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Cool Hand Luke

5

It's easy to forget just how fine Cool Hand Luke is. The memory clogs up with triumphant fractions - the egg-eating; the blacktop reflected in the guard's shades; "What we've got here is a failure to communicate" - and you slide over the sheer quality of it all.

But it is a fine movie. From Paul Newman's indomitable free spirit Luke, through to the ensemble filling the southern jail he lands himself in (Strother Martin and George Kennedy down to Harry Dean Stanton, Anthony Zerbe and Dennis Hopper) to Stuart Rosenberg's brilliantly off-kilter, noirish direction, there isn't a bum note in it.

 

The absence of extras is a crying shame. This informed all other prison flicks (especially The Shawshank Redemption), it's close to Newman's best work and the bulk of the main players are still alive - it can't be that difficult to pull together a documentary, can it? Oh well, maybe there'll be a better edition when the film hits its 40th anniversary.

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