The Color of Money: 25th Anniversary Edition (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)
July 4, 2012 by Dennis Amith
Paul Newman’s character of “Fast Eddie” returns in Martin Scorsese’s “The Color of Money”. Featuring a wonderful performance by Paul Newman and wonderful cinematography when it comes to capturing the essence of competitive pool play. But I wish the video quality of this Blu-ray would have been better.
TITLE: The Color of Money: 25th Anniversary Edition
FILM RELEASE: 1986
DURATION: 119 Minutes
BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (1:85:1), English 5.1 DTS-HD MA and French 2.0 Dolby Digital, Subtitles: English SDH and Spanish
COMPANY: Touchstone Home Entertainment
Release Date: June 5, 2012
Directed by Martin Scorsese
Based on the Novel by Walter Tevis
Screenplay by Richard Price
Produced by Irving Axelrad, Barbara De Fina
Associate Producer: Dodie Foster
Cinematography by Michael Ballhaus
Edited by Thelma Schoonmaker
Casting by Gretchen Rennell
Production Design by Boris Leven
Set Decoration by Karen O’Hara
Costume Design by Richard Bruno
Paul Newman as Fast Eddie Felson
Tom Cruise as Vincent Lauria
Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio as Carmen
Helen Shaver as Janelle
John Turturro as Julian
Bill Cobbs as Orvis
Forest Whitaker as Amos
Revisiting one of his most memorable roles, Newman stars as Fast Eddie Felson from The Hustler. Eddie forms a profitable alliance with the flashy and talented young pool shark Vince (Cruise), but all bets are off when Vince’s arrogance costs them more than just a few matches. Celebrate the 25th anniversary of this dazzling classic – now better than ever on Blu-ray!
Back in 1961, “The Hustler” directed by Robert Rossen and a film adaptation of the 1959 novel by Sidney Caroll was released in theaters.
The film would feature Paul Newman (“The Sting”, “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”, “Road to Perdition”) in the role of a small-time pool hustler named “Fast Eddie” Falson who wanted to become the best pool player in the world.
“The Hustler” was an amazing success, receiving nine Academy Award nominations and winning two. The film would earn Paul Newman a “Best Actor in a Leading Role” nomination and is considered a classic.
Over 25-years later, director Martin Scorsese and writer Richard Price would bring back the character of Eddie Falson for the 1986 film “The Color of Money”. A film adaptation based on the 1984 novel by Walter Tevis.
“The Color of Money” would feature Paul Newman reprising his role as “Fast Eddie” Felson but also star actor Tom Cruise (“Top Gun”, “Rain Man”, “Cocktail”) and actress Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio (“The Abyss”, “Scarface”, “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves”).
And similar to the first film, “The Color of Money” was a major success. Praised by film critics, influenced the popularity of pool like it did back in 1961 and also receive Academy Award nominations but this time, Paul Newman would win the Academy Award for “Best Actor”.
And now “The Color of Money: 25th Anniversary Edition” has been released on Blu-ray.
“The Color of Money” begins with Eddie Felson, now a liquor salesman trying to get the bar owner Janelle (as portrayed by Helen Shaver) to purchase some of the liquor he is selling. Meanwhile, a young man named Vincent Lauria (as portrayed by Tom Cruise) is beating everyone at pool. At the same time, Eddie who was once excellent in pool, has missed playing the game.
Seeing the potential within Eddie, he figures that he can use Vincent’s talent to make money for him and his girlfriend and manager, Carmen (as portrayed by Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio). So, Eddie returns to the life as a stakehorse and trains both Vincent and Carmen on how to hustle other pool players and make a lot of money.
And as Eddie teaches the two all he knows, wanting to get back into competitive pool playing, he decides to dump both Vincent and Carmen to pursue competitive pool play and recommends they go to Atlantic City and use the skills he taught them to make more money.
But what happens when both men take part in a professional tournament circuit and Eddie must go against his young protege, Vincent?
“The Color of Money: 25th Anniversary Edition” is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:85:1). First the good. The good news about the film is that the cinematography by Michael Ballhaus (“The Departed”, “Goodfellas”, “Gangs of New York”) is fantastic and he captures the essence of competitive pool playing effectively.
With that being said, now the bad. I don’t know what to say about the video quality of this film but to say that this is the first Blu-ray release that I have found myself extremely disappointed about a transfer. Colors are murky, muddy and just doesn’t look good at all.
For a 2012 Blu-ray release, there is no reason why a Blu-ray should look like its DVD counterpart. In fact, the first ten minutes into the film looks so bad. I have seen many films made decades before this film that look much better on Blu-ray but the colors for “The Color of Money” are murky, the film looked aged and there is a lot of noise (not grain). Not what I expected for a 25th Anniversary Edition release.
While the video does get better as the movies goes on, I’m quite shocked because I was really hoping for an amazing transfer in HD. But that was not the case…”The Color of Money” and its overall PQ was disappointing.
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
“The Color of Money” is presented in English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and French 2.0 Dolby Digital. The film is primarily dialogue driven but whenever you hear the pool stick hit the ball, there is a good use of LFE. The crowd ambiance is OK but for the most part, the film is dialogue driven. Music also plays a big part of the film and having owned the original soundtrack to this film, the music sounds good on Blu-ray but the film is primarily front and center-channel driven.
Subtitles are in English SDH and Spanish.
There are no special features included on this Blu-ray release.
For the 25th anniversary Blu-ray release of “The Color of Money”, I’m not sure what happened to this Blu-ray release but its the first time I watched a film and not only was it a barebones Blu-ray release but it sports possibly the worst video quality I have seen on Blu-ray.
But before I get to that, let’s discuss the film.
“The Color of Money” is a film that I recommend people to watch after they have see “The Hustler”. The first film is important to see where Eddie Felson is coming from, his life as a skilled pool player and his passion for making money through bets and why we see this hustler change in “The Color of Money”.
Paul Newman is wonderful as “Fast Eddie” and as much as he enjoys making money, he is also a competitive man. Sure, he’s been out of competitive pool playing for quite some time but when he starts to see his protege start to succeed as a hustler but also a competitive pool player, Eddie’s competitive spirit just comes out and quite simply, he wants to beat Vincent in a game!
Tom Cruise was good in playing the young pool hustler Vincent but his role was not as strong as it was in “Top Gun”. If anything, his character is cocky and often annoying.
And as much as I enjoyed Martin Scorsese films, “The Color of Money” felt incomplete. Yes, Paul Newman was fantastic. The way that Scorsese was able to make pool so entertaining to watch in the film was well-done. The storyline complimented his character amazingly well, but unlike “The Hustler”, I felt “The Color of Money” was not as good as its predecessor.
Which leads me to the Blu-ray release. How disappointed I was to see the film in such bad shape. I don’t think I have ever seen a film look so bad on Blu-ray and this is a rarity for me. And because the film looked so bad and this Blu-ray was a barebones release, it dampered my enjoyment of the film.
Overall, “The Color of Money: 25th Anniversary Edition” features a strong performance by Paul Newman but the film itself paled in comparison to its predecessor, “The Hustler”. But the poor quality of this Blu-ray release is surprising and there is no reason why this film should have looked this bad on Blu-ray. Unless you are a fan of the film or its talent, then I can understand why you want to get this film on Blu-ray. But if you are concerned about video quality, you may want to pass.
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