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HISTORY

On 17 Feb 1964, NYT announced that independent production company Filmways, Inc., had purchased screen rights to Richard Jessup’s new novel, The Cincinnati Kid. According to the 9 Feb 1964 NYT, the deal beat out a bid by Howard Gotbetter’s recently formed New Art Productions, which had previously optioned many of Jessup’s other literary and screen works. Jessup was also signed to write the script, and a 24 Feb 1964 DV news item noted that Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc. (MGM) would serve as both co-producer and distributor.
       A few months later, the 2 Apr 1964 LAT reported that Paddy Chayefsky had assumed writing duties. At this time, Spencer Tracy was also attached to star, and Steve McQueen joined shortly after. Just before production was set to begin, the 11 Nov 1964 Var announced Tracy’s departure following a dispute over script approval in which the actor unsuccessfully lobbied producer Martin Ransohoff to have his role expanded. While Edward G. Robinson quickly signed on to take his place, the 14 Nov 1964 LAT noted McQueen’s disappointment, as he had joined the project partly to work opposite Tracy.
       According to an 11 Dec 1964 DV production chart, principal photography began 30 Nov 1964. After just one week, the 9 Dec 1964 Var reported that director Sam Peckinpah had been fired and replaced by Norman Jewison. Peckinpah’s dismissal occurred following an incident on 4 Nov 1964, in which he excused the principal cast for the day so he could recruit a female extra to film an unauthorized nude scene that was not in the script. ... More Less

On 17 Feb 1964, NYT announced that independent production company Filmways, Inc., had purchased screen rights to Richard Jessup’s new novel, The Cincinnati Kid. According to the 9 Feb 1964 NYT, the deal beat out a bid by Howard Gotbetter’s recently formed New Art Productions, which had previously optioned many of Jessup’s other literary and screen works. Jessup was also signed to write the script, and a 24 Feb 1964 DV news item noted that Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc. (MGM) would serve as both co-producer and distributor.
       A few months later, the 2 Apr 1964 LAT reported that Paddy Chayefsky had assumed writing duties. At this time, Spencer Tracy was also attached to star, and Steve McQueen joined shortly after. Just before production was set to begin, the 11 Nov 1964 Var announced Tracy’s departure following a dispute over script approval in which the actor unsuccessfully lobbied producer Martin Ransohoff to have his role expanded. While Edward G. Robinson quickly signed on to take his place, the 14 Nov 1964 LAT noted McQueen’s disappointment, as he had joined the project partly to work opposite Tracy.
       According to an 11 Dec 1964 DV production chart, principal photography began 30 Nov 1964. After just one week, the 9 Dec 1964 Var reported that director Sam Peckinpah had been fired and replaced by Norman Jewison. Peckinpah’s dismissal occurred following an incident on 4 Nov 1964, in which he excused the principal cast for the day so he could recruit a female extra to film an unauthorized nude scene that was not in the script. According to the 8 Dec 1964 NYT, studio executives asked Peckinpah if he intended to use the scene for a “European version” of the picture, to which Peckinpah replied, “It’s for my own version.” Shooting was temporarily suspended to allow Jewison time to prepare, and all early footage was disposed.
       Meanwhile, Ring Lardner, Jr., had briefly taken over scripting, but Terry Southern and Charles Eastman were hired to collaborate on a new draft. A 4 Aug 1965 DV brief indicated that the official designation of screen credit only acknowledged Lardner and Southern.
       After a brief hiatus, the 21 Dec 1964 DV announced the resumption of photography at the MGM studios in Culver City, CA. According to the 27 Jan 1965 DV, an eighty-person unit spent eight days location in New Orleans, LA, before returning to California. A 17 Mar 1965 LAT article reported that filming concluded on 12 Mar 1965.
       Items in the 23 Dec 1964 Var, 31 Dec 1964 DV, and 5 Jan 1965 DV included L. Q. Jones, Jimmy Cross, and William Zuckert among the cast. Additionally, magician Jay Ose was signed as a technical advisor for the poker sequences. An obituary in the 30 Dec 1964 DV indicated that dialogue coach Norman Stuart was also involved in the production, but bowed out due to his father’s death in Philadelphia, PA.
       Once filming wrapped, the 15 Sep 1965 Var announced that Ann-Margret would record the picture’s title theme for RCA Victor; however, the version that appeared on the official soundtrack was performed by Ray Charles.
       According to the 18 Oct 1965 DV, the 15 Oct 1965 world premiere at New Orleans’ Saenger Theatre raised $7,246 for a hurricane relief fund. Twelve days later, the film opened at the Capitol and Tower East Theatres in New York City. The Los Angeles, CA, release followed on 5 Nov 1965 at the Paramount Theatre, and a 7 Jan 1966 LAT brief noted that a citywide expansion was planned for 19 Jan 1966. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
24 Feb 1964
p. 3.
Daily Variety
11 Dec 1964
p. 8.
Daily Variety
21 Dec 1964
p. 3.
Daily Variety
30 Dec 1964
p. 7.
Daily Variety
31 Dec 1964
p. 4.
Daily Variety
5 Jan 1965.
---
Daily Variety
27 Jan 1965
p. 2.
Daily Variety
4 Aug 1965
p. 2.
Daily Variety
18 Oct 1965
p. 3.
Los Angeles Times
2 Apr 1964
Section C, p. 6.
Los Angeles Times
17 Apr 1964
Section D, p. 15.
Los Angeles Times
14 Nov 1964
Section B, p. 7.
Los Angeles Times
17 Mar 1965
Section D, p. 13.
Los Angeles Times
21 Oct 1965
Section D, p. 10.
Los Angeles Times
7 Nov 1965
Section B, p. 17.
Los Angeles Times
6 Jan 1966
Section C, p. 10.
New York Times
9 Feb 1964
Section X, p. 9.
New York Times
17 Feb 1964
p. 27.
New York Times
8 Dec 1964
p. 56.
New York Times
28 Oct 1965
p. 48.
Variety
11 Nov 1964
p. 24.
Variety
9 Dec 1964
p. 24.
Variety
23 Dec 1964
p. 15.
Variety
15 Sep 1965
p. 68.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
COSTUMES
Cost des
MUSIC
Orch cond
SOUND
Rec supv
MAKEUP
Makeup supv
Hairstyles
PRODUCTION MISC
Unit prod mgr
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel The Cincinnati Kid by Richard Jessup (Boston, 1963).
SONGS
"The Cinicinnati Kid," words and music Dorcas Cochran.
DETAILS
Release Date:
27 October 1965
Premiere Information:
New Orleans premiere: 15 October 1965
New York opening: 27 October 1965
Los Angeles opening: 5 November 1965
Production Date:
30 November 1964--12 March 1965
Copyright Claimant:
Filmways, Inc.
Copyright Date:
21 September 1965
Copyright Number:
LP31708
Physical Properties:
Sound
Westrex
Color
Metrocolor
Duration(in mins):
113
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

The Cincinnati Kid is king of the local stud poker players in New Orleans in the 1930's, but Lancey "The Man" Howard is the national champion. Howard comes to New Orleans for a private match with Slade, a wealthy local businessman, on whom he inflicts heavy losses. The Kid's friend Shooter, known for his honesty, is dealer for these private games and suggests a match between Howard and The Kid. Christian, The Kid's girl friend, leaves town to visit her parents. Slade, betting heavily on the match in an attempt to recoup his losses, puts pressure on Shooter to slip The Kid winning cards. The Kid learns of the machinations during the long game and, even though he could easily win, substitutes Lady Fingers for Shooter as dealer. Melba, Slade's wife, taking advantage of Christian's absence, starts an affair with The Kid during a break in the game. The climax of the match occurs when The Kid loses everything on a full house to Howard's straight flush. The Kid also loses Christian when she finds out about his affair with Melba. The Kid starts out again on the streets, playing for coins against a shoeshine boy but still retaining his ... +


The Cincinnati Kid is king of the local stud poker players in New Orleans in the 1930's, but Lancey "The Man" Howard is the national champion. Howard comes to New Orleans for a private match with Slade, a wealthy local businessman, on whom he inflicts heavy losses. The Kid's friend Shooter, known for his honesty, is dealer for these private games and suggests a match between Howard and The Kid. Christian, The Kid's girl friend, leaves town to visit her parents. Slade, betting heavily on the match in an attempt to recoup his losses, puts pressure on Shooter to slip The Kid winning cards. The Kid learns of the machinations during the long game and, even though he could easily win, substitutes Lady Fingers for Shooter as dealer. Melba, Slade's wife, taking advantage of Christian's absence, starts an affair with The Kid during a break in the game. The climax of the match occurs when The Kid loses everything on a full house to Howard's straight flush. The Kid also loses Christian when she finds out about his affair with Melba. The Kid starts out again on the streets, playing for coins against a shoeshine boy but still retaining his honor. +

GENRE
Genre:


Subject

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.