June 9, 2017, 8:00 pmBlue Mountains Theatre
Paul Newman gives one of the defining performances of his career, and cemented his place as a beautiful-rebel screen icon playing the stubbornly tough and independent title character in Cool Hand Luke. And before he became familiar as a sidekick in 1970s disaster movies (Earthquake and the Airport movies), George Kennedy won an Oscar for playing Dragline, the brutal chain-gang boss who tries to beat loner Luke’s cool out of him.
It’s a classic rebel-against-the-repressive-institution story in the line of One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest or The Shawshank Redemption. Certain moments have become classics–particularly the hardboiled egg-eating contest, and the immortal line (drooled by Strother Martin, as a sadistic redneck prison officer), “What we’ve got here is… failure to communicate.” And don’t forget, Luke is also the source of the oft-quoted driving ditty, “I don’t care if it rains or freezes, long as I have my plastic Jesus, right here on the dashboard of my car…” He is cool, all right.