Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Best Actor 1967: Paul Newman in Cool Hand Luke

Paul Newman received his fourth Oscar nomination for playing Luke Jackson in Cool Hand Luke. 

Cool Hand Luke is a rather interesting film that shows life in a chain gang and how Cool Hand Luke refuses to conform to the system of the prison.

Paul Newman is very interesting as Cool Hand Luke, and his performance is essential to the success of the film. It is an interesting performance because it is not so much the intense acting of Newman here but it has a lot to do with just his presence. Here is a role that is seems only Newman could have really played. He fits the role perfectly. Only he could have really been described as Luke is by Dragline (George Kennedy).

Newman Carries himself perfectly in the role. He has the perfect amount of "cool" required for the role. The way he moves and his smile is just right to make him completely Cool Hand Luke. Lukes method of almost not caring what happens to him is handled by Newman perfectly. He makes Luke into a real guy but a very unusual one who has the incredibly unique way of carrying himself which conflicts with the conformity required from the prison and the society. Newman is just great in his casual way he handles the situations and he shows the character to be almost just slightly insane perfectly. Such as when he stands out in the rain yelling out, or when he refuses to stop getting up when Dragline was beating him.

Newman does not remain the same throughout the film though and Luke does suffer from his inability to conform. His scene where he tells the prisoners to stop feeding off him is great, because Newman shows the character does not have an infinite amount of patience or cool. Then later when he is briefly broken by the Warden is just perfect. His cries and inability are truly effect and Newman really shows that the man just cannot take anymore. Luke gains back his cool for a last scene where he talks to God which really perfectly personifies the character. A very good and memorable performance that it seems only Newman could play.