An attempt to do for poker what THE HUSTLER did for pool, THE CINCINNATI KID succeeds on its own, but it might have been a classic with some more attention paid to the script and, perhaps, a little humor sandwiched in to relieve the suspense. McQueen is The Kid, a formidable gambler who has built a strong reputation among those in the know. He's in New Orleans hustling small-timers and about to go east to Miami when Robinson rolls into town looking for some action. Robinson is "The Man," acknowledged to be the king of poker. He's visiting town for a private game but isn't averse to a match against McQueen, which is arranged by Malden. Torn had earlier been badly beaten by Robinson and he wants revenge, so he calls in some old debts and forces Malden, who is dealing the game between Robinson and McQueen, to slip some winning cards to The Kid. Once McQueen realizes that's happening, he eases Malden out of the way, determined to win fair and square. A marathon card game takes place, beautifully directed by Jewison, photographed by Lathrop, and edited by Hal Ashby. Even if you don't understand the game, you'll be biting your nails. Excellent supporting work is provided by Joan Blondell as Lady Fingers, a blowsy blonde dealer. In his accustomed role as the desk clerk, look for Olan Soule, a small, elderly man with a young voice. Soule, whom Jack Webb used often in his TV series, was "Mr. First Nighter" during the halcyon days of radio.