Thursday, April 11, 2013

Cool Hand Luke

In a drunken, late night stupor, Luke Jackson (Paul Jackson) is arrested for cutting the tops off of a row of parking meters and sentenced to hard time in the prison chain gang. There his rebellious spirit makes him a favorite among the inmates and a target of the sadistic warden, who makes the escape inclined Luke a target of his brutality. Stuart Rosenberg's "Cool Hand Luke" features Newman's incomparable, iconic performance in a well-made film that often indulges in an overuse of symbolism. George Kennedy, an Oscar winner for a supporting performance I thought was aces as a kid, now seems screening gnashingly over the top while Jo Van Fleet is quite good in a one scene performance as Newman's sickly mother. It also must be said that viewing this alongside "I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang", Rosenberg's film owes much to that 1932 Paul Muni classic, which was likewise released by Warner Brothers.