Posted By: Coco Buchanan
Though I’ve seen parts of it before, I can’t believe I had never seen Cool Hand Luke in its entirety. It was an extra special treat that I, on my first time viewing it all the way through, got to see it at a screening at BAM. Directed by Stuart Rosenberg, this was an adapted screenplay from a 1965 novel by a former Floridian inmate, Donn Pearce. Essentially, it’s a story of this guy, Luke (played by the super, super hot-at-the-time Paul Newman), who gets thrown in jail for chopping off the tops of parking meters while intoxicated. Though the Christ-y-ness/martyr bullshit is super heavy-handed and unnecessary, I thought it was a really great film and story overall.
The strongest part of the movie is Newman himself. I can’t think of another actor from that time period who could pull off the subtlety and likability that this character requires. Not even archetypical anti-hero standby Hollywood leading men like Steve McQueen or Warren Beatty could’ve pulled it off. McQueen wouldn’t have been likable or handsome enough, and Beatty would’ve been too handsome and totally unbelievable in the role. Paul Newman has an incredibly varied sex appeal that I’ve really never noticed before until now. He’s at once tough, manly, emotive, cute, smart-alleck-y, smoldering, intelligent and subtle….even with those gorgeous, gorgeous eyes that one would have to be blind to miss. Dude, even Hunter declared him to be a “babe” as we were walking back to the train after the movie!