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4.8 out of 5 stars
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4.8 out of 5 stars
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on 24 May 2017
Some people would have you believe that The Sting did not deserve it's 1973 best picture Oscar, that maybe it should've gone to the Exorcist. They are wrong The Sting is a brilliantly made and performed movie, it is a delightful film led by it's 2 lead stars at the height of their fame who spark off each other wonderfully just as they did in Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid. But it is not only the stars who recommend the film the supporting cast is very strong with lots of familiar character actors such as Charles Durning in excellent supporting roles. Also Robert Shaw provides a suitably roguish villain and director George Roy Hill evokes the style of old films with cards appearing on screen to announce the next stage of the film aping silent movies, then there is the use of editing wipe cuts that again evoke an earlier type of film making and finally to enhance the atmosphere of an earlier age there is Marvin Hamlish's arrangements of Scott Joplin's ragtime music.
The film is a tale of revenge, how some con men take revenge on a gangster who has killed one of their friends and the story is about how they achieve that revenge, the script creates an intricate and satisfying plot and the performances of Robert Redford and Paul Newman are the epitome of a star performance, very charismatic and enjoyable. So the film is a brilliantly constructed piece of entertainment that was well worth it's best picture Oscar and is a movie that is well worth seeing.
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on 20 March 2017
The film is so good that you have to watch it three times as there are so many twists and turns.The sound/picture quality is what you would expect.If you have not seen it buy it as it is so good,if you have seen it,still buy it to remind you how good it is
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on 7 April 2017
Excellent con film with a twist and great acting from the 2 protagonists, you need to concentrate but it is worth it!
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on 6 February 2015
Excellent production with Robert Redford and Paul Newman in the lead roles.
Brilliant film score music, Scott Joplin.
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on 24 March 2017
The sting film I found very enjoyable. Excellent performances from Paul Newman Robert Redford and Robert Shaw. A most inspiring and clever plot devised to defraud a mobster.
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on 8 August 2017
Good movie well presented in the box
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VINE VOICEon 9 September 2013
The Sting is a classic con film. Anything with Redford and Newman is bound to be great, but the Sting has a story that surpases even these two great thespians. I have been after Universal's remastering on Blu Ray for a while, and have finally got a copy. First of all hats off to Universal, it looks stunning. I have another 100th anniversay Blu Ray: To Kill A Mocking Bird, and it's unbelievable how good it looks. The Sting is the same. I love the fact they kept the deep shadows in this film, as apposed to trying to brighten and gain more clarity. Some films need that depth. The murky back streets and alleyways and the dinners and shops and Chicago all come alive with such beautiful detail. Everything looks fresh and new. The sound is also great, capturing the Scott Joplin rag time soundtrack really well and the sounds of the streets too. For those that love this film, do yourself a favour and upgrade to Blu Ray and see it as its meant to be seen.
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The 70s was an uncertain decade for the Hollywood studios, many of whom were hovering on the verge of bankruptcy in the face of declining audiences and stronger competition from television. One of the most desperate responses was an almost industry-wide appeal to nostalgia with a slew of films set in the Twenties and Thirties when moviegoing was at its height, resulting in a few modest hits (Paper Moon, The Great Gatsby), many big disappointments (The Day of the Locust, Lucky Lady, The Great Waldo Pepper, The Last Tycoon, Valentino), and a few outright box-office disasters (At Long Last Love, The Boy Friend, Won Ton Ton The Dog Who Saved Hollywood, Doc Savage). Only one was a genuine blockbuster: The Sting. It's not hard to see why. David S. Ward's ingenious screenplay perfectly captures the spirit of the Warner Bros. films of the Thirties, surrounding its superstar leads Newman and Redford and Robert Shaw's genuinely dangerous villain with a richly drawn and well cast rogue's gallery of supporting players - Eileen Brennan, Harold Gould, Ray Walston, Charles Durning, Jack Kehoe - who could have stepped right out of a James Cagney or Edward G. Robinson film. They're not parodies or sendups but perfectly realised scene stealers who all have something to do in the film's plot - or rather plots, since there's always at least two things visibly going on at any one time and a lot more that isn't immediately visible to the naked eye as well. It's that ability to second guess not just the intended victim of the team of conmen out for revenge but the audience as well, and unlike most twist-in-the-tail movies, this is one that stands up to repeat viewings to see just how cleverly the film misdirected your attention to pull the wool over your eyes. More intriguing still, it doesn't cheat - it just relies on you to think what it wants you to while at the same time constantly explaining exactly how it gets you to look the wrong way.

Better still, it's actually fun while at the same time being set in a wonderfully realised rundown Thirties (even if the terrific Scott Joplin score is out of period) that's far from romanticised: these are desperate times filled with dangerous people who aren't afraid to kill just to save face. It raises the stakes, increases the odds against our heroes and keeps everything from being too easy or running too much to plan while still relying on brain rather than brawn to get the job done. It's a wonderfully smart entertainment, delivered with real but unshowy style by director George Roy Hill, who uses Golden Age Hollywood conventions like the cast's old-fashioned screen credits and classy Saturday Evening Post-style 'chapter cards' while still keeping it at once modern and timeless.

Universal's Blu-ray edition is essentially the same extras package as the DVD, but that includes not upgrading them for the higher resolution format. The excellent 56-minute documentary The Art of The Sting reunites most of the key players with the exception of Hill (whose Parkinson's Disease kept him from contributing) and is pleasingly detailed, but unfortunately the documentary hasn't been enhanced for widescreen TVs, which means fullframe 1.33:1 interviews give way to letterboxed extracts from the film that look like postage stamps in the centre of the screen. The trailer has the same problem and is similarly presented in standard definition, with the only HD extras being a trio of new featurettes for Universals 100th anniversary that appear on some other titles - Restoring the Classics, The Lot and The 70s, the latter being the only one to feature the film itself. The initial copies of the Blu-ray came in a nicely produced 40-page digibook, though most copies are now in a standard plastic jewel case. The picture quality on the feature is a very respectable anamorphic widescreen transfer that has few of the more noticeable problems that some of Universal's other back-catalogue titles have from the studio's tendency to overdo the DNR.
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*** THIS REVIEW IS FOR THE 2012 BLU RAY 'COLLECTOR'S SERIES' BOOK PACK VERSION ***

In April 2012 Universal Studios was 100 years old - and to celebrate that movie-making centenary - they've had 13 of their most-celebrated films fully restored for BLU RAY. But it doesn't stop there. As many as 80 other titles will be given US re-launches across the year each featuring distinctive "100th Anniversary" gatefold card-wrap packaging - and in some cases a host of new features. 1973's "The Sting" is one of the thirteen singled out for full restoration (see list below) - and like the other BLU RAYS in this series so far - is very tastefully done.

UK released Monday 11 June 2012 - "The Sting Collector's Series" comes in a gorgeous limited edition 40-page 'Book Pack' (Barcode 5050582893151). The outer hardback holder has an awkward card wrapped around it which is attached at the front with a flimsy circular sticker - not the most eloquent of objects it has to be said and it contains info that isn't on the back sleeve of the book pack - so you don't want to lose it. It's hard to keep in place without damage - so I put the whole shebang in a plastic sleeve for protection. It's also worth noting that most of the AMERICAN issues are 'two-disc' sets containing the BLU RAY, the DVD and also means to obtain a Digital Copy via download. It appears that the UK issues will contain ONLY the BLU RAY in the Book Pack. However, if you want say "Out Of Africa" or "Buck Privates" (which have yet to be given UK releases) - then the US issues will do because their non-region coding will allow them play in all machines.

PICTURE QUALIUTY:
Digitally remastered and Fully Restored from Original Film Elements - Universal are reputed to have stumped-up over $300,000 for the restoration - and the results are wonderful for about to 90 to 95% of the time. The opening four minutes will worry fans because the definition is slightly hazy - but once past that - there is a steady stream of moments that are truly breathtaking throughout the duration. Filmed largely on sets on the Universal lot - the quality lighting is consistent throughout even in those difficult and darkly lit night sequences. There is (it has to be said) slight blocking and grain at some points - but mostly you're enjoying the overall sparkle of the print too much to notice.

And because it's uber clean - it accentuates so much. We finally get to see the immaculate costumes of the legendary EDITH HEAD (suits, ties, shirts, hats, overcoats). Then there's the awesome sparkle of Paul Newman's famous blue eyes and Robert Redford looking so handsome in every shot that you just want to hit him! The clarity continues right through the plot cards to the closing credits - which are so clean it could have been done yesterday. The transfer is not all perfect by any means - but at times - this is as beautiful and as filmic as I've ever seen. The audio is crisp and clear too.

FILM ITSELF:
You also forget why it received 10 Oscar nominations and won seven - including Best Picture. Everything about "The Sting" works - the charisma of the three principal leads - Paul Newman as Henry Gondorff the master of the 'big con', Robert Redford as the reckless and wild small-time hustler Johnny Hooker and Robert Shaw as the vicious and egotistical Chicago mobster Doyle Lonnegan. Then there's the fantastic ensemble cast - Charles Durning as the corrupt Lt. Snyder, Eileen Brennan as the madam Billie who runs a bordello over an amusement arcade and Harold Gould as the dapper Kid Twist who hires the crew that will bring down Lonnegan on a racetrack scam (he wants the crew to be "The Quill..." which is Grifter-speak for the best). Aiding Gondorff in this endeavour is Jack Kehoe as Eric The Kid - a small-time Grifter who wants revenge for a friend's death at the hands of the mobster Donegan, Ray Walston as J.J. Singleton who helps in the poker game scam and reads out the wire in the bogus betting parlour, John Heffernan who quits his dreary bank job in a heartbeat to join Gondorff's crew as a teller and Dana Elcar as the supposed FBI agent. You may even recognize the dulcet tones of Robert Earl Jones as Harvey the Grifter at the beginning of the movie who gets killed - his son is James Earl Jones - the voice of Darth Vader in Star Wars. The other big ingredient of course is the superlative and evocative film score by Marvin Hamlisch that brilliantly reintroduced Scott Joplin's ragtime music to the world.

BOOKLET:
The 40-page booklet is pure eye candy as you can imagine. It opens with a 2-page appreciation by film-critic and historian Leonard Maltin, a pictorial actor/character "The Players" list, 2-page spreads on Newman, Redford, Shaw and George Roy Hill, reproductions of the script, Edith Head's design drawings, Advert campaigns, a piece on the composer Marvin Hamlisch and the music, Oscar nominations, telegrams of congratulations etc. Lovely to look at...

EXTRAS:
Having directed Redford and Newman in "Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid" - GEORGE ROY HILL was the Director of choice for "The Sting". His almost army-like style is discussed in the pleasingly long and detailed principal extra "The Art Of The Sting" which is divided into 3-parts (55 minutes). He was clearly admired by the actors who trusted his vision (he won the Oscar for Best Director) - it's just such a shame there's no interview with him to illuminate the proceedings. It's also clear that both Redford and Newman who mention each other in the present tense were filmed just prior to Newman's sad passing in 2008. Charles Durning and newcomer Dimitra Arliss give telling and superb recollections of the shoot (how Shaw got his limp) - and both speak highly of the three principals - and the sheer 'fun' it was making the film. They also quite rightly keep referring to David Ward's almost 'perfect' script - which he'd worked on for a whole year.

To sum up - I've loved re-watching this timeless caper movie in such top-notch quality. And it's heartening to see Universal Studios finally throw some proper money at the preservation of their movie legacy - and be proud about doing so too. I'm collecting the whole series - and live in hope that other studios respect their past in the same glorious way.

In 2013 "The Sting" will be 40 years old and (not surprisingly) has stood the test of time.
This 2012 BLU RAY is a lovely reissue of it - and for fans of this glorious Americana piece - a must buy.

BLU RAY Specifications:
EXTRAS:
1. The Art Of The Sting - A 3-Part Documentary. Features interviews with Robert Redford, Paul Newman, Charles Durning, Ray Walston, Eileen Brennan, Dimitra Arliss, Marvin Hamlisch (Music) and David S Ward (Script) (55 minutes)
2. 100 Years Of Universal: Restoring The Classics. A look at the intricate process of fixing the fading negatives (scratches, tears, colour loss, grain) and audio (overbearing hiss) by the experts involved (10 minutes)
3. 100 Years Of Universal: The 70's. A look at the iconic films and moviemakers of that time - Spielberg, Landis etc (11 minutes)
4. 100 Years Of Universal: The Lot. A behind-the-scenes look at what was done on the famous Universal Studios lot (10 minutes)
5. Theatrical Trailer

VIDEO: 1080p High-Definition Widescreen 1.85:1
AUDIO: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, French, Italian, German, Spanish DTS Mono 2.0 and Japanese DTS 5.1
SUBTITLES: English SDH, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Japanese, Cantonese, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Greek, Icelandic, Korean, Norwegian, Portuguese, Swedish and Traditional Mandarin

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

PS: UNIVERSAL RESTORED CLASSICS ON BLU RAY
If you search Listmania on Amazon UK for "Universal 100th Anniversary - Restored Films To Blu Ray"
It will give you my visual list of the following 20 titles. The list also contains fuller details on the releases, region coding, packaging etc.
As noted below - some are reviewed too...

1. Abbott And Costello in Buck Privates (1941) BOOK PACK
2. Abbott And Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948) BOOK PACK
3. All Quiet On The Western Front (1930) BOOK PACK [see Detailed Review]
4. The Birds (1963) [no individual release as yet - but the restored version is part of the "Alfred Hitchcock Masterpiece Collection" Box Set]
5. The Creature From The Black Lagoon (1954)
6. Dracula (1931)
7. E.T. - The Extra Terrestrial (1982)
8. Frankenstein (1931)
9. The Bride Of Frankenstein (1935)
10. The Invisible Man (1933)
11. Jaws (1975) [BOOK PACK version is USA-only - see visual list]
12. The Mummy (1932)
13. Out Of Africa (1985) [BOOK PACK] [see Detailed Review]
14. The Phantom Of The Opera (1943)
15. Pillow Talk (1959) [BOOK PACK] [see Detailed Review]
16. Schindler's List (1993) Release date to be advised...
17. The Sting (1973) [BOOK PACK] [see Detailed Review]
18. To Kill A Mockingbird (1962) [BOOK] [see Detailed Review]
19. Universal's Classic Monsters - The Essential Collection
Released both USA and UK (non-region coding so will play on all machines) in October 2012 - this superb 8-disc box set contains Dracula (1931), Frankenstein (1931), The Mummy (1932), The Invisible Man (1933), The Bride Of Frankenstein (1935), The Wolf Man (1941), The Phantom Of The Opera (1943) and The Creature From The Black Lagoon (1954). There's also a 'Coffin' shaped version of this box set that is a limited edition. Both come with booklet and poster prints for each of the movies.
20. The Wolf Man (1941)

PPS: For a list of the 'USA' titles in the "100th Anniversary" series to date (Oct 2012) see the 'comment' section attached to this review (60+ BLU RAY and 90+ DVD).
There are a large number of great films available Stateside that have no UK or European release date as yet. However, most are Region Free so will play on UK machines - but check this first to be sure...
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on 5 April 2017
Great film! Great music by Marvin Hamlisch and Scott Joplin. Such charismatic stars in Paul Newman and Robert Redford. What support from Robert Shaw, Eileen Brennan, Charles Durning and others! It didn't win seven Oscars for nothing and is one of those films that is so entertaining that you really can watch it again and again - probably why I bought it! The 1920s depression setting is wonderfully brought to the screen. As someone described the film to me before I'd seen it is encapsulated by my heading above.
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