Friday, November 4, 2011

The Cincinnati Kid (1965)

"You're just not ready for me yet" - Cincinnati Kid

Most classic film enthusiasts consume films at a high rate. I am not one of those people. My slow rate of consumption leaves for a lot of new discovery. Having only seen two of Steve McQueen's movies prior to receiving a copy of the new McQueen biography, I thought it was a good as time as any to explore McQueen's body of work. I asked a few people which McQueen film they recommended I watch and pretty much received a list of every film the actor ever made. Carlos is a big Steve McQueen fan and was very excited about my new found interest in the actor. He showed me Bullitt (1968) and The Getaway (1972). But of all the McQueen films I hadn't seen, the first one on my list was The Cincinnati Kid (1965). Why? For various reasons. Stories set in the deep South are always so deliciously intense and I love anything sports related as long as it's connected with the 1920s/1930s. This film takes place in 1930s New Orleans and concerns itself with poker gambling (a "sport" of the elite and the lower class alike). It's got a magnificent cast including the beautiful 1960s starlets Tuesday Weld and Ann-Margret, the 1930s superstars Joan Blondell and Edward G. Robinson and the blue-eyed Karl Malden who always makes my heart melt a little whenever I watch him on screen. Steve McQueen just seems like the cherry on top of this delicious ice cream sundae of a film.

The Cincinnati Kid is not the best film I've ever seen but it's one of the coolest and most fun I've watched in a while. I was fascinated by Edward G. Robinson's tie pin and his glass of creme de menthe, Joan Blondell's fox stole complete with $100 bill in its mouth, the juxtaposition between sweet Tuesday Weld and the saucy Ann-Margret, how incredibly quiet Steve McQueen was and how well Karl Malden plays frightened characters. It's difficult for me to articulate why I wanted to watch this film and why I liked it. So I will allow these screen shots to express that for me.

Stay tuned, all of my screen caps (including several not posted here) will be available on the Out of the Past ~ A Classic Film Blog Facebook page!

There are lots of great overhead shots like this one. 

Train and Railroad track scenes always make me nervous. Run, McQueen run!

Could use some more Tabasco.

Tuesday Weld and Steve McQueen share a sweet yet oddly sexy scene together.

Do you always have to cheat?

Turkish bath looks pretty good to me right now.

What's up with that beer glass? What did Tuesday Weld eat? Should I make a Steak and Salad dinner? These are the type of random questions I ask myself throughout a movie.

You've got problems if there is a shooting range built into your home.

Frolicking in a field.

McQueen had a great smile. He should have used it more!

Pocket Watch sighting!

Two Hollywood legends meet again. Don't tell Blondell that Robinson called her an old b****.

Edward G. Robinson complained that Steve McQueen never looked him in the eye. Technically, he's looking at him here. 

Why are they sniffing the decks?

Karl Malden looking uber cool with his tie and matching pocket square. Dealin' out the cards.


Doubt that McQueen was tough? He's biting into a lemon. No joke. And he doesn't even wince from the sourness of the lemon juice. Amazing!

Bring out Lady Fingers!

See how that Fox Stole has a $100 bill in it's mouth. I'm guessing it's a $100 because Blondell is high class.

Another great overhead shot. If anything, this film is candy for the eyes.


  1. Great post and I love the screencaps!

    This film really does have a brilliant cast (only Edward G. Robinson could steal a scene from Mr. McQueen).

    And it's interesting how you mentioned Steve's quietness -- that's why he's so awesome. He was a hugely understated actor (like Gary Cooper), but also a hugely commanding presence. I just love him.

  2. I really like this movie, any Steve McQueen for that matter. Not mentioned is the great theme sung by the incomparable Ray Charles. That man was perfection.

  3. Millie - I know you love Steve McQueen! Thanks for stopping by. This is such a cool film.

    Readerman - Ah you have discovered my weakness. No wonder I was a musical failure as a young violinist. My orchestra teacher hated me. I am not very receptive to music but I appreciate you mentioning the theme song. It's something I neglected to mention.

  4. This is a favorite, especially the card playing scenes. I still crack up every time Blondell goes to deal and they zoom in on those man-hands doing complicated shuffles. While the final big hand almost plays like a something out of a Batman episode it still gives me chills every time.

    If I remember right Edward G's part was originally intended for Cary Grant. That probably would have been pretty cool in its own right, but from what we have here I'm glad it's Robinson!

  5. Cliff - I read that Edward G. Robinson's part was intended for Spencer Tracy. That would have been interesting. Tracy almost made it into a few films that McQueen made.

    They painted a man's fingernails pink to do the card playing scenes? Wow.

  6. You know I'm just guessing on Blondell's hands ... I'd feel pretty terrible if I was wrong and those were actually her mitts!

  7. Cliff - There a fun little video on the DVD with an expert card dealer teaching Blondell some tricks. I just assumed she trained and it was her but I wouldn't be surprised if they put someone in her place and if it happened to be a man, they painted her nails! Ha. :-) I think in Flashdance one of the stunt dancers was a man. You can definitely tell in the final dance sequence (I know 80s is not my territory but I do love that movie).

  8. That Turkish bath does look pretty good :) Great review as always.

  9. Wow how cool are you getting on a Steve McQueen kick!! Steve was my second celluloid hero after Cagney so he and i go back a loooong ways, and much like Cagney, the McQueen magic hasnt abated for me one bit in all these years! if anything i admire him more now than ever, simply a fantastic, underrated actor who could steal a scene by just being there. i def get a kick out of this film too Quelle! if nothing else how can you NOT enjoy seeing that cast in ANY film right? but its pretty well-done. i think McQueen and Eddie G's scenes together are the best stuff, they really electrify the goings on. In some ways Eddie G was playing the older more matured version of his "Nick the Barber" character in "Smart Money" made more than 30 years earlier. great review, love the screen caps, its def a visually interesting film. i dont know if you were aware that Sam Peckinpah was the original director for this film, but either left or was fired, not sure of the details. it all worked out in the end tho. Now, if you wanna see Steve McQueen smile a lot, just watch the Great Escape, which would be at the very top of my must-see McQueen list ;)


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