Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Cool Hand Luke (1967)

Road Prison 36:
Yeah, well. Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand.

Paul Newman was nominated for an Oscar and George Kennedy received one for his work in this allegorical prison drama. Luke Jackson (Paul Newman) is sentenced to a stretch on a southern chain gang after he's arrested for drunkenly decapitating parking meters. While the avowed ambition of the captain (Strother Martin) is for each prisoner to "get their mind right," it soon becomes obvious that Luke is not about to kowtow to anybody. When challenged to a fistfight by fellow inmate Dragline (George Kennedy), Luke simply refuses to give up, even though he's brutally beaten. Luke knows how to win at poker, even with bad cards, by using his smarts and playing it cool. Luke also figures out a way for the men to get their work done in half the usual time, giving them the afternoon off. Finally, when Luke finds out his mother has died, he plots his escape; when he's caught, he simply escapes again. Soon, Luke becomes a symbol of hope and resilience to the other men in the prison camp -- and a symbol of rebelliousness that must be stamped out to the guards and the captain. Along with stellar performances by Newman, Kennedy, and Martin, Cool Hand Luke features a superb supporting cast, including Ralph Waite, Harry Dean Stanton, Dennis Hopper, Wayne Rogers, and Joe Don Baker as members of the chain gang. ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide

Theatrical Feature Running Time: 126 mins
Cool Hand Luke (1967)

What we've got here is (a) failure to communicate From Wikipedia

What we have here is basically a narcissistic little brat that was only concerned about himself. It was a movie about "I". One of the aspects that came out was how alone Luke was. Even when he destroyed public property he had no one to share with, and when he was on the run he again left his only friend. When he had competition to prove his worth, it was in boxing and eating eggs. The only team competition that he engaged in was the street scene but again it was more of an emphasis on the two team leaders and not the cooperative aspects of the teams.

While the Liberals may look up to such a man, he was a selfish little man that instead of being with his mother as she passed away, he felt destruction of public property that served no purpose-I can see. What good was it to cut the heads off parking meters? Was he against the government dictating payments? The film clearly leaves more questions than it answers as to WHY?

After rejecting friends and family, society finally had enough and he was just quietly disposed of. Basically a case of Into the Wild (2007) without the wilderness destroying the man. Both were of men seeking suicide through acceptable means.

Noting brave or especially noble about the character of Luke. Even the phrase, "What we've got here is (a) failure to communicate", is really not that interesting.