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directed by Stuart Rosenberg
USA 196
7

 

During his reign as a top box office star in the sixties, Paul Newman made his mark in films featuring rebellious, anti-establishment characters. Cool Hand Luke (1967) is a perfect example and one of his most audience-pleasing movies. Unlike the characters he played in The Hustler or Hud, Luke is actually based on a real-life character, Donald Graham Garrison, who was a convicted safecracker. In the course of his career, Garrison stole between $4 and $5 million dollars. Garrison's exploits inspired a novel by Donn Pearce, another ex-convict, who combined details from his own incarceration with Garrison's story to create a compelling anti-hero. Pearce even makes a brief cameo in the film as an ex-con named Sailor.

Cool Hand Luke was set in the Deep South but actually filmed on location in Stockton, California. While the movie painted an authentic visual portrait of life on a chain gang, it was individual scenes that earned Cool Hand Luke a cult reputation: Strother Martin as the head jailer uttering the famous line, "What we got here is failure to communicate," Newman's egg-eating contest, and the brutal boxing match between Newman and his fellow in-mate George Kennedy. The movie makes for particularly interesting viewing today due to its eclectic and fascinating supporting cast - Dennis Hopper, Harry Dean Stanton, Wayne Rogers (from the TV series M.A.S.H.), Ralph Waite (from the TV series The Waltons), Joe Don Baker, Anthony Zerbe, and Richard Davalos, who appeared with James Dean in East of Eden.

Excerpt from TCM review located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: November 1st, 1967

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DVD Comparison:

Warner - Region 1 - NTSC vs.  Warner -  (Deluxe Edition) - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC vs. Warner REGION FREE Blu-ray

 

1) Warner - Region 1 - NTSC LEFT

2) Warner - (Deluxe Edition) - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC- MIDDLE

3) Warner REGION FREE Blu-ray - RIGHT

 

DVD Box Cover

   

Distribution Warner Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC Warner Home Video - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC Warner Home Video - Region FREE Blu-ray
Runtime 2:06:28  2:06:27  2:06:34
Video 2.35:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.97 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s
2.35:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.35 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s
2.4:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 18-26 mb/s
1080p Hi-def 2.4:1
Audio English (Dolby Digital 5.1)  English (Dolby Digital 1.0) , DUB French (Dolby Digital 5.1)  English Dolby 1.0, DUBs: French ,Spanish, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese (Dolby Digital 1.0) 
Subtitles English, French, Spanish, None English, French, Spanish, None English (SDH), French, Spanish, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, German, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian, Portuguese, Swedish, none
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Warner Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
2.35:1

Edition Details:

• Production Notes (text)
• Film Flash
• Trailers 

 

Side 2

• Pan and Scan 1:33 version

DVD Release Date: June 25th, 1997

Snapper Case
Chapters: 37

Release Information:
Studio: Warner Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
2.35:1

Edition Details:

• Commentary by historian, Newman Biographer Eric Lax
• Documentary: Natural Born World-Shaker: Making Cool Hand Luke (28:46)

• Trailer  

DVD Release Date: September 9th, 2008

Keep Case
Chapters: 37

Release Information:
Studio: Warner Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
2.4:1

1080p Hi-def 

Single-layered (25 Gig)

Edition Details:

• Commentary by historian, Newman Biographer Eric Lax
• Documentary: Natural Born World-Shaker: Making Cool Hand Luke (28:46)

• Trailer   

Blu-ray Release Date: September 9th, 2008

Standard Blu-ray case
Chapters: 37

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were ripped directly from the Blu-ray disc.

I was always quite enamored with this film owning it on LaserDisc as part of that very minimal library for my Home Theater. The themes of anti-hero non-capitulation, Luke as a Christ-figure and almost satirist stabs at the deep South are all so expressive. Funny, the female characters in the film are but a loving Matriarch, sexual objects (famous car washing scenes and magazine shot of Luke with two models on his arms) or a black lady hanging laundry outdoors - that's it.

The new Deluxe dual-layered SD-DVD edition seems very weak with a lot of softness (possibly DNR) even beside the single-layered 1997 original. It essentially makes the new VC1 encoded Blu-ray appear that much stronger. This new Blu-ray, which also may suffer from some unwanted DNR, holds dominance over the other two editions in all the expect areas. The Blu-ray is tending to the warmer end of the color pallet but corrects the orangey/magenta look of the Deluxe edition skin tones (blecchhh). The old snapper-cased original has some healthy boosting (edge enhancement) and exhibits plenty of undesirable artefacts as well as showing much more dirt and speckles. The Blu-ray appears to be vastly limited in this area although in some monochromatic scenes artefacts still exist on this 40 year-old film (despite the DNR). The Blu-ray detail is, as expected, vastly superior. It has a film-like appearance that I, personally, am very prone to enjoying.  The Blu-ray also carries slightly more information within the frame on all four sides. I toggled back and forth on my DVD players, between the SD and Blu-ray, and the color discrepancies are certainly visible but you tend to notice the vastly improved detail of the 1080P much more. It is, thankfully, quite a jump forward in sharpness. Technically the Blu-ray is single-layered with the feature taking up 21.2 Gig of space.

Audio is the same on the Blu-ray and the Deluxe SD. Warner have become purists in this area now with only a mono offering that is expectantly flat and fairly lifeless. I appreciate and respect this decision although separation of the mono track to stereo or even allowing it to resonate to the center channel might have been a pleasing option. The amazing Lalo Schifrin soundtrack of the film still holds its glory and we have "Plastic Jesus" (performed by Newman himself) and Harry Dean Stanton singing "Just a Closer Walk With Thee", "Cotton Fields" and "Midnight Special". Marvelous.

Extras have the newer editions sharing an interesting commentary by Newman biographer Eric Lax. I like him and he is prepared and professional with an encyclopedic knowledge of the topics he covers. More accolades of Newman - and why shouldn't there be? Also included is a 30 minute featurette on the 'Making of...' and many people have been sought after for sound bites including director Rosenberg, author Pearce and screenwriter Pierson - plus a few of the cast from the film. I enjoyed all the input to further enhance by adoration of Cool Hand Luke. Finally a trailer.

I'm recommending this Blu-ray transfer despite it not being totally pristine. I've seen this film at least 25 times - can recite dialogue by memory - and have never seen it look this good. I'd gladly pay double what Warner are asking. Click on the enlargeable screen grabs and hopefully you will get an idea of how it will look on your system. 

Gary W. Tooze

 



DVD Menus
1) Warner - Region 1 - NTSC LEFT

2) Warner - (Deluxe Edition) - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC - RIGHT


 

 

Deluxe and Blu-ray supplements

 

 

 


 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

1) Warner - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Warner - (Deluxe Edition) - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Warner REGION FREE Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

Screen Captures

 

 


 

1) Warner - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Warner - (Deluxe Edition) - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC- MIDDLE

3) Warner REGION FREE Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


 

1) Warner - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Warner - (Deluxe Edition) - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC- MIDDLE

3) Warner REGION FREE Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


 

1) Warner - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Warner - (Deluxe Edition) - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC- MIDDLE

3) Warner REGION FREE Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


 

1) Warner - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Warner - (Deluxe Edition) - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC- MIDDLE

3) Warner REGION FREE Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


 


1) Warner - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Warner - (Deluxe Edition) - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC- MIDDLE

3) Warner REGION FREE Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Warner - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Warner - (Deluxe Edition) - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC- MIDDLE

3) Warner REGION FREE Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


1) Warner - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Warner - (Deluxe Edition) - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC- MIDDLE

3) Warner REGION FREE Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

 

 


1) Warner - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Warner - (Deluxe Edition) - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC- MIDDLE

3) Warner REGION FREE Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

 

Report Card:

 

Image:

Blu-ray

Sound:

-

Extras: SE / Blu-ray
Menu: -

 


DVD Box Cover

   




 

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Gary Tooze

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