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Cool Hand Luke 4K UHD Review

“Cool Hand Luke” features one of Paul Newman’s best performances.

Based on the novel by Donn Pearce (who also co-wrote the script with Frank R. Pierson), 1967’s “Cool Hand Luke” tells the story of war veteran Lucas Jackson (AKA Luke) who is sent to a chain gang prison camp for 2 years for removing parking meter heads while intoxicated. Although he rubs prisoners the wrong way initially (especially the tough guy with a heart Dragline), he eventually wins their respect and admiration with antics involving boxing and a hard boiled egg contest. Eventually, the oppression of the Captain and the guards causes Luke to rebel against his captors, but will his efforts be in vain? 

Directed by Stuart Rosenberg, “Cool Hand Luke” is a classic 60’s prison film. Instead of focusing on plot, the free flowing story focuses more on characters and themes which ends up working in its advantage as the anti-hero tale hits you hard emotionally. The exploration of themes about religion, oppression, rebellion, and injustice shows the film has a lot going on under the surface of what seems to be an otherwise simple story. The dialogue is also nothing short of exceptional as the script contains some now iconic lines like “What we have here is failure to communicate.”

Of course, “Cool Hand Luke” would not work nearly as well were it not for the incredible ensemble case. Paul Newman is at the top of his game here as the cocky, cool, and rebellious title character. Newman’s charming and bold performance is captivating from the get go. The beloved actor is aided by quite the supporting cast here. George Kennedy gives arguably his best performance as Dragline. His chemistry with Newman is superb and he gives such a big performance. The rest of the cast have smaller roles, but there’s a lot of great character actors present such as Joe Don Baker, Harry Dean Stanton, Dennis Hopper, Clifton James, and Strother Martin as the Captain.


Presentation: 2.35:1 2160p. How does it look? The Technicolor film gets a pristine new transfer. WB is really going all out with these 100th anniversary releases. 

Audio Track: 2.0 DTS-HD MA. How does it sound? Expect a nice clean track.

* Blu-ray copy
* Digital copy
* Commentary by Paul Newman biographer Eric Lax.
* Theatrical trailer
* “A Natural-Born World-Shaker: Making Cool Hand Luke”- A near 29 minute featurette with film clips, cast and crew interviews, and discussions about how the project came about, Paul Newman, and the characters. 


April 3, 2023 - Posted by | 4K UHD Review | , , , ,

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