Wednesday Night at the Movies: Cool Hand Luke (1967)

40 years. That's how long it was between the first time I saw this movie, as a kid at my grandparent's house, and last night. Back then, it was a fairly newly released movie, playing on one of the three network's (We only had three back then, for all you younger readers out there...). That was when you were almost guaranteed a recent release to be shown on prime time TV. Of that first experience, I only remembered Strother Martin's famous line "What we have here is failure to communicate" and the egg eating scene.

Flash foward to 40 years in the future, now. My library has a pretty good DVD collection, and I found out they were going to be getting this one. So I signed up to be the 1st in line to check it out. In keeping with what is a recurring theme, I did get a movie that won an Oscar, this one for George Kennedy's portrayal of Dragline.

I saw a lot of the movie with an eye for imagery, because early on I caught a scene thart harkened back to my viewing of One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest. In the scene just after Newman wins the egg eating contest, he is shown in a position that looks startlingly like he is in the Christ figure position on the cross. That colored the rest of my viewing, and yes, it does seem like Newman, like McMurphy in OFOTCN, is represented as a Christ figure for the inmates.

Luke starts out as a model citizen, but becomes distraught after the death of his mother, briefly played by Jo Van Fleet, an excellent scene in which it is foreshadowed that she is going to be dying soon. I don't know for sure, however, if it is just the fact that she hads died that sends him over, or if it is being subjected to time in solitary simply because the warden is sure he will try to run. the warden of course is proven right since that is exactly what Luke does first chance he gets.

Great movie.

1 comment:

Howard Bagby said...

I agree. That is a great movie. I own the DVD and last watched it a couple of months ago.