about Scorsese list Color or New York, New York as his "worst". I think Cape Fear is scary, the end on the boat freaked me out the first time I saw it when I was younger. It's not up to pare with other Scorsese films, but by far not the "worst" film he's ever done.
Back to Color. I'm not the only one whom thinks the ending is week. Roger Ebert said in his review that the whole film is a set up for this showdown that never happens. I mean it makes sense that Eddie has been redeemed and has his drive again, that the last game doesn't matter. But the whole film sets up with the over-worn situations of teacher teaches student the game or con. Teacher teaches student all that he can. Student learns that he can be better than the teacher and beat him at his own game. Teacher/student have showdown in the end. But like some have said the end with the showdown shouldn't matter at all because Eddie has gotten back something he lost and thats his drive for the game. I just wish that Scorsese would have went more with this setup for the film that it was always supost to be about Eddie getting back into the game and getting his drive back then setting it up for this teacher/student showdown.

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#13 Post by Alonzo the Armless » Wed Mar 23, 2005 10:20 am

But it did emphasize Eddie and him wanting to get back into the game. After he dumps Vincent, the entire movie revolves around that. At first, it may seem that it's a teacher/pupil kind of movie, but that changes once Vince is forced to go on his own. Eddie then goes through a transformation that Scorsese injects with religious symbolism. When he swims in the pool, it looks almost like a baptism. When he walks into the tournament hall for the first time, the music and scale of the interiors make one feel like it's the inside of a church. He went to an eye doctor and now has glasses so he can see his life clearly. Scorsese wants us to see Eddie as reborn.

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#14 Post by Andre Jurieu » Wed Mar 23, 2005 11:46 am

THX1378 wrote: I'm not the only one whom thinks the ending is week. Roger Ebert said in his review that the whole film is a set up for this showdown that never happens.
Reviews by dim-witted critics (OK, that's just my opinion, but I lump in Ebert with movie-review personalities such as Harry Knowles and David Poland) don't really help to support your case that the ending is weak. Roger Ebert is the king of simple, straightforward, message movies. Spanglish anyone? He's also often guilty of putting too much emphasis on plot, without enough analysis of alterations to the formula. Also, it doesn't even matter if the plot of the film is a set-up for a showdown that never happens that the viewer may have wanted to witness. What matters is why Scorsese decided to exclude the actual showdown that every other "connect-the-dots" film chooses to include. The exclusion seeks to highlight the fact that it's Eddie's resurgence, or resurrection, that is important, rather than whether he has actually recaptured his old Hustler form. The point Scorsese is making is that it doesn't even matter if Eddie is the best anymore, only that he is willing to play the game once again. That's why the showdown-payoff itself is moot.
THX1378 wrote:I just wish that Scorsese would have went more with this setup for the film that it was always supost to be about Eddie getting back into the game and getting his drive back then setting it up for this teacher/student showdown.
... and that's exactly what the film is about, which is emphasized by the exclusion of the final pay-off showdown scene. By excluding the showdown, the viewer is forced to wonder whether Eddie is still the best, but must realize that the question itself actually doesn’t matter. In essence, Scorsese and his crew have hustled the viewer into watching a film about resurrection, while they thought they were watching a formula.

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#15 Post by swingo » Wed Mar 23, 2005 11:50 am

I've never felt the ending is weak, quite contrary, I like the open ending of it.

Like someone stated before, it's not the case is Eddie would've beat Vincent in the game, but the fact that Fast Eddie Felson is BACK, with a bullet!

I try to imagine the ending of the movie with the ending of the game would be useless, whether Eddie could've won or lost.

Now, if you ask me, I think Eddie would've kicked Vincent's ass easily...


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#16 Post by who is bobby dylan » Wed Apr 20, 2005 3:47 pm

For a long time this was actually my favorite Scorsese movie... I remember it being one of the first movies where I became very aware of the camerawork. I think there are maybe 2-3 static shots in the entire film. The camera is always moving. I liked the movie so much I tracked down a copy of Walter Tevis's book... which needless to say is much different from the movie. I know in Scorsese on Scorsese, Scorsese talks about how the project came about, originally through a Paul Newman script and how he, Newman and Richard Price? Worked on it. If there is one weak point in the film, I think it's probably the, 'I'm on my way back' montage. Scorsese was able to overcome much of what was conventional in the story, but here he falls right in. Also, Vince turning into a kind of heavy is poorly handled. The book doesn't focus on a mentor relationship and I think if Scorsese had just focused on the rehabilitation of Eddie or the rehabilitation of Eddie through Vincent the movie would work better. But, by trying to do both, by focusing on Eddie the person, the poolplayer and Vince I think Scorsese ends up not giving all of himself to either story or character. That said, I still think this is one of Scorsese's most watchable and entertaining movies.

But, for my money Mean Streets, Italianamerican and American Boy are his best and while it's not downhill after that, the grass certainly isn't any greener.

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Re: The Color Of Money (Scorsese, 1986)

#17 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Fri Mar 16, 2012 7:16 pm

Popular Mechanics recently did an article about digitizing classic movies. Here's some talk on the restoration of the film for Blu-Ray (coming out June 5th), with help from Thelma Schoonmaker.
The color of money, everybody knows, is green. The color of pool table felt in Martin Scorsese's 1986 movie The Color of Money is ... blue? Wait a sec--rewind. That's not quite right, is it? Actually, it's wrong. The blue pool tables in The Color of Money have nagged the makers of the film since it was shot. When Scorsese began preproduction on the sequel to the classic movie The Hustler, he toyed with the idea of shooting in black and white. The studio, Touchstone, wasn't crazy about the idea, so Scorsese opted instead to "paint with color" for this story of an aging pool shark (Paul Newman) and his cocky young protégé (Tom Cruise). For the first two-thirds of the film, which takes place largely in a wintry Chicago, Scorsese, production designer Boris Leven and cinematographer Michael Ballhaus designed the film in gray, black and white. The results were striking, with one slight hitch: "Because of the nature of the lighting, the green felt of the pool tables kept going blue," recalls film editor Thelma Schoonmaker, a longtime Scorsese collaborator. "There was nothing we could do about it, because we wanted to make sure the skin tones were right, and the overall look of the film was right; so we let it go."

Last summer, Schoonmaker was at New York's Technicolor Creative Services staring at those blue pool tables again. When the film was first made, there was no fix for the problem, but thanks to digital technology, she could now correct it easily. "All we had to do was open digital windows on the pool tables and fill them in with green, without affecting the rest of the shot," Schoonmaker explains. Why was a multiple-Oscar-winning editor concerned with color correction on a 20-year-old movie? Because, like many classics from Hollywood's archives, The Color of Money is about to be reborn.

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Re: The Color Of Money (Scorsese, 1986)

#18 Post by Cold Bishop » Fri Mar 16, 2012 7:49 pm

[-( Bad Thelma!

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Re: The Color Of Money (Scorsese, 1986)

#19 Post by Andre Jurieu » Mon Mar 19, 2012 2:06 pm

flyonthewall2983 wrote:... restoration of the film for Blu-Ray (coming out June 5th)...
Well, guess that ruins my dream of Criterion bundling this with all of Scorsese's short-films.

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Re: The Color of Money (Martin Scorsese, 1986)

#20 Post by duck duck » Tue Mar 20, 2012 3:04 am

The Color of Money was a book by Walter Tevis. Newman wanted to get it made and asked Scrosese (According to that "The Directors" series) also form the same source Speilgberg was going to have Cape Fear made no matter who signed on as director. As far as DeNiro's character, he was transformed from a person to a manifestation of the family's guilt and fear... thus making him nearly a comic book valin.

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Re: The Color of Money (Martin Scorsese, 1986)

#21 Post by MyNameCriterionForum » Tue Mar 20, 2012 9:33 am

duck duck wrote:The Color of Money was a book by Walter Tevis. Newman wanted to get it made and asked Scrosese (According to that "The Directors" series) also form the same source Speilgberg was going to have Cape Fear made no matter who signed on as director. As far as DeNiro's character, he was transformed from a person to a manifestation of the family's guilt and fear... thus making him nearly a comic book valin.
Money is green! I'm a good boy!

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Re: The Color of Money (Martin Scorsese, 1986)

#22 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Mon Nov 14, 2016 3:06 am

I've said this elsewhere here, but this is my favorite film of Scorsese's. The primary reason why is nostalgia. Pool was popular in our house growing up, and there was a VHS of this around for years and years. Watching it again recently, I think it holds up. It goes at a brisk pace, the performances are top-notch almost across the board and the pool sequences and montages don't feel dated to the period, like a lot of other (even good) 80's movies.

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Re: The Color of Money (Martin Scorsese, 1986)

#23 Post by PoutMontag » Sun Nov 20, 2016 12:44 pm

I love it. It's cinema as rock n roll (or vice versa). Course, that theory is slightly marred by the presence of the likes of Eric Clapton on the soundtrack, but still. Iggy Pop cameos!
And the ending sends chills. "Hey - I'm back."
And Vincent is 'used' because he recognises before Eddie does that he's being used as a proxy because Eddie doesn't have the bottle to play himself.

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Re: The Color of Money (Martin Scorsese, 1986)

#24 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Mon Nov 21, 2016 11:56 am

I like the soundtrack a lot, although I wish there was a complete version of Robbie Robertson's score around.

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