The Hustler: What they ate in this movie
I keep thinking it would be fun to blog about what people eat in movies, especially when a movie isn't about food and eating.
Eating scenes are notoriously tricky to film and, for reasons of continuity, to edit. Someone is always spotting the slice of pie that dwindles and grows back whole. So the absence of eating scenes in a movie doesn't necessarily mean anything -- it does, though, i think, in the case below.
I welcome your contributions. The next time you see a movie, try documenting what the characters ate, in and out of restaurants -- was it realistic? Did they ate like real-life human beings?
What they ate in The Hustler:
Not one person eats one thing.
And no one, not even Minnesota Fats, wonders what his next meal will be.
In the picnic scene, one of the few times anyone in the movie gets some fresh air, Piper Laurie’s character, Sarah, is seen holding a half a sandwich, but you never see her eating it.
When Sarah and “Fast” Eddie go to dinner at Parisien, a "fancy" restaurant that seems to be in their neighborhood, we see them having drinks before and after dinner, but we never see their meal — presumably they ate something.
And perhaps Sarah consumed a soft-boiled egg at breakfast in her apartment — we see an empty egg cup. Eddie asks her if she ever cooks (she's returned from the grocery store with mostly canned food): she says she occasionally fries an egg.
Otherwise, it’s liquor, coffee and beer for everyone, almost non-stop. And the absence of nourishment feels deliberate, as though Robert Rossen means for us to know that these characters are malnourished, soul- and otherwise. When, shortly after their meeting, in a bus-station cafe, Eddie kisses Sarah outside of her apartment, she stops him. “You’re too HUNGRY!”
It took me a solid two weeks to watch The Hustler. People whose movie taste I hold in high regard hold this movie in high regard; I thought it was boringly self-conscious about not being a Hollywood movie. It made me long for a Hollywood movie.