Look at this guy – and look how cool he is! Or this guy:
And then there is this guy:
It’s time to celebrate three of the coolest guys who ever punched up the screen for our entertainment. They were the coolest guys in the room, and they made some iconic-ly cool movies!
Cool Hand Luke – Directed by Stuart Rosenberg – 1967.
Paul Newman was the coolest guy in the world. Laid-back, funny, handsome but in a guy’s way – just like in that classic Seinfeld when George just wants to hang out with Dan Cortese because he was SO COOL!
“Cool Hand Luke” is one of Newman’s pinnacles of cool.
Newman plays Luke Jackson – a cool, gutsy prisoner in a Southern chain gang, who, while refusing to buckle under to authority, keeps escaping and being recaptured. The prisoners admire Luke because, as Dragline explains it, “You’re an original, that’s what you are!” Nevertheless, the camp staff actively works to crush Luke until he finally breaks.
Captain, Road Prison 36: “What we got here is…a failure to communicate.” Veteran character actor Strother Martin, seen above, is the Prison Captain who wants to break Luke’s spirit.
Boss: “Sorry, Luke. I’m just doing my job. You gotta appreciate that.”
Luke: “Nah – calling it your job don’t make it right, Boss.”
One way Luke shows his spirit is in taking up any challenge, even this crazy one!
Luke: I can eat fifty eggs.
Dragline: Nobody can eat fifty eggs.
Society Red: You just said he could eat anything.
Dragline: Did you ever eat fifty eggs?
Luke: Nobody ever eat fifty eggs.
Prisoner: Hey, Babalugats. We got a bet here.
Dragline: My boy says he can eat fifty eggs, he can eat fifty eggs.
Loudmouth Steve: Yeah, but in how long?
Luke: A hour.
Society Red: Well, I believe I’ll take part of that wager.
The egg scene is just one of many classic moments in this classic film…like when Luke wins a poker game on a bluff of a hand, and Dragline sees his cards…
Dragline: “Nothin’. A handful of nothin’. You stupid mullet head. He beat you with nothin’. Just like today when he kept comin’ back at me – with nothin’.”
Luke: “Yeah, well, sometimes nothin’ can be a real cool hand.”
Paul Newman always had “a real cool hand”.
Newman was also a great Director – including this overlooked gem from 1970.
“Sometimes a Great Notion” was Ken Kesey’s second novel, published in 1964. While “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” (1962) was arguably the more famous of the two novels, many critics consider “Sometimes a Great Notion” Kesey’s magnum opus.
The story involves an Oregon family of loggers who cut and procure trees for a local mill in opposition to striking, unionized workers.
Paul Newman is Hank Stamper – his father, Henry Stamper – played by Henry Fonda – own and operate the family business by cutting and shipping logs in Oregon.
The town is furious when they continue working despite the town going broke and the other loggers go on strike ordering the Stampers to stop, however Hank continues to push his family on cutting more trees. Hank’s wife wishes he would stop and hopes that they can spend more time together. When Hank’s half trouble making brother Leland comes to work for them, more trouble starts.
Henry Stamper: “Why don’t you show us some of that university learnin’… say something to us in trigonometry. Go on! Say something to us in trigonom’.”
Henry Stamper: I’ve got contracts to fill, eggs to hatch and cats to kill.
Great character actor Richard Jaeckel is also in the film, a terrific story of family bonds, outside forces impossible to overcome, and standing your ground, something Newman always did.
Here’s some great trivia, courtesy of IMDB: “Sometimes A Great Notion” was the first movie ever shown on HBO when the service premiered in 1972.
OK, now speaking of cool…they didn’t come any cooler than Steve McQueen, especially in his breakout role in the classic police thriller “Bullitt.”
High profile San Francisco Police Lieutenant Frank Bullitt is asked personally by ambitious Walter Chalmers, who is in town to hold a US Senate subcommittee hearing on organized crime, to guard Johnny Ross, a Chicago based mobster who is about to turn evidence against the organization at the hearing. Chalmers wants Ross’ safety at all cost, or else Bullitt will pay the consequences.
Of course, leave it to McQueen to make sure everyone was on the same page:
Bullitt: Look, Chalmers, let’s understand each other… I don’t like you.
Things go wrong, of course, leading to the classic car chase through the steep hills of San Francisco, McQueen behind the wheel of the coolest Mustang you ever saw fly:
And in case you forgot just how cool Steve McQueen was, this is attitude about “playing by the rules”…
Walter Chalmers: “Frank, we must all compromise.”
The action scenes in this film set the standard for years to come…
The Getaway – Directed by Sam Peckinpah – 1972.
One of the best action films ever made, “The Getaway” was directed by Sam Peckinpah, right after making “The Wild Bunch” and “Straw Dogs”…
This is a movie with two masters at the top of their game, and the two hottest stars in the world, Steve McQueen and Ali McGraw, making headlines both on and off the set.
Steve McQueen plays “Doc” McCoy – “Doc” has been granted parole. The catch is that Sheriff Beynon expects a small favor from McCoy for his generosity: robbing another bank! The Sheriff does not intend to let McCoy walk away after the heist, but stopping Doc proves difficult.
‘Doc’ McCoy: “Punch it, Baby!”
Ali McGraw was just coming off the mega-hit “Love Story”, and here they created sparks both on and off the set…
In the film, it is suggested she slept with the Sheriff to get “Doc” out of jail:
‘Doc’ McCoy: “If you’re trying to get me back in Huntsville, you’re going about it the right way.”
Carol Ainsley McCoy: “Well I just wouldn’t worry about that Doc, because I can always get you out, you know I can screw every prison official in Texas if I have to!”
‘Doc’ McCoy: “Texas is a big state.”
Carol Ainsley McCoy: “I can handle it.”
‘Doc’ McCoy: “Yeah, I bet you can.”
This movie is full of great acting, terrific action sequences, and a slyly subversive streak, thanks to Peckinpah, Hollywood’s “bad boy” Director.
AND THEN, THERE IS COOL….
IF YOU DON’T KNOW LEE MARVIN, YOU ARE MISSING OUT ON THE COOLEST, TOUGHEST GUY HOLLYWOOD EVER PRODUCED –
Case in point: “Point Blank”, where his single-minded determination to get what’s his lays waste to anyone who gets in his way.
After being double-crossed and left for dead, a mysterious man named Walker single-mindedly tries to retrieve the rather inconsequential sum of money that was stolen from him.
Lee Marvin, Angie Dickinson, Carrol O’Connor star in this classic action thriller. Lee Marvin is Walker, a guy who just wants what’s his:
Brewster: You’re a very bad man, Walker, a very destructive man! Why do you run around doing things like this?
Walker: I want my money. I want my $93,000.
Brewster: $93,000? You threaten a financial structure like this for $93,000? No, Walker, I don’t believe you. What do you really want?
Walker: I – I really want my money.
Brewster: Well, I’m not going to give you any money and nobody else is. Don’t you understand that?
Walker: Who runs things?
Brewster: Carter and I run things. I run things.
Walker: What about Fairfax? Will he pay me?
Brewster: Fairfax is a man who signs checks.
Walker: No, cash.
Brewster: Fairfax isn’t going to give you anything. He’s finished. Fairfax is dead. He just doesn’t know it yet.
Walker: Somebody’s got to pay.
Needless to say, he gets what’s his, and heaven help those who stand in his way…
A couple years later, Marvin is back as an “Enforcer” for the Mob, who heads to Kansas City to get the money that Gene Hackman owes the Mob..
Oh yeah, Hackman’s not really interested in paying back what he owes…
Hackman plays a cattle rancher who not only grinds his enemies into sausage, but sells women as sex slaves.
The movie was considered highly risqué for its time based on its violence, as well as its graphic depiction of female slavery, including a scene depicting the auctioning of young women in the manner of beef cattle.
There is a scene where Marvin and Sissy Spacek are chased through a wheat field by a shredder…a great action sequence.
Interestingly, this was Sissy Spacek’s feature film debut – and involves a lot of nudity.
Marvin and Gene Hackman have a number of great scenes togehter, a couple of tough guys chewing up the scenery in a great B-movie.
But at the end of day, nobody beats Lee Marvin, the coolest guy in town.