A 2021 Film Journey: Day 116

With the specter of the Oscars in the rear view, it is time to return to more normal movie viewing. It is another late night tonight, but I am taking a bit of time off work to try and get my life a little bit more under control, so finishing tonight’s film after midnight was not as big of a deal.

Cool Hand Luke (1967, Dir. Stuart Rosenberg)

Is Cool Hand Luke a True Story? Is the Movie Based on Real Life?

It has been a while since I mentioned this, but while I am framing this as movies that are new to me, what I mean is movies that I have not watched since I started meticulously cataloguing the films that I watched. All that is to say, I watched Cool Hand Luke for a class my freshman year of college, but that was almost 14 years ago now (wow I feel old), so it feels like prime time for a revisit.

The 1967 prison break film holds up well after all these years. Paul Newman is perfect as the enigmatic Luke, a man who authority and they system has let down. Likewise, George Kennedy magnificently portrays Dragline the boisterous yin to Lucks cool and collected yang. The juxtaposition between the two characters creates a wonderful dynamic that keeps the film moving at an entertaining pace. When Luke is quiet and introspective, Dragline is always there to bring the hype.

The context in which I watched the film in college was for a section on alternative Jesus figures, and Cool Hand Luke is not subtle with the imagery. This is no more obvious than with the crucifixion pose of Luke post eating 50 eggs which is iconic if blunt. The constant religious imagery does tire after some time but building to the climax in the country church makes it all worth it. The film is still one of the all-time greats.

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