"There is always a philosophy for lack of courage."—Albert Camus

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The Fine Art of Thievery

The season-ending episode of Hustle, one of the very best programs currently on television, will be broadcast tonight at 10 p.m. EDT on American Movie Classics. AMC will begin cycling through all 18 episodes of the BBC-AMC co-production again on September 20, so feel free to drop in tongiht and see why I think this program is so good.

Hustle promo art

Hustle has a terrific mid-'60s feel to it, from the animated opening credits to the charming, rougish central characters (including Robert Vaughn of The Man from UNCLE fame) and on to the very concept of the program: a group of English confidence tricksters target deserving bullies and con them, to take away a bit of their money and as much as possible of their arrogance. The plots are tricky, sophisticated, and morally challenging, and they usually include a nice twist or two at the end. The con artists are likeable despite the questionable morality of their enterprise. Consider them to be avenging angels if if makes you feel better.

I'll write more about Hustle later, in particular drawing attention to the tradition of rogue heroes of which it is the latest noble installment. For now, watch and enjoy.

From Karnick on Culture.

3 comments:

Ed Darrell said...

Remember "The Rogues?"

http://www.tv.com/the-rogues/show/4288/summary.html

S. T. Karnick said...

But of course. I have one episode on VHS tape, which I bought for about $3. I wish some channel would show the series or whoever owns it would release it on DVD. Come on: David Niven, Charles Boyer, and Gig Young as crusading con artists working for the cause of justice! It's a classic American concept, and yes, it's an obvious inspiration for the English series Hustle.

Dave said...

The BBC has released the first two seasons on DVD in the UK. As US episode screenings are lagging behind UK episodes by several months - we saw the last of season three in April - you might have to wait a while before they are released on DVD over there.