The Player (found pool film featuring Minnesota Fats; 1971)

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The film's poster.

Status: Found

Date found: 01 Apr 2024

Found by: FT Depot

The Player is a 1971 pool film that was written and directed by Thomas DeMartini. It features the most well-known pool player Minnesota Fats (real name: Rudolph Wanderone Jr). The film was a belated response to the success of the 1961 film called The Hustler.


Professional pool player Lou Marchesi is highly respected for his integrity as well as his skill at the game. One day, his girlfriend, Linda, introduces Lou to her old friend Sylvia. Taken with Sylvia’s beauty and sophistication, Lou falls in love with her, even though his friend Bill warns him that she is an opportunist. Sylvia is only interested in Lou’s money and makes no effort to understand him or his love of the game, and as a result, they begin to quarrel frequently. Frustrated by their relationship, Lou decides to take to the road to give Sylvia some time to think about their future. During Lou’s absence, Sylvia moves in with Bill. Lou, meanwhile, is touring the country, hustling people at pool games, something to which he vowed he would never sink. One day, Lou meets his old friend, famous player Minnesota Fats, and challenges him to a game. Knowing that his chances of winning are slim, Lou cheats in an effort to win, but Fats catches him, prompting the local player who is also in the game to demand his money back. Convinced that he was robbed, Lou ambushes the local man in a dark alley as he leaves the pool room, and after breaking a bottle of whiskey over his head, steals his money and returns home. When Lou finds that Sylvia has moved in with Bill, he returns to his old pool hall, angry and disappointed. There he finds Jack Colavita, another famous player, and in an effort to save his pride, challenges Colavita to a game. While Linda watches, Lou loses all his money as Colavita handily wins the game. After Lou walks out of the pool hall, broke and dejected, Linda follows and they reconcile.


  • Minnesota Fats as Himself
  • Jerry Como as Lou Marchesi
  • Rae Phillips as Sylvia
  • Carey Wilmot as Linda
  • Jack Olavita as Himself
  • Dick Nelson (credited as Richard Nelson) as Phil, the peanut butter man
  • Thomas DeMartini as One-Pocket Joey
  • Victor Anthony as Bill
  • Gordon Ogden as Walsh
  • Lee Edwards as Ed


  • Writer, Director: Thomas DeMartini
  • Producer: Gordon Ogden
  • Director of Photography, Editor: George Gilbert Daugherty
  • Set Decorator: "Bubba" Helmke
  • Costumes: Harry Rubenstein
  • Music: Shorty Rogers
  • Performers: John Bahler, Jackie Ward
  • Songwriters: David Craig, Shorty Rogers
  • Sound: Ryder Sound Service
  • Titles: Herbert Keeley Root, Inc.


Thomas De Martini was a professional pool player. It was produced by Gordon Ogden, president of the production company International Cinema. The film was shot in 1971 at Shopper's Pool Room in Baton Rouge, Los Angeles.


The film was released on August 18th, 1971 in Baton Rouge. The most known screening of the film took place on November 5th, 1971 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It only played for one week before pulling it out of circulation from Gordon's theater chain Ogden-Perry Theatres. Reportedly only 30 prints were struck.


For around 15-20 years, a print for the film sat in a theater until it closed. The theater’s projection service technician saw that it was discarded and took it with him when they were removing the projection equipment.

The technician then deposited the print at a drive-in theater they also worked at. However, it remained unused due to the end of the drive-in's double features, which left attendees fatigued.

On April 1st, 2024 the full film was restored and uploaded on YouTube by Film-Tech Depot.


The full film.

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