Reviews

Cool Hand Luke Deluxe Edition

5

Few stars have so determinedly sought to tarnish their own image as Paul Newman. The arrogant upstart of The Hustler, the noxious heir of Hud, the foul-mouthed failure of Slap Shot… Paul Newman: total bastard. Of course, it helped no end that he looked like Paul Newman. Those baby blue eyes, the coiled athleticism, body like Michelangelo’s David…

Apparently, as recounted on this disc, he maintained the look through a morning routine of 200 sit-ups and sticking his face in a bucket of ice. Not that Newman himself – now retired and retiring – contributes to the extras; that’s left to other key cast and crew members in a surprisingly polished and revealing Making Of. The commentary – from Newman biographer Eric Lax – is smart and informative too, making this worth shilling for even if you have the previously released vanilla edition.

And the film still stands up: swaggering and iconic 41 years since its release; full of affection yet somehow cruel… Newman goes through the wringer: beaten, abused, even his ‘fun’ – eating 50 eggs for a bet – is gruelling. Lukas Jackson is an inspiring but confusing character. He’s a free spirit despite being in prison, but his willpower and imagination could destroy him – and he’s out for himself, despite the worship of the other prisoners. Screenwriter Frank Pierson has said that he and late director Stuart Rosenberg had fundamentally different views on the character of Luke. The latter saw him as “an avatar of Christ”, while Pierson thought he was “Camus’ existential hero… It’s an odd mix, but the movie sure works.” It sure does.

Film Details

User Reviews

    • LiamEB

      Feb 21st 2009, 17:02

      5

      Is anyone cooler than Paul Newman? My personal favourite

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    • vanillasky

      Sep 16th 2009, 0:10

      5

      No, there is nobody cooler than Paul Newman. Steve McQueen thought he was but not a chance. The man is a legend and the perfect hustler.

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