Sunday, 20 November 2011

Best Supporting Actor 1967: George Kennedy in Cool Hand Luke

George Kennedy won his Oscar from his only nomination so far for portraying Dragline in Cool Hand Luke.

George Kennedy plays Dragline who is the sorta defacto leader of the prisoners when the nonconforming Luke (Paul Newman) comes into their chain gang camp. In his early scenes he is fairly hostile toward Luke. In these early scenes Kennedy does not make Dragline seem to be the boss of the men or anything like that, but rather he just is the most overwhelming presence in the place who clearly has been there for awhile. Kennedy has a strong presence int the film, and always makes it clear why Dragline is the most prominent member of the chain gang.

Kennedy is pretty good in establishing the illiterate Dragline as a fairly likable fellow who does just about anything to help pass the time in the prison. He makes his rather transition to liking Like rather natural actually even though it is a very fast one. He shows that Dragline basically has a certainly hostility to any new prisoner, but Kennedy fairly quietly shows that Dragline quickly sees something special in Luke that he can easily attach himself to, frankly just to again help himself in the prison life.

Kennedy best moments come in just his simple admiration he has for Luke later in the film. He shows such a genuine joy in everything that Luke does. Kennedy realizes the whole idea that Dragline seems to love Luke very well, by showing it as basically that he seems to worship the whole idea of Luke who refuses to conform to what the prison wants him. Kennedy honest enthusiasm in all of these scenes show how much Luke means not only to Dragline but all the prisoners, which is part of the reason why this film works.

I really do enjoy this work every time I watch the film as he is a warm presence throughout and succeeds in bringing an important facet to the film very much to life. My complaints would be that Kennedy from time to time does go a bit too far in his whole Dragline mannerisms that he becomes over the top. He does not do this all of the time that it becomes overly distracting, but  he does do it enough that it does become noticeable. Even with the overacting Kennedy gives good performance that properly fulfills Dragline's important role in the story.


dinasztie said...

I agree, I think though I saw the movie too long ago to be really sure.

Anonymous said...

Agreed, way too hammy