Cool Hand Luke (1967)
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Frank Pierson, Donn Pearce
Paul Newman, George Kennedy, J.D. Cannon, Strother Martin, Dennis Hopper, Anthony Zerbe, Lou Antonio, Wayne Rogers, Harry Dean Stanton, Ralph Waite, Joe Don Baker, Richard Davalos, Jo Van Fleet, Robert Drivas, Clifton James, Morgan Woodward, Luke Askew, Robert Donner, Warren Finnerty, James Gammon, Rance Howard, John McLiam, Charles Tyner, Donn Pearce, James Jeter, Buck Kartalian, John Pearce, Marc Cavell, Charles Hicks, Robert Luster, Eddie Rosson
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Would You Walk A Mile For Paul Newman's Smile?
Favorite Movie Quote: "What we have here is a failure to communicate!"
Do you know (and do you care?) that this highly-praised, much-beloved, "Rebel-Without-A-Cause" prison picture is actually a bit of a Bible story in disguise? It's true!
With deliberate intent, director Stuart Rosenberg saw to it that Newman's Lucas Jackson character was viewed as being something of a Christ figure. That's right.
Throughout the story Lucas was portrayed as being an anti-hero saint who first wins over his fellow man and then is ultimately crucified.
After Lucas wins the egg-eating bet this Christ-like persona is made even more apparent when he is left lying out on the table in the position of Christ at crucifixion.
As well, Luke sings the little ditty "Plastic Jesus" after learning of his mother's death. And near the end of the film Luke "talks" to God. This moment was meant to evoke the conversation that supposedly took place between Christ & God at the Garden of Gethsemane.
All-in-all - I found this whole religious angle to the story to be very unwelcome.
To me, Lucas was nothing but an apathetic loser who deserved to go to prison for foolishly cutting the heads off of dozens of parking meters. And this religiousness just rendered this 1967, Florida, chain-gang picture as being even more of a dim-witted dud than it already was.
As I understand it, Cool Hand Luke is considered by many to be a glowing, glittering gem of classic, American film-making. But, hey, that's certainly not how it struck me!
Cool Hand Luke was, pretty much, just an over-long tale about an unlikable, smirking loser. Its underlying message was as pretentious as a frickin' plastic crucifix.
Containing endless "filler" scenes that were clearly meant to showcase its big-name star, Paul Newman, this picture seemed to be more interested in giving the viewer endless opportunities to admire our star's baby-blue eyes, rather than anything else.
Personally, I thought that, at 42, Newman was way too old for his part.
It struck me as really peculiar that throughout the story it was repeatedly insinuated that Newman's character was a very complicated individual. But, time & again, I never learned anything worthwhile about him, at all.
I also found this film had a really annoying tendency to deliberately warp the rules of morality. This was particularly so when it came to the belligerent conduct of the prisoners and their clear defiance and disrespect of those in the position of authority.
Anyways - Only 2 stars for Cool Hand Luke.
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