Saturday, March 15, 2008


Cool Hand Luke (1967)

A red ticket emblazoned with VIOLATION in white letters snaps onto the black screen. Then there's a grating grind and another VIOLATION ticket. And another. Then another. The head of a parking meter slams to the ground, and we are introduced to the beer-swigging Luke Jackson (Paul Newman) who continues to methodically decapitate a row of parking meters before he drunkenly thuds onto his ass. A police car with blinding headlights pulls up, Jackson is arrested, and we are immediately transported to a rural Southern road populated by prison-bound laborers and beaten down upon by a relentless sun.

Newman gives a great performance as an apathetic--but rebellious--war hero cum mischevious destroyer of municipal property who doggedly earns the admiration of his fellow chain gangsters, while plotting his escape from his dusty hell.

Also, I guess this scene featuring Joy Harmon, a wet summer dress, and soap suds isn't a bad reason to watch this movie, either.

- John C.L. Morgan

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