CAST
Paul Newman-Lucas Jackson
George Kennedy-Dragline
J.D. Cannon-Society Red
Lou Antonio-Koko
Robert Drivas-Loudmouth Steve
Strother Martin-Captain, Road Prison 36
Jo Van Fleet-Arletta
Clifton James-Carr
Morgan Woodward-Boss Godfrey
Luke Askew-Boss Paul Hunnicut
Marc Cavell-Rabbitt
Richard Davalos-Blind Dick
Robert Donner-Boss Shorty
Warren Finnerty-Tattoo
Dennis Hopper-Babalugats

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This 1967 film was based on the Donn Pearce novel of the same name.  It is the story of one man's life on a southern chain gang.  Pearce himself had actually spent time on a chain gang for safecracking.

Even though the story takes place somewhere in the south, it was actually filmed north of Stockton, California where the prison camp was constructed for the movie.  Moss was shipped in from Louisiana and draped over the oak trees for a more realistic southern look.

Paul Newman, who plays Lucas Jackson, was nominated for best actor but lost to Rod Steiger for In the Heat of the Night.  He was also nominated for a Golden Globe Award in the category Best Motion Picture Actor - Drama.  He again lost to Rod Steiger for In the Heat of the Night.  The character Dragline is played by George Kennedy who won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for that role.  He was also nominated for a Golden Globe in that category but it was won by Richard Attenborough for his role in Dr. Dolittle.  Strother Martin (1919-1980) does a superb job of playing the Captain in this movie.  Martin was in a few other movies with Newman including Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.  You may remember him in that movie as the donkey riding, tobacco spitting mine boss in Bolivia.  Other actors to look for in Cool Hand Luke are Dennis Hopper (Bobalugats), Wayne Rogers (Gambler), Joe Don Baker (Fixer), Ralph Waite (Alibi), and J. D. Cannon (Society Red).

The opening scenes of Cool Hand Luke shows Luke drinking beer while cutting the heads off parking meters with a pipe cutter.  He's arrested and sentenced to two years on a chain gang.  The Captain asks him upon his arrival at the camp, "What'd you think that was going to get you?"  He admits to Dragline later that he was settling an old score when he did it.

We learn that Luke is a war hero with a silver star, a bronze star, and a couple of purple hearts and that he made sergeant in the army but came out a buck private.  It seems as if all of Luke's problems are caused by him trying to get even for some wrong that the system, whatever system he happens to be in at the time, perpetrated on him.  And it is no different in the prison system.  When the Captain puts him in "the box" after the death of his mother, afraid that he might run if left on the work gang, Luke retaliates by escaping every chance he gets.  Up until that time he'd been a model prisoner but he felt he was being punished for no reason.

Dragline is the self appointed leader of the prisoners and he gives each man a name fitting that man's personality or some other characteristic.  Luke bluffed during a poker game and won the pot.  When Dragline saw the cards he was holding, he commented on his bad hand.  Luke told him that sometimes nothing could be a cool hand.  From that point on, he was known as Cool Hand Luke.

In one scene, Luke declares that he can eat fifty eggs in an hour.  Dragline backs Luke and all the money in camp is riding on the outcome.  Luke's explanation for doing it is that it gives him something to do.

Another interesting character in the film is Boss Godfrey played by Morgan Woodward.  He's the road boss who has a rifle in the truck at all times but keeps the bolt and ammunition in his belt.  He walks the road with a cane but when he sees something to shoot at, he raises his cane up in the air and the rifle is brought to him.  He shows his prowess with the gun throughout the movie.  Another feature that makes him so sinister, aside from the fact that he never speaks, is the sunglasses he wears.  The camera frequently shows the reflection in those glasses so it seems as if you're seeing things from his point of view.  Dragline calls him "the man with no eyes".

Things to notice in this movie are Luke's frequent searches for God and the fact that even when he loses he beats his opponents.

 

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Wav Sound Files (11KHz)

(click on blue link to download)

Captain: "Maliciously destroying municipal property while under the influence. What was that?"

Luke: "Cutting the heads off of parking meters, Captain." (103K)
Carr: "I'm Carr, the floor walker. I'm responsible for order in here."  (44K)
Dragline: "What we got there?"

Luke: "You got a Lucas Jackson."

Society Red: "You don't have a name here until Dragline gives you one."  (72K)
Dragline: "Taking it off here, Boss."

Boss: "Yah, Dragline, take it off there."  (43K)
Luke: "Yah, well, sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand."  (76K)
Luke: "I can eat fifty eggs."

Dragline: "Nobody can eat fifty eggs."

Society Red: "You just said he could eat anything."  (108K)
Luke: (singing) "Get yourself a sweet Madonna dressed in rhinestones sitting on a pedestal of abalone shell. Going ninety, I ain't scary cause I got the Virgin Mary assuring me that I won't go to hell."  (284K)
Captain: "When a man's mother dies and, uh, he gets to thinking about her funeral and paying respects. Before he knows it, his mind ain't right. He's got rabbit in his blood and he runs."  (164K)
Carr: "Forty-eight, Boss. One in the box, one in the bush."

Wicker Man: "Forty-eight. One in the box, one in the bush."  (68K)
Captain: "You going to get used to wearing them chains after a while, Luke. Don't you never stop listening to them clinking."  (76K)
Captain: "What we've got here is failure to communicate."  (67K)
Boss Paul: "You got your mind right, Luke?"

Luke: "Yah. I got it right. I got it right, Boss."  (133K)
Luke: "Well what we got here is a failure to communicate."  (87K)

 

Wav Sound Effects From the Movie (11KHz)

Cutting head off parking meter and dropping pipe cutter.  (100K)
Men walking on gravel.  (138K)
Bloodhounds baying.  (41K)
"First bell" ringing.  (37K)
Boxing gloves landing punches.  (44K)
Truck sound.  (74K)
Leg chain being put on.  (45K)
Body rolling down a hill.  (22K)
Rifle shot with richochet.  (48K)
Chopping off leg chain with an ax.  (87K)
Metal plate being thrown on table.  (14K)
Luke being hit with cane.  (15K)
Truck pulling away.  (157K)
Car doors shutting.  (38K)

 

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CLICK ON MOVIE BELOW FOR A MOVIE REVIEW FROM DESTITUTE GULCH

Apocalypse Now (1978) An army Captain searches for a renegade Colonel In Vietnam.
Blackboard Jungle (1955) A story of juvenile delinquency at an inner city school.
Bullitt (1968) A San Francisco police detective searches for gunmen who killed an informant.
Cool Hand Luke (1967) An ex war hero is sentenced to a chain gang for cutting the heads off parking meters.
Deliverance (1972) Four friends go on a canoe trip where they encounter unforeseen terrors.
The Day of the Jackal (1973) A sophisticated assassin is hired by a French group to kill President de Gaulle.
Electra Glide in Blue (1973) An Arizona motorcycle patrolman tries to become a detective.
Fahrenheit 451 (1966) Ray Bradbury's futuristic tale of book burning and mind control.
Fail-Safe (1964) Cold War thriller where U.S. bombers are unleashed upon The Soviet Union.
Fargo (1996) Car salesman hires two inept criminals to kidnap his wife.
Glory (1989) Colonel Robert Gould Shaw commands the Civil War's first all volunteer black regiment.
In Cold Blood (1967) Adaptation of Truman Capote's novel about the murder of a farm family in rural Kansas.
Inherit the Wind (1960) Account of trial of John Scopes for teaching The Theory of Evolution in Tennessee.
Jeremiah Johnson (1972) A veteran becomes a hard fighting mountain man.
Logan's Run (1976) A policeman of the future tries to prevent escapes from the city.
The Lords of Discipline (1983) Control of classmates at a southern military school by a group known as "The Ten".
The Ox-Bow Incident (1943) An out of control posse sets out to avenge the death of a local rancher.
Patton (1970) A famous general commands armies during World War II.
Platoon (1986) An idealistic soldier learns that idealism doesn't exist in Vietnam.
The Right Stuff (1983) Story that covers the breaking of the sound barrier through the Mercury space program.
Seven Days in May (1964) Senior military officers plot to take over the government of The United States.
Son of the Morning Star Fairly accurate account of Colonel George A. Custer leading up to the Battle of the Little Big Horn.
Southern Comfort (1981) Louisiana National Guard on maneuvers in a swamp meet up with local opposition.
The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974) A gang hijacks a New York subway train and holds the passengers for ransom.
Witness (1985) A Philadelphia detective hides in a rural Amish community from corrupt police .

CLICK ON MOVIE BELOW FOR A COMEDY MOVIE REVIEW FROM TIGER SWEAT

Airplane! (1980) Story of dysfunctional crew and passengers on board a Chicago bound flight.
American Graffiti (1973) One night in the lives of teenagers in 1962
Animal House (1978) A run down fraternity's members cause chaos on campus.
Arsenic and Old Lace (1944) Two elderly matrons poison lonely men and bury the bodies in the basement.
Cat Ballou (1966) An outlaw and her gang rob trains to try to break a town.
The Cheyenne Social Club (1970) A cowboy inherits a brothel called The Cheyenne Social Club.
Dr. Strangelove (1964) Insane base commander sends his B52 bombers into the Soviet Union.
Harvey (1950) Quiet, unassuming man has a giant rabbit for a friend.
The Mouse That Roared (1959) Smallest country in the world declares war on the U.S. and wins.
On Golden Pond (1981) Elderly couple spend a summer at their cottage on a lake.
The President's Analyst (1967) A prominent psychoanalyst becomes the psychiatrist for the president.
Raising Arizona (1987) An ex-con and a policewoman kidnap a baby to raise as their own.
Support Your Local Sheriff (1969) A drifter on his way to Australia takes the post as sheriff of a western boom town.
Waking Ned Devine (1998) Villagers try to collect a dead man's lottery winnings.




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