Cinema: Chalk Opera

The Hustler (20th Century-Fox), commercially speaking, is a long-shot money ball that will probably hit the public's pocket like a rocket and rack up an impressive score. Artistically speaking, it is an amusingly mangled myth, an epos in a pool hall, a ceremony of chivalric valor on the Field of the Cloth of Green.

The hero (Paul Newman) is a raucous young crown prince of the cue who challenges the king (Jackie Gleason) to do battle for his throne. For 36 hours without intermission, they have at each other: now hacking fiercely at the glistening balls, now waving their cues exquisitely, like...

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