Breakfast is the day's most important mealCOOL HAND LUKE

With Paul Newman, George Kennedy, Strother Martin, J.D. Cannon, Jo Van Fleet, Lou Antonio, Ralph Waite
Directed by Stuart Rosenberg
Reviewed by JL

     Though hailed at the time for its grim realism, COOL HAND LUKE is a more tame depiction of chain-gang life than I AM A FUGITIVE FROM A CHAIN GANG, made some 34 years earlier. The film's main appeal lies in Paul Newman's portrayal of one of the iconic anti-authoritarian figures of the 1960s. His Luke Jackson is near-divine and Christ-like to his fellow inmates, although Luke himself is an insular and reluctant hero despite his natural charisma. The film's memorable supporting cast includes George Kennedy, who won an Oscar for his performance as a pugilistic brute whose hero worship of Luke helps him find his own streak of decency; and Strother Martin as the coldly efficient chain-gang boss who utters the immortal words, "What we got here is failure to communicate." 4 - JL

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