The title pretty much says it all. Unlike the girls who crush on Marlon Brando and James Dean because they just seem so tortured and complicated or the girls who crush on Cary Grant and Rock Hudson because they were the dudes doing all those romcoms back in the heyday and had Superman jawlines, my old-timey crush will always and forever be Paul Newman.
And it’s not because he actually took out an ad in a newspaper denouncing his own performance in the Silver Chalice and begged people not to see it because he was so bad (and obvious, people RAN to see it in theaters afterwards), or because even though he’s a pretty boy he’s also a legit actor, or that he married someone who’s beautiful, talented, and intelligent (Joanne Woodward in Three Faces of Eve is insanely good). Mainly it’s because of his bromance with Robert Redford. But more on that later.
(5) Somebody Up There Likes Me
“Don’t worry ’bout a thing.”— Rocky Graziano
I’m probably alone on this one since a lot of critics thought he was miscast as a brutish Bronx boxer, but I thought he did pretty well. On a side note, James Dean was suppose to play the title character but due to his untimely death, Newman took over the part. Dean’s former costars Sal Mineo and Pier Angeli play supporting roles.
My favourite moment is when he walks Angeli to the bus stop and then says, I’ll walk you to the subway, and then, I’ll walk you to the door, and is acting like a bumbling fool but then they step into her apartment building and there’s this great moment when it’s completely silent and they just stare into each others eyes and its suddenly super intense and not funny and beautiful…and yeah.
(4) Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
“Then jump off the roof, Maggie. Jump off it. Cats jump off roofs and land uninjured. Do it. Jump.”–Brick Politt
Elizabeth Taylor in a white dress. Paul Newman drinking and yelling at Elizabeth Taylor. They’ve got marriage problems.
(3) Cool Hand Luke
“I’m just standin’ in the rain talkin’ to myself.”–Luke
One of those movies about the man going up against The System which is embodied by a state prison. And then there’s that scene when Newman tries to prove he’s a man by eating fifty hard-boiled eggs.
I’m pretty sure this was when the whole girl-wearing-a-skimpy-outfit-while-washing-a-car idea came into being. Never understood why that was so high up on a male’s fantasy list until I saw this movie. Really funny scene.
(2) Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
“Boy, I got vision, and the rest of the world wears bifocals.”–Butch Cassidy
There are so many amazing one-liners and funny scenes in this western that I don’t even know where to start. (e.g. They move to Bolivia so they can rob banks only to realize they don’t know Spanish while in the middle of a heist).
These two also did another movie called The Sting which is a great con movie if that’s your thing.
(1) The Hustler
“I’m the best you ever seen, Fats. I’m the best there is. And even if you beat me, I’m still the best.”–Fast Eddie
Totally deserved an Oscar for this. The Academy made up for the mistake by giving him one in the sequel with Tom Cruise, but THIS coming-of-age movie about the young and reckless pool shark Eddie Felson, who is in way over his head, and trying to go up against Minnesota Fats is really wonderful. This is also one of those rare cases when the movie is actually better than the book. (No offense, Walter Tevis).
Honorable mentions: Slap Shot, The Long, Hot Summer, The Sting
What are your favourite Paul Newman flicks?
[Cover photo courtesy of filmfresh.com]