The Roaring Twenties

  • Directors: Raoul Walsh
  • Producers: Hal B Wallis
  • Writers: Mark Hellinger, Jerry Wald, Richard Macaulay, Robert Rossen
  • Genres: Crime, Drama, Film-Noir, Thriller
  • Actors: James Cagney, Priscilla Lane, Humphrey Bogart, Gladys George

After the World War I armistice, Lloyd Hart (Jeffrey Lynn) goes back to practice law, former saloon keeper George Hally (Humphrey Bogart) turns to bootlegging, and out-of-work Eddie Bartlett (James Cagney) becomes a cab driver. Eddie builds a fleet of cabs through delivery of bootleg liquor and hires Lloyd as his lawyer. George becomes Eddie’s partner and the rackets flourish until love and rivalry interfere. Gladys George plays a night club hostess clearly based on Texas Guinan.

The Hustler

  • Directors: Robert Rossen
  • Producers: Robert Rossen
  • Writers: Walter Tevis, Sidney Carroll, Robert Rossen
  • Genres: Drama, Romance, Sport
  • Actors: Paul Newman, Jackie Gleason, Piper Laurie, George C Scott

Small-time pool hustler “Fast Eddie” Felson (Paul Newman) travels cross-country with his partner Charlie (Myron McCormick) to challenge the legendary player “Minnesota Fats” (Jackie Gleason). Arriving at Ames, Fats’s home pool hall, Eddie declares he will win $10,000 that night. Fats arrives and he and Eddie agree to play for $200 a game. After initially falling behind, Eddie surges back to being $1,000 ahead, and suggests raising the bet to $1,000 a game; Fats agrees. He sends out a runner, Preacher (Stefan Gierasch) to Johnny’s Bar, ostensibly for a bottle of whiskey, but really to get professional gambler Bert Gordon (George C. Scott) to the hall. Eddie gets ahead $11,000 and Charlie tries to convince him to quit, but Eddie insists the game will end only when Fats says it is over. Fats agrees to continue after Bert labels Eddie a “loser.” After 25 hours and an entire bottle of bourbon, Eddie is ahead over $18,000, but loses it all along with all but $200 of his original stake. At their hotel later, Eddie leaves half of the remaining stake with a sleeping Charlie and leaves.

Eddie stashes his belongings at the local bus terminal, where he meets Sarah Packard (Piper Laurie), an alcoholic “college girl” who walks with a limp. He meets her again at a bar. They go back to her place but she refuses to let him in, saying he is “too hungry.” Eddie moves into a rooming house and starts hustling for small stakes. He finds Sarah again and this time she takes him in, but with reservations.

Eddie returns to challenge Fats again, putting up his entire $3,000 stake on a single game. He wins game after game, beating Fats so badly that Fats is forced to quit. Bert demands a share of Eddie’s winnings but Eddie, invoking the memory of Sarah, shames Bert into giving up his claim.