Thursday, January 28, 2010

Yesterday was Paul Newman's Birthday

While reading Edward Boe's blog for "Cool Hand Luke" he pointed out the passing of Paul Newman's birthday.  I have been a big fan for many years and though he is represented by five films in "The Book" there are several other performances that I have appreciated through his career.  While not necessarily "Must See" they are definitely worth a look.  

The Hustler (1961)-Robert Rossen's look at the seedy world of pool room hustling.  Newman would reprise his role as "Fast Eddie" Felson 25 years later, in Martin Scorsese's "The Color Of Money".  Previously referenced in "Once Was Definitely Enough" blog.

Hud (1963)- Martin Ritt's film of a modern day ranch family. Newman's Hud is the son that works as a ranch hand, avoiding responsibility whenever possible, probably driven to the lax work-ethic by his father's obsessively high expectations.

Cool Hand Luke (1967) A look at the chaining up of a free spirit. One of the few entries in the short list of PERFECT MOVIEs out there.
Mr. Boe covers this film outstandingly in his latest blog entry.

Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid (1969)-George Roy Hill contributed to the "buddy" movie genre with Newman and Robert Redford.  A western story that weaves in and out of the historical track. The pair would work again in the seventies and somehow evade ever working together again on screen, despite their mega-box office appeal.

The Sting (1973)- George Roy Hill would bring Newman and Redford together again in a ragtime era con game that is great fun to watch if only for the atmosphere.  The feel of the Great Depression is well done, with a just enough hope for the future. Previously referenced in "Once Was Definitely Enough" blog.

Not in "The Book" but worth a look:

The Outrage (1964)- Martin Ritt remakes Akira Kurosawa's "Rashamon" as a western, a pretty successful formula if you consider "The Magnificent Seven".  Great performances by Newman and Edward G. Robinson make it worth a look.

The Life And Times Of Judge Roy Bean (1972)-John Huston directs.  Newman portrays this "Legend In His Own Time" figure of the American West with just the right amount of bravado and mirth.  His law west of the Pecos is especially swift when dealing with Stacy Keach as "The Original Bad Bob"

Slapshot (1977)- Newman stars as an aging hockey player that still has a few good moves.

The Verdict (1982)- Sidney Lumet directs Newman as an ambulance chasing lawyer that stumbles on a worthy cause.  You can practically see the switch being flipped that changes him from a cash register to a seeker of justice.

The Hudsucker Proxy (1994)-The Coen Brothers get to direct Newman in this wonderful era-piece.  Not a starring role but a chance for him to shine in a supporting role.  

Road To Perdition (2002)-Sam Mendez-s tale of 30's era gangsters and loyalty.  Newman is the patriarch that turns on the lead character, a hitman that has been part of "The Family" for years, but is singled out as a threat to an aspiring son.


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