Cool Hand Luke

1967, Movie, NR, 126 mins


Too cool for words, then switches past midstream into a work of poignancy and power. Not much has changed since Warner Bros in the 1930s, and it's interesting to realize, looking over Newman's career, how many overrated male-bonding, macho-buddy movies he has made. COOL HAND LUKE starts out that way with Newman as irreverent loner put on a chain gang for destroying parking meters. Kennedy won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar as the bastardly convict boss who tries to crack Newman; the comedic part of film is highlighted by a hilarious egg-eating contest, but LUKE gains additional steam thanks to an unforgettable cameo by Van Fleet and a sharp turn toward tragedy. Newman emerges as a victim more to be pitied than scorned or laughed with, adding a deeper tinge of revelance to the film.

Produced by Jack Lemmon's company for Warner Bros., the movie is set in the South but was actually shot near Stockton, California. Pearce, the author of the original novel, was a reformed safecracker and had served time in such a camp. He does a bit role as Sailor, one of the cons. Also in small roles are Joe Don Baker (WALKING TALL), Wayne Rogers (television's "M*A*S*H"), and Dennis Hopper. leave a comment

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