CAROLE LOMBARD - My Favorite Actress

Saturday, January 7, 2012

The letter 'H' is a good thing when it comes to Paul Newman...

I mentioned in my preview post for 2012, I would be writing more about classic film actors. For this particular post, my subject is Paul Newman. And the topic is the letter H. I just realized Mr. Newman did several films that began with the letter H and that they are some of his best films and most successful. And all came out during a time span in the 60's. So I thought it would be cool to do a post about that.

First up in 1961 is the much loved and rightly praised The Hustler, which cast Newman as up and coming pool player Eddie Felson, who challenges top shark Minnesota Fats (played by the Great One, Jackie Gleason). This is one of Newman's most famous roles. He even did a sequel 25 years later with Tom Cruise called The Color Of Money. The sequel finally landed him an Oscar, which had eluded him for his whole life. Not taking anything away from the sequel, but it's The Hustler where Newman really shines. One of my favorite films and performances of Newman is by far The Hustler.

Next came 1963's Hud with Newman giving another memorable performance as Hud Bannon, a troublesome young man who defies everyone and everything and lives by his own rules. He is described as not having a decent bone in his body. Melyvn Douglas plays Hud's father and they do not get along at all. And their relationship makes for a powerhouse of a film. Chalk this up as another amazing performance by Newman.

Paul would score again in 1966 with another H titled film called Harper. He's a cool private investigator named Lew Harper who is hired by a wealthy California woman (hey it's my classic movie goddess of the month Lauren Bacall) to find her kidnapped husband. Based on the best selling novel series, this almost wasn't going to be a 'H' film for Newman. The character in the books is called Lew Archer. But it was changed to Harper and thus continued Newman's winning ways. And it was so successful that Newman returned for a sequel in 1975 called The Drowning Pool.

For 1967's western film Hombre, Newman was cast as John Russell, a white man raised by Apaches on an Indian reservation. Fully growned he and some passengers on a stagecoach get attacked by some bandits and are left for dead. Russell is called upon to lead them to safety. Newman gives another rock solid performance. He could do no wrong and the 60's proved to be his greatest decade ever.

And lastly, comes 1967's Cool Hand Luke, his crowning achievement. He is Luke Jackson, prisoner on a Southern chain gang that is so cool and unflappable, and just will not bow down to authority. His repeated escapes and then recapture almost become comical but Newman is just amazing in this role. How he didn't win a Best Actor Oscar for this is one of the greatest crimes the Academy ever committed.

And honorable mention to 1968's The Secret War of Harry Frigg which has Newman cast as Private Harry Frigg who must help 5 Allied Generals escape prison during WW Two.

So that wraps up this little post about Mr. Newman's awesome run of H titled films in the 60's. Hope everyone enjoyed this little exercise of mine. And I hope to do more like it.


KimWilson said...

Monty, "H" also means HOT!!!--especially in Hud. There is no sexier male movie character to me than Hud Bannon. I don't care if he was an SOB, he oozed everything carnal for me.

Chris said...

Please contact me at, as I would to discuss possibly reprinting this post on Keep up the great work!


Related Posts with Thumbnails