Film / The Cincinnati Kid

The Cincinnati Kid is a 1965 film directed by Norman Jewison and starring Steve McQueen, Edward G. Robinson, Ann-Margret, Tuesday Weld, Karl Malden, Joan Blondell, Rip Torn, and Cab Calloway.

A description of tropes appearing in The Cincinnati Kid:

  • The Ace: Lancey "The Man" Howard.
  • Always Second Best / Always Someone Better: Lancey Howard's cracking line at the end:
    "You're good, kid, but as long as I'm around you're second best."
  • Betty and Veronica: The Kid is dating Christian (Betty) who is pretty, sweet, and kind of dull, but he's drawn to the wild and sexy Melba (Veronica), who is married to a friend of his but constantly flirts with him. True to form, Weld is a blonde and Ann-Margret is a redhead.
  • The Big Easy: The film's setting is 1930s New Orleans.
  • Card Sharp: Shooter has the skills, but never utilizes them to uphold his reputation for honesty. Unfortunately, Slade blackmails him into cheating in the Kid's favor.
  • Cool Old Guy: Lancey. When he's played by Edward G. Robinson, it's a given.
  • Evil Is Petty: Slade loses $6000 to the Man in a previous scene and wants to see him gutted by the Kid. He is willing to threaten Shooter and the Kid to make it happen.
  • The Film of the Book: Based on a (now-forgotten) novel by Richard Jessup.
  • Good with Numbers: The night before the big game, The Kid is shown doing mental math exercises, presumably to give him an edge in poker. This is never brought up again.
    • In the original novel and screenplay, The Kid confronts Lancey after the final hand, lampshading the odds of that final hand and criticizing his highly illogical play.
  • Hometown Nickname: It's even the title of the film.
  • Interrupted Intimacy: Well, post-interrupted intimacy; Christian walks in on The Kid and Melba after they have finished up.
  • Love Triangle: Two of them. The Kid with Melba and Christian, and Melba herself with The Kid and Shooter.
  • The Magic Poker Equation: The climactic hand features a game of 5-card stud where The Kid (Steve McQueen) gets dealt a full house only to lose to The Man (Edward G. Robinson) and his straight flush. According to Anthony Holden in his book Big Deal: A Year as a Professional Poker Player, the chances of such a final hand are 45,102,781 to 1 against, and the situation in particular would only arise once every 443 years.
  • Moral Luck: As long as Stoner is winning, he's a hero. When he finally loses, everyone is upset with him.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Ann-Margret and Tuesday Weld, of course.
  • Only Known By His Nickname: Eric "The Kid" Stoner is almost never called by his real name.
  • Professional Gambler: According to everyone in the world of stud poker, Lancey is the best.
  • Really Gets Around: Shooter agrees to cheat for Slade because of a story about Melba that Slade was going to tell his kids. Melba continuously makes advances at The Kid throughout the film and eventually succeeds, which unfortunately lands him in hot water with Christian.
  • Screw the Money, I Have Rules!: Shooter turns down a bribe from Slade. In response, Slade calls in $12,000 worth of Shooter's markers and threatens to tell "stories" about Melba.