Screen legend, superstar, and the man with the most famous blue eyes in movie history, Paul Newman was born in 1925 in Cleveland, Ohio, the son of a successful sporting goods store owner. He acted in grade school and high school plays and after being disharged from the navy in 1946 enrolled at Kenyon College. After graduation he spent a year at the Yale Drama School and then headed to New York, where he attended the famed New York Actors Studio. Classically handsome and with a super abundance of sex appeal, television parts came easily and, after his first Broadway appearance in “Picnic” (1953), he was offered a movie contract by Warner Brothers. His first film, The Silver Chalice (1954) was nearly his last. He considered his performance in this costume epic to be so bad that he took out a full-page ad in a trade paper apologizing for it to anyone who might have seen it. He fared much better in his next effort, Somebody Up There Likes Me (1956), in which he portrayed boxer Rocky Graziano… read more
Pretty good. Saved from obviousness and a sometimes hokey script by the strong central performances, the scenes focusing on Remick and Sarrazin being stand outs. Feels a little like Kazan-ite in places (The Man in the Moon Marigolds, Newman's next film as director, being far less derivative.) If you can overlook the down home soundtrack and the closing sequence, this is worthy of the stark 1970s Realist canon.
The "behind the times" working class people flavored jokes don't age well to new modern viewers but are probably true to the period. Excellent performances all around in this family drama that's an unjustly forgotten 70s gem. The "mouth to mouth'' underwater scene is devastating.
I'm rounding up from a 3.5, because all around this is an exceptional film. Paul Newman gets honest performances from his entire cast, and delivers a fine one himself. There's an especially gut-wrenching scene between Hank Stamper, his brother Joe, and log. I'll say no more. From what I hear, the book is even better, and being a Kesey fan, I'm anxious to pick up a copy now.
The Bride Wore Black, Sometimes a Great Notion, What Happened Was… and more.