By ROBSLEY AUGUSTE
Do any film fans remember this quote? “John-boy, lemme tell you something. You know, them chains ain’t medals. You get ’em for making mistakes. And you make a bad enough mistake, and then you gotta deal with the Man. And he is one rough old boy.” How about this quote? “My Lord, whatever I done, don’t strike me blind for another couple of minutes.”
Here’s a movie some of you have seen and those who haven’t yet watched it need to see. The late Paul Newman was the leading actor of a 38 year-old film, “Cool Hand Luke,” written by Donn Pearce and Frank R. Pierson and directed by Stuart Rosenberg.
Cool Hand Luke is known as one of the best hero/villain motion picture, quoted Susan Gebhardt-Burns, an English professor at Norwalk Community College.
On Oct. 15, the Lit club took a (cool) look at the movie which Gebhardt-Burns admired and considered herself fortunate to host it in the PepsiCo Theater that night.
“I feel lucky to share of my favorite movie,” said Prof. Gebhardt-Burns. She also mentioned “it was great fun.”
Although it was Gebhardt-Burns’ first time hosting a movie in the Lit club, after the movie ended, she thanked more than seven viewers who came, including those who were leaving, for spending their time watching the motion picture, especially on a cold rainy night.
The professor said that Gary Carlson of the English Department was out sick and he couldn’t make it, which Gebhardt-Burns asked students to write their get well wishes in a notebook to Prof. Carlson. She also mentioned that every month there’s a different teacher that hosts each film that is scheduled to show this semester.
The movie started to play at 6:46 p.m. and opens with battering sounds. Newman who plays Luke, breaking parking meters at night while under influence. Then the city cops pulled over a patrol vehicle and told him, “you better come with us.”
As a new prisoner, Luke starts as a newbie, and becomes the coolest guy in prison.
All prisoners endured harsh labor under a hot sun and rainy days. It was filmed in five cities in California and two cities in Florida, according to the Internet Movie Data Base (IMDB) website.
The film was nominated and won a Golden Laurel award for best male supporting performance (George Kennedy) and an Oscar for best actor in supporting role (George Kennedy).
In the movie, the prisoners were subjected to strict unfair rules and regulations. One of the rules, was any convict who loses his spoon spends a night in solitary confinement or “the box.” Luke had spent many nights in the box because he tried to escaped from prison three times and was caught each attempt.
The first time he spent a night in the box was after his mother, Jo Van Fleet who played as Arletta, died. This happened after a down pour during work in which everyone took refuge inside the trucks excluding Luke. He raised his arms spread apart after Kennedy as Dragline asked him about his fear of God and of dying. Luke began to shout, “Dyin’? Boy, he can have this little life any time he wants to. Do ya hear that? Are ya hearin’ it? Come on. You’re welcome to it, ol’ timer.”
During the discussion, Gebhardt-Burns mentioned that there were visual symbols in the film that exemplify issues in the Bible. One viewer mentioned the wide camera angle that showed a four-intersection road in the shape of a cross. Gebhardt-Burns mentioned Luke symbolizes Jesus. Luke did not perform any miracle as Messiah in the film or two thousand years ago—but the professor shared some comments about the part in the movie where Luke wasn’t scared of the snake but the other prisoners were. In addition, Luke’s prisoner number, 37, on his shirt is a reference to Luke chapter 1 verse 37: “For with God nothing shall be impossible.”
The English professor asked “is Luke inspirational?” Most of the viewers didn’t believe that he is inspirational after all he was a convict in the movie. Although Newman did not win best leading actor, the audience responses were positive and they all enjoyed watching the movie. But the story did not have a happy ending. The main character gets shot and taken to a prison hospital. The scene dramatically cuts to the next scene of various clips of Luke smiling as Dragline reminisces. His voice over those clips saying, “That old Luke smile. Oh, Luke. He was some boy. Cool Hand Luke.”
“Luke has integrity,” an anonymous viewer responded.
Lastly, Gebhardt-Burns expressed her desire to host another film.
By ROBSLEY AUGUSTE