Cool Hand Luke
The legendary line, "What we've got here is…failure to communicate," eloquently spoken by the Captain (Strother Martin), is just one of many memorable moments in what is arguably one of Paul Newman's best films. The pacing is on the slow side, but intentionally so in order to convey the sheer boredom of being on the chain gang. The third act picks up the pace with Luke's futile attempts to escape. The all-star cast includes the likes of George Kennedywho won the best supporting-actor OscarJ.D. Cannon, Robert Drivas, Lou Antonio, Jo Van Fleet, and Dennis Hopper just to name a few.
Warner has done some excellent work with Hollywood classics, and it continues that tradition with Cool Hand Lukealthough it doesn't quite reach the level of Grand Prix. Regardless, this is the best I have seen CHL look. The color palette is quite dry, befitting the southern climate, but colors definitely pop off the screen. Detail is sharp, and resolution is above average in the foreground, but the backgrounds are on the soft side. A thin veil of grain permeates, yet it's never intrusive, and the print is in fabulous shape.
The audio consists of a standard Dolby Digital Mono track, which conveys the story adequately. Dialog is mostly intelligible, although there are moments that require a rewind to catch what's being said. Dynamics are limited and on the harsh side, especially the highs, but these cases are rare in this dialog-heavy soundtrack.
The bonus features are sparse yet informative. A 2008 documentary, "A Natural-Born World-Shaker: Making Cool Hand Luke," runs 28 minutes and includes interviews with the director, the writer, and many of the starsalthough Newman is conspicuously absent. The other feature is a commentary track by Newman biographer Eric Lax, which is informative and educational.
Cool Hand Luke is one of my favorite movies from the 1960s, and its debut on Blu-ray shows a continued commitment by Warner Brothers to release Hollywood classics in HD. This is the best the film has looked or sounded, regardless of the scores you see below. Highly recommended.
Release Date: September 16, 2008
Move: 9 out of 10
Picture: 7 out of 10
Sound: 5 out of 10
JVC DLA-RS1 projector
Stewart FireHawk screen (76.5" wide, 16:9)
Onkyo PR-SC885 pre/pro
Anthem PVA-7 Amplifier
Belkin PF60 power conditioner
M&K S-150s (L, C, R)
M&K SS-150s (LS, RS, SBL, SBR)
SVS PC-Ultra subwoofer
Monoprice HDMI cables (source to pre/pro)
Best Deal analog-audio cables
PureLink HDC Fiber Optic HDMI Cable System (15 meters) from pre/pro to projector