Cool Hand Luke

Year: 1967
Director: Stuart Rosenberg
Cast: Paul Newman, George Kennedy
One of the many American Midwest prison movies that features a headstrong inmate who refuses to break under the cruel will of the guards or warden, resulting in a titanic battle of wills.

In that regard it's like a more emotional The Longest Yard , but with far less comedy, a more dramatic aesthetic and not as clear an 'underdog wins' premise - given crystal-clear symbolism in that film by the climactic football game.

Throughout the whole film I never quite got a feel for who Luke (Newman) was or what made him tick - even when fried Dragline (a ridiculously young Kennedy) proudly bolsters him for not letting them break him, he quietly admits that they did. So it wasn't even as simple as being a story about a guy who could take anything and didn't let anything beat him.

Luke is put in jail after being caught sawing the heads of parking meters while drunk, and proceeds to unwittingly or unknowingly bait his captors with his transparent gaze, smarts and stealthy attitude.

It wasn't exactly entertaining, but thought provoking and affecting. Most interesting however is that if you grew up in either America or Australia in the 1970s, you heard part of the soundtrack every day ABC-owned TV stations and their worldwide affiliates adopted it as their theme music.

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