I was watching the film ‘Sleuth’ the other day in which Laurence Olivier plays a sociopath determined to terrorise Michael Caine’s character through a series of games.
It was inevitable, then, that they would find themselves playing snooker.
Sir Larry appeared at first glance to display great proficiency on the green baize although, on closer inspection, you can’t be certain it is him actually playing the shots. This begs the question of which player was brought in to act as his double (the film was made in 1972).
I can't quite picture Jim Meadowcroft as a celluloid star but stranger things have happened.
This character nominates each ball before potting them, including when he gets to the colours. Perhaps this is to help the American market understand the rules, or indeed the British market considering TV coverage of snooker was at this time confined pretty much to Pot Black.
Lord Olivier completes his break with an exhibition shot on the black that Jimmy White would have been proud of.
It is showboating of this sort that marks his character out as a wrong ‘un.
(He later calls Caine a 'jumped up pantry boy who never knew his place', so Morrissey probably owes him a few quid).
Martin Scorsese’s film Gangs of New York also features a snooker heavy scene in which David Hemmings pots a blue, screws back for the pink and is unable to finish his break due to his house being invaded by a marauding horde of rioters determined to drag him out by his very guts.
And people complain about Newport.
Actually, Gangs of New York is set in the 1860s but snooker is not commonly believed to have been invented until 1875, so this appears to be dramatic licence on the part of Hollywood.
Then again, this sort of trouble seems relatively minor when set against the various civil wars that have so damaged the sport over the last couple of decades.
Maybe someone should make a film about them.
The Bourne Altium, anyone?