Color of Money, The (1986): Scorsese Sequel to The Hustler, Starring Paul Newman in Oscar-Winning Performance

Buena Vista-Touchstone (in association with Silver Screen II)

Martin Scorsese’s “The Color of Money” is an enjoyable but ultimately mediocre–and impersonal–sequel to the much-admired Paul Newman film, “The Hustler” (1960), which was directed by Robert Rossen and received multiple Oscar nominations.

This was Scorsese’s second foray into mainstream commercial filmmaking after “Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore,” which won Ellen Burstyn a Best Actress Oscar. Though well-crafted and visually assured, due to Michael Ballhaus’s bravura camera work and Scorsese’s dazzling helming touches, “Color of Money” is glitzy but shallow, lacking the urgency, dramatic momentum, and the somber mood of the original.

At 60, Newman reprised his role of Fast Eddie Felson, the tough pool shark he created in 1961. In Richard Price two-generational scenario, adapted from the novel by Walter Tevis, the aging Felson takes a protg (Tom Cruise), an immature hotshot who reminds himself.

The fine ensemble of supporting actors include Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio as Cruise girlfriend, Helen Shaver as the woman in Newman’s life, John Turturro and Forest Whitaker.

Nonetheless, the movie finally won actor Paul Newman a belated Best Actor Oscar and gave Scorsese the clout to secure backing for a project he had struggled to make for years, “The Last Temptation of Christ.”

Oscar Nominations:

Screenplay (Adapted): Richard Price
Actor: Paul Newman
Supporting Actress: Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio
Art Direction-Set Decoration: Boris Leven; Karen A. O’Hara

Oscar Awards: 1


Oscar Context:

In 1986, the Supporting Actress Oscar went to Dianne Wiest for the Woody Allen comedy, “Hannah and Her Sisters,” and the Art Direction to the period piece, “A Room With a View,” which also won the Adapted Screenplay for Ruth Prawer Jhabvala.