One night Luke, drunk, decided to have some fun and used a gas wrench to screw a dozen pennies into a parking lot, for which he got two years of road construction work in the Southern states. Back during the war he had tested his fate many times, and prison was the next test Luke seemed to be looking for…
For his stubborn and tenacious character, Luke earned from his fellow inmates the respectful nickname Luke the Cold-Blooded, and with it the hatred of the camp wardens for his desire for freedom and unruly temper. Three escapes, three arrests and three cruel punishments did not break his will to live, he became a hero to the other prisoners, a lone hero, who put himself against the system …
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Movies about rebellious loners who disagree, or rather do not want to live by the rules of modern society, were popular long before the release of “Cold Blooded Luke”. Suffice it to recall the sensational films with James Dean and Marlon Brando. But, by far, the most striking and universally recognized picture on this topic was “Cool Hand Luke,” where one of the best roles played by the magnificent Paul Newman. Moreover, most viewers exactly the image of a born rebel Luke associated with the type of the actor himself.
What motivated him that night, when the drunken, Luke “cut off the heads” at the parking meters? We can only guess. Maybe it was his way of settling a long-standing score with someone, or maybe he just wanted to prove himself, to demonstrate his badass temper. One way or another, Luke is sentenced to two years in prison for damaging government property.
But of what he did, our hero, in my opinion, does not regret. The filmmakers initially present him as a “rebel without reason,” who is bored with “living like everyone else,” constrained by dozens of what is called the “social system.” For Luke, the “system” is just someone else’s bad joke, which can easily be laughed at with a savory spit in the face of its creators. Otherwise, how else to perceive the fact that a man went to war (which one we are not told) and served up to the rank of sergeant, lets everything go on its own and leaves the army, as he came, a simple private. It is his unwillingness to be a hero and the denial of any hierarchical order that is the primary basis for understanding Luke’s character.
It must be said that in prison he follows the same path. The inmates immediately notice the cocky temper of the newcomer, always keeping to himself with a proud head held high and a faint smirk on his face. Most of all, this infuriates Dregline (in a terrific performance by the Oscar-winning George Kennedy for this role), the unofficial leader of the prisoners, a formidable big guy who is actually simple and naive as a child. He decides to bring down the main character’s snobbery and show “who’s boss in the house.” But the quickly organized fist fight turns into a mockery of himself. Dregline, vastly superior in weight, pummels the skinny Luke for no reason, but he does not give up, showing his opponent incredible fortitude, when, inferior to the enemy, you can only rely on your own tenacity and strength of spirit.
The next moment, where Luke triumphs at cards without having a single trump card in hand, further proves that this character is able to keep a “good face on a bad game” (“Sometimes nothing can be a good help”). The apotheosis in revealing Luke’s character is the legendary egg-eating scene – Luke agrees to swallow 50 boiled eggs in 60 minutes on a dare. And in doing so, he doesn’t care that there is a risk of death from intestinal congestion – a bet is a bet.
Luke’s equanimity, his incredible boldness, and his ability to lead, are gradually admired by the other inmates, and now Dregline himself recedes into the background – Luke becomes the leader of the convicts. It would seem the ideal situation: authority is earned, the remaining year-plus, serve time and get out – but, no, the hero Newman and there is trouble on his head, and with the news of the death of his mother, and did “go crazy”, deciding on his first prison escape …
To the credit of director Stuart Rosenberg, who has not limited himself to the narrative mechanism, there is room in the film for other no less important issues. In particular, the theme of the penetration of divine wrath into the fate of the protagonist is addressed in a rather curious way. Not shy in expressions, Luke curses the Almighty, calling him a Severe Accident, and asks to inflict his punishment. The answer, of course, is silence, but there is no doubt that God heard him – one of the final scenes proves it (“All we have here is a misunderstanding”).
However, Rosenberg’s primary task, of course, was to show an independent individual striving with all his strength for freedom in all its manifestations, which, it must be admitted, the director has perfectly coped with. The image of Luke is a kind of hymn to the triumph of the indomitable human will, and at the same time a visual demonstration of what, sometimes, this most unrestrained desire for the will can lead to.
Codec: HEVC / H.265 (59.6 Mb/s)
Resolution: Native 4K (2160p)
Original aspect ratio: 2.35:1
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Mono (48kHz, 24-bit)
English: Dolby Digital 2.0
English: Dolby Digital Mono
French: Dolby Digital Mono
Spanish: Dolby Digital Mono
Spanish (Latino): Dolby Digital Mono
German: Dolby Digital Mono
Italian: Dolby Digital Mono
Czech: Dolby Digital Mono
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