Why is this man smiling? From the film’s first scene, when the cops arrest him for being drunk and disorderly while vandalizing parking meters, to the last, posthumous portrait, Luke wears a grin as wide as his streak of easy insolence toward prison authority. It amounts to a world view: Since life is basically a stretch on a road gang, and in the long run we’re all dead, you may as well have a good time. Luke, who earns his nickname by bluffing a lousy hand into a winning game of five-card stud (“Yeah, well, sometimes nothin’ can be a real cool hand”), becomes a legend for his daredevil escapes — an emblem of his indomitable spirit, even though (or especially because) he’s always caught. “What we got here,” says pipsqueak gang boss Strother Martin, “is failure to communicate.” But moviegoers got the message loud and clear: You can’t keep Paul Newman down.
Vodpod videos no longer available.