The Hustler (1961) was the first truly iconic film of Paul Newman's career. It was nominated for nine Academy Awards: Best Picture, Actor, Actress, Director, Screenplay, Cinematography, Art Direction and two for Best Supporting Actor. The beautiful jazz score, finally re-released on vinyl, is by the composer Kenyon Hopkins (Baby Doll, 12 Angry Men, The Fugitive Kind).
A great and much-underrated composer of jazz-inflected film scores and musical portraits, Hopkins worked in television beginning in the mid-1950s and branched out into film scoring soon after. Hopkins was particularly adept at using jazz themes, rhythms, and orchestrations in his scores, often paralleling the down-and-out subjects and settings on-screen with what Basic Hip has called, "smoky, gritty, rotten-to-the-core jazz."