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THE STING (1973)


Tikisoo
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I just watched this last night for the first time and am a bit confused....and hope someone here can 'splain it. Everyone seems to love this film and I just didn't get it.

 

I loved the look of the film; the costumes, sets & such. I loved the chapters and the period Lydecker like illustrations for them. The music wasn't as annoying as I expected, either. It was very well acted & directed.

 

I found myself completely baffled by all the "jargon". Of course phrases like "take a powder" are familiar to me, but when they started talking about gambling, they were using phrases I hadn't ever heard before. After awhile, I was completely clueless as to what the heck was going on! I replayed conversations and still couldn't understand entire sentences. 

 

This made me wonder how anyone that English is their second language may feel?

 

*SPOILER ALERT*

 

Anyway, there seemed to be some plot point where Robert Redford's charactor was arrested. The police detective asked "where & when will this sting be?" (no pun)

 

The police threatened to implicate Redford's gf, so he reluctantly agreed to comply with the police to raid this planned sting. 

 

(MORE SPOILER!)

 

OK, so the sting goes on and the cops raid it. Newman's charactor realizes Redford was "in" with the police & shoots him. Then a cop shoots Newman. The police hustle "the mark" out the door and everyone laughs-it was all a staged act. No one's dead.

 

OK, well if the cops were "in" on the sting, why did they need to threaten Redford's charactor using his gf? It seems like they just showed this "arrested" scene to suck the audience into believing Redford's sold out his friend, Newman.

 

Thanks for any clarification.

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Spoiler Alert

 

1. FBI agent was a con man, who was in on the sting. That was for the benefit of the crooked cop who was after Redford so he would lay off Redford. The crooked cop (Charles Durning)was after Redford because Redford gave him counterfeit money. The crooked cop was blackmailing Redford. He wasn't really arrested, it was just a ploy to get the crooked cop convinced that Redford was double crossing Newman and to get him to stop chasing Redford around.

2. The phony FBI agent did not threaten Redford with his gf. It was Luther's wife that the phony threat was about. Again for the benefit of the crooked cop, ( Charles Durning) since he would know full well that the only threat that would work with Redford would be to threaten putting Luther's wife in jail.( again, this was just a con to convince Durning )

 

I hope that helps. I can definitely explain all of the film if you want thru a pm. Love The Sting one of my favorite films. Saw it a few times when it first was released and a few times over the years. Never get tired of this film.

 

In case you didn't realize, the woman he sleeps with was an assassin payed by Lonnegan to kill Redford. Newman was having Redford followed around in order to protect Redford.

 

Hope this helps.

 

 Lonnegan was conned out of his $500,000. the whole Sting was all about getting even with Lonnegan for killing Luther.

 

One of the great lines in this film was when Redford tells Newman that he doesn't know enough about killing. In other words to get even with Lonnegan, he wanted to do The Sting, because a con was something he knew about, not killing and he was going to get Lonnegan for killing Luther.

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Regarding the jargon:

 

This is a big issue when relating to any era or part of the world other than your own even if the language is your own.  I have watched so many British mysteries and read so many books by British authors that I understand the jargon and have no trouble with other accents within the English language.

 

For example: I've no trouble with the cockney in To Sir, with Love, but others need subtitles.

 

Regarding The Sting in particular:

 

I love this movie.

 

But the ending for me and everything surrounding it was ruined for me the first time I saw it by the fact that I am a fan of Remmington Steele and that Pierce Brosnan's character -whatever his real name was -was fascinated by movies.  One of the cases was based upon The Sting and I realized about halfway through the film that I knew already how it would end.

 

Great movie, though.

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Thank you lavender....I guess it was just too many plot points for me to follow. Plus, I guess it was just too confusing for me with all that odd slang used. I'll bet in subsequent viewings, the plot will be clearer to me.

 

I feel like such a dunce...

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You're very welcome Tiki. Don't feel like a dunce, I doubt anyone fully got all the plot points after only 1 viewing of The Sting. That's why I told you I've seen the film more than once. There are so many wonderful things about this film. The look of it, Scott Joplin's music, the clothes, the sets, the chapter cards, the great direction and acting, not the least getting to see Newman and Redford together and most of all such a clever plot and the humor. TCM will be showing The Sting again March 12 @ 8pm as part of the Sat. night Essentials. If you can, please try to watch it again. You may enjoy it more on your 2nd viewing :)

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But the ending for me and everything surrounding it was ruined for me the first time I saw it by the fact that I am a fan of Remmington Steele and that Pierce Brosnan's character -whatever his real name was -was fascinated by movies.  One of the cases was based upon The Sting and I realized about halfway through the film that I knew already how it would end.

 

Great movie, though.

 

If what I've read is true, this is a "going around, coming around" thing.  The first part of the story, involving the scam to recover Luther's money,  was supposedly inspired by the Maverick episode "Shady Deal at Sunny Acres".  As for Remmington Steele, if only he'd been for real; I'd have loved to match wits with him in movie trivia.  

 

Now that I know who played Luther; I'll have to watch it again.  He's the one man who could say "I am your father" to that fellow aka Darth Vader.

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