I wanted this to be a much better movie. It's got Steve McQueen, Edward G. Robinson, Ann-Margret, Tuesday Weld, Rip Torn, Cab Calloway, Joan Blondell -- it's just a ridiculously good cast. Oh! And Karl Malden, too. I love all those people! And I don't mind poker movies, either. But it didn't really cohere for me.
I think one problem I had was the realism. Not in the poker. I don't expect realism in poker scenes. But what's with the guys constantly spurning the advances of absurdly hot women? Tuesday Weld gets pushed away by Steve McQueen. Some very attractive woman (who's probably a prostitute) gets rejected by Rip Torn, who presumably already paid her to be naked in his bed in the first place. And Ann-Margret, who's just about as sexy a woman as you're likely to fine anywhere, gets rejected by both Steve McQueen and Karl Malden. If you ask me, Karl Malden has no business rejecting the amorous advances of a 1965-era Ann-Margret.
Don't get me wrong; the movie mostly works. Steve McQueen is very cool, Edward G. Robinson is a killer, and so on. But there were scenes (like the cockfighting scene) that just bored me.
The DVD has two special features that are both very dated. One is dated in a cool way: it's a 1965 featurette in which Joan Blondell learns to deal cards from a professional magician. It was quite enjoyable. The other one really dates the DVD, because it's commentary on the poker scenes from Phil Gordon... and Dave Foley. You might guess that this means that the DVD came out during their run of hosting "Celebrity Poker Showdown". And you'd be right! So if you enjoyed their schtick there (Gordon is kind of boring but knowledgeable, Foley is obviously drunk), here it is again.