Cool Hand Luke: A Classic Prison Film

         The film I chose to talk about for my fourth film essay is Stuart Rosenberg's 1967 classic Cool Hand Luke. I chose this film because I love both Paul Newman and George Kennedy's performances in it. This film is great because it starts off from where Paul Newman's character Lucas Jackson gets arrested, which leaves no clue about this character's past. As the film goes on Lucas is portrayed as anything but a criminal, and you cannot help but cheer for him to escape prison for good.

         This film is full of classical scenes. One of my favorites comes when Luke eats fifty boiled eggs because he completes his task with in a matter of seconds before his time is up. I also like the scene where Paul Newman and George Kennedy box because it really builds Luke's image as a whole. No matter how many times Dragline knocks him down, he just keeps getting right back up. The saddest scene to me is when Luke gets to have one last talk with his mother. When she dies he gets thrown in the whole so he will not try to escape for her funeral.

         This film is one of the first I can ever remember that almost entirely takes place at a prison. It has a sad ending when Luke gets shot, but it is also a very realistic ending because you know he was eventually going to get killed if he did not stop escaping, and he never did. This film is definitely a classic and in my opinion it is Paul Newman's best performance ever. Three of my favorite acting performances in film history are Newman in Cool Hand Luke, Beatty in Bonnie and Clyde, and Hoffman in The Graduate. Ironically all three of these performances were nominated for an Oscar in the same year, and none of them won it. In the end 1967 seemed as though it was a great year for American films, and especially the actors that stared in them.

Chad Cooper

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