Who cuts the heads off parking meters in a drunken haze? Who sidesteps prison kingpin Dragline (George Kennedy) and bluffs his way through poker? Who paves a road in one day, and comes out of solitary confinement whistling? Who eats 50 hard boiled eggs, but manages to inspire his cellmates to eat rice for him? Fucking Cool Hand Luke (Paul Newman), that’s who. This classic prison drama is based on the 1965 novel of the same name by Donn Pearce.
The last time I saw Cool Hand Luke, I was in high school. I don’t remember it moving so slowly. Despite its many charms, a great story certainly not being the least of them, I got bored. What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate. “Plastic Jesus,” however, is awesome.
In 2005, the United States Library of Congress deemed Cool Hand Luke “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” and selected it for preservation in the National Film Registry (https://www.loc.gov/programs/national-film-preservation-board/film-registry/complete-national-film-registry-listing/).
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