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Cool Hand Luke

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Stuart Rosenberg’s chain-gang movie Cool Hand Luke may have put the phrase ”What we have here is a failure to communicate” into our lexicon, but the years have not been kind to it. Its euphemism-laden convicts’ dialogue now seems ludicrously chaste, and Paul Newman’s title character seems less an existential antihero than an admittedly charming jerk. Still, Luke is not without its pleasures (such as a car-wash sequence that out-eroticizes the dinner scene in Tom Jones), and this letterboxed edition lets you appreciate Rosenberg’s careful wide-screen compositions, as well as the horde of familiar faces (Harry Dean Stanton, Dennis Hopper, Joe Don Baker, Wayne Rogers, all in bit parts) hovering around the edges.