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In The Sting, a key element lies in the fact that Lonnegan and his people do not realise that Hooker and Kelly are the same person. Why is this?

Questions to consider:

  1. How do Lonnegan's two goons know what Hooker looks like?
  2. How does Salino know what Hooker looks like?
  3. Doesn't Salino pick Hooker/Kelly up from right outside Lonnegan's place? Or, was this Gondorff's man?
  4. How do both these parties locate Hooker?

I realise that the story was set in 1936.

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The simplest and all-encompassing answer would be that this was in the 1930s, and that some of the people involved in the various storylines had only partial information, and that they did not necessarily (want to) share that information with each other.

No one prepared an organizational chart / PowerPoint presentation and held an online conference call to inform all of the various different participants - who had, in part, differing or even conflicting agendas - in order to get everyone "up to speed" and "on the same page."

Additionally, it appears to have been a very "fluid" situation, with constantly shifting circumstances - and lots of deception (this was a "con," after all)!

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  • This really does, to the extent possible, explain apparent plot holes. Even long-distance phone calls were a complex matter in those days -- I don't think you could ever pick up a Chicago phone and get "The Mick" in New York without scheduling the call with a long-distance operator who would then call you back when the call had been set up. Those born post Internet will have increasing trouble understanding the world view of characters in old movies. – releseabe Jun 19 '20 at 12:29

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