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The Color of Money Reviews

Twenty-five years after being banned from big-time pool, THE HUSTLER's "Fast Eddie" Felsen (Paul Newman) resurfaces--older, wiser, and much more cynical--in THE COLOR OF MONEY. Eddie, who no longer plays the game, now peddles whiskey and bankrolls talented pool hustlers for a percentage. He takes young hotshot Vincent (Tom Cruise) and his coolheaded girlfriend (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio) on the road, teaching his flamboyant, flaky protege how to "dump," i.e., lose deliberately in order to set up the suckers for the big score ("Sometimes if you lose, you win"). Vincent has trouble learning to lose, Eddie begins to yearn to play again himself, and they part ways, only to meet again in a big tournament in Atlantic City. There the pupil surprises his rehabilitated teacher with how well he's learned his lessons. Approached by Newman, who felt that "Fast Eddie" was due for renewed exploration, director Martin Scorsese and novelist-screenwriter Richard Price (The Wanderers) came up with a richly nuanced film that retains little more than the title and Eddie Felsen's character from novelist Walter Tevis's sequel to The Hustler. One of Scorsese's most commercial undertakings, THE COLOR OF MONEY relinquishes none of his unique style and vision, using a swooping, gliding camera and countless trick shots to maximum impact. The film also boasts two bravura performances--from Newman, who finally--and deservedly--won an Oscar for Best Actor, and Cruise, who is a joy to behold. Watch for Forest Whittaker and Iggy Pop in colorful bit roles.