Cool Hand Luke (1967)

STUART ROSENBERG

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBBB.  USA, 1967.  Jalem Productions.  Screenplay by , , based on the novel by Donn Pearce.  Cinematography by .  Produced by .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  Academy Awards 1967.  Golden Globe Awards 1967.  

Paul Newman plays the title character, a man so named because of his peaceful countenance among the prisoners on a California chain gang. A former war hero, Luke was picked up by police for getting drunk and destroying a row of parking meters, put into prison and forced into the degrading circumstances that inmates there find themselves in. His refusal to have his spirit beaten out of him makes him at first an enemy of the unofficial leader of the prisoners (George Kennedy), later his best friend. The marvelous dialogue and superb direction make this one of the best prison-themed movies ever made, and Kennedy’s Oscar-winning performance is probably the crowning achievement of his entire career. Jo Van Fleet has one scene as Newman’s mother that she manages to get the most mileage out of:  it’s a heartbreakingly tender moment amid all the cruel savagery that the main character endures for the rest of the film. Gorgeous photography by Conrad L. Hall and a score by Lalo Schifrin (that later became the theme for the ABC evening news!)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s