From the Vault: Cool Hand Luke (1967)

Paul Newman is one of the greatest actors of our time and has been in many of the great movies of the 20th century. Cool hand Luke was the first movie that most people said I should watch after I saw Nobody’s Fool. That is when I learn how dominate this man was in Hollywood no he was not James Bond; but he was right there battling sometimes winning as far as Hollywood concerned he was.

Cool Hand Luke starts with are guy Luke (Paul Newman) cutting off the heads of meters in drunken foolishness. He ends up getting sent to a prison camp where we find out he is a war veteran, the prisoners call him Lucas the Hero. Luke does not realize that there is a pecking order in the camp and this causes conflict between him and Dragline (George Kennedy) they spar as guards watch. Luke takes a beating, but wins over the respect of the prison. Later Luke bluff in a game of poker and say, “Sometime nothing can be a real cool hand” Dragline nicknames him Cool Hand Luke. Then Luke is challenged to eating fifty eggs in one hour off of a bet between this and the way his spirits never waiver he is idolized by the prisoners. He has now endure time in the Box, challenges and harsh working environments he seems to be happy, to others dismay.

Luke is always evading the authority of the Captain (Strother Martin) by using the humor and his own independent attitude are beginning to make the other prisoners act out as well. This comes to a head when Luke wants to finish a road paving job in one day; this leads Luke to being labeled a trouble maker by the prisoner guards. Luke is told of his mother’s death and the Captain is positive he will escape so he puts him in the box, so Luke cannot attend his mother’s Funeral. After a failed escape under the cover of Froth of July celebration the Captain give us the famous line “What we got here……. is a failure to communicate.” Luke than escapes again using an axe to remove his chains and curry powder to shake his scent from the bloodhounds, this time his freedom is longer but still short. Luke however sends back a picture of him with two girls in a magazine to the prisoners. When Luke is captured beaten and sent back to the camp, he admits the photo was a fake after being teased and fawned over. Then he has a long stay in the box and is forced to eat a giant plate of rice, the prisoners help him finish.

Luke is a legendary figure in the prison and the Captain has decided it was time to end it. So he has Luke dig a hole in the yard the same dimensions of a grave, then beats him and repeats. Finally Luke gives in and lying down begs for mercy with the Captain seemingly happy with Luke giving up and spirit broke he sends him back to his bunk; Where a prisoner rips up a magazine with Luke’s picture. Luke finds an opportunity to escape in a truck and Dragline comes with him they make it to a church where they split up. Luke goes into the church and asks god what to do, then police cars are outside and Dragline comes in telling Luke to go peacefully. Luke makes a run for it jumps out a window and is shot; he dies on his way to the prison hospital… the one further away. The prisoners remember Luke and all the good times in the end.

Watch it again… get it now on Blu-Ray.

Originally published on PureStyle Magazine