Faro Scene in ‘The Pale Blue Eye’
In late 2021, I had a fun and unusual assignment. Somebody with Netflix contacted me about a movie they were shooting at the time called The Pale Blue Eye, starring Christian Bale. He said the movie took place at what is now West Point in the year 1830. The book on which the movie was based had a poker scene. However, they believed that for that time faro would have been more popular and likely to be played. I agreed with their concern and to replace poker with faro.
The problem is faro is an antiquated game. We know the rules, but the game is so old that I doubt anybody who played when the game was in its prime is still living. So, we don’t know much about the procedures of the game. Netflix tasked me with advising on that. I was happy to rise to the occasion and help. While I am no expert on the history of faro, I doubt they would have found anybody better if I said “no.”
So, I looked at old pictures and used common sense to make my best guess. It was difficult to explain the flow of the game in words, so my contact with Netflix asked me to create a video showing the game being played. Two friends kindly agreed to help. With a poker table I converted to a faro table, we had some shooting the video.
In response, my contact with Netflix said they were looking for something that felt more natural and without my emphasis in the first video explaining the rules. So, I shot another one, where I instructed a different set of actors of the rules before we started and to just have fun with it. They were prohibited by me from asking questions about the rules at the table, to make it feel like they knew the game perfectly.
My guy at Netflix loved the second video and started to make arrangements for me to come out to Pennsylvania to advise on the movie set. That was very exciting! However, whoever was in charge of the budget pulled rank and nixed that idea.
Fast forward a little over a year and the movie recently came out. While the gambling scene was short, it was based on faro and the language used was straight out of my videos! I can’t think of a single thing to fault it about. It was certainly better than a faro scene in Tombstone where the dealer was actually dealing blackjack.
I just put together a YouTube video showing the actual faro scene in the movie and excerpts from my videos I made. Please enjoy!
I’m proud to say this is now my fourth entry in my IMDB listing. If anybody in television or the movies ever needs a consultant on casino games, please contact me.
In closing, I acknowledge that I signed an NDA with Netflix, which I strictly respected before the release. Now that the movie is out, I assume they won’t mind me writing about it.