Cool Hand Luke

Synopsis: Cool Hand Luke is a 1967 American prison drama film directed by Stuart Rosenberg, starring Paul Newman and featuring George Kennedy in an Oscar-winning performance. Newman stars in the title role as Luke, a prisoner in a Florida prison camp who refuses to submit to the system.
Genre: Crime, Drama
Production: Warner Bros.
  Won 1 Oscar. Another 3 wins & 9 nominations.
 
IMDB:
8.1
Metacritic:
91
Rotten Tomatoes:
100%
GP
Year:
1967
126 min
796 Views


FADE IN:

EXT. SOUTHERN CITY STREET EXTREME CLOSEUP PARKING METER

(NIGHT)

Its irritating head opens a glaring red eye: the red flag

pops across the entire screen:

VIOLATION:

INSERT:
PARKING METER SUPPORT (NIGHT)

CLOSEUP of a pipe cutter attached to the meter neck, metal

slivers curling out. From o.s. we HEAR -- LUCAS JACKSON

cheerfully humming and mumbling Auld Lang Syne and then:

LUKE:

Okay, Mister General, you son of a

b*tch. Sir. Think you can put things

right with a piece of tin with a

ribbon hangin' on it? Gonna put you

right.

CLOSEUP PARKING METER (NIGHT)

as the meter head falls out of FRAME.

NEW ANGLE ON METER (NIGHT)

as it falls to the ground amidst a forest of meter stands

and Luke's hand comes into the FRAME to pick it up and we

SEE him in CLOSEUP for the first time. He is cheerful, drunk,

wearing a faded GI Field jacket. A bottle opener hangs on a

silver chain around his neck. He addresses the next meter.

LUKE:

All right. Helen, honey. I lost my

head over you. Now its your turn.

Suddenly the beam of headlights crashes in, FLARING the

SCREEN.

ANGLE ON PROWL CAR (NIGHT)

sliding up to us, headlights glaring, red toplight revolving

menacingly. TWO OFFICERS, black shapes, get out and start

warily toward Luke.

ON LUKE (NIGHT)

illuminated by the headlights. He grins as the Officers

approach, lifts a bottle of beer, opens it and drinks,

smiling. On his smile, FREEZE FRAME. ON THE FRAME SUPER-IMPOSE

MAIN TITLE and as it FADES

DISSOLVE TO:

OMITTED:

EXT. CLOSEUP A YOYO BLADE IN THE SUN

It swings with a pendulum motion, its shining blade topping

a clump of grass and weeds; it swings on the backstroke,

lopping more grass, then moves a little away from CAMERA.

FROM CAMERA RIGHT, a pair of feet move INTO the FRAME, the

feet of the man swinging the yoyo. They are booted and

connected by chains, riveted around the ankles. The feet

move further INTO the FRAME and the SHOT WIDENS. We are on:

EXT. A COUNTRY ROAD (DAY)

and we see the work gang in uniforms (14 men) flailing away

with yoyos, short-handled scythes in the hot sun, guarded by

three men. Three of the workers wear chains (Gambler,

Dynamite, Sailor). The scene is bleached and hot; the men

sweating and dirty in prison shirts and pants. The light

shifts during the following:

A MONTAGE OF A FULL DAY - SUPERIMPOSE TITLES AS APPROPRIATE

OVER FOLLOWING:

ANGLE ON RABBIT:

He is a trustee. He walks up INTO CAMERA and sets up sign:

SLOW DOWN -- MEN AT WORK

ANGLE ON DRAGLINE (9:00 A.M.)

He is a giant, covered with sweat and dust. He starts to

pull off his shirt.

DRAGLINE:

Takin' it off here, Boss!

BOSS KEAN:

Yeah, take it off, Dragline!

ANGLE BOSS KEAN (11:00 A.M.)

pulling out watch, looking at the sun.

ANGLE THE BULL GANG

flailing away, most of them naked to the waist.

ANGLE KOKO:

He is sweating streams.

KOKO:

Wipin' it off here, Boss!

BOSS SHORTY:

Okay, wipe it off there, Koko.

Koko takes out a limp handkerchief and mops his face.

ANGLE ON GAMBLER (A CHAINMAN) (NOON)

his yoyo flashing like a sword. He pauses, panting.

GAMBLER:

Drinkin' it up here, Boss!

ANGLE BOSS KEAN:

BOSS KEAN:

Awright, drink it up, Gambler. Water

'em, Rabbit.

NEW ANGLE GAMBLER AND GANG

as Gambler takes a drink from a tin cup, passed by Rabbit.

FULL SHOT THE GANG (2:00 P.M.)

working away like a machine.

ANGLE PAST BOSS GODFREY TO BOSS SHORTY

Godfrey is the Walking Boss, silent, implacable symbol of

ultimate judgement. He wears a black hat, globular mirrored

sunglasses -- the Man With No Eyes, impassive, emotionless.

He nods to Boss Shorty.

BOSS SHORTY:

Awright, smoke it up!

FULL SHOT THE GANG

In unison they chant:

THE GANG:

Yeah, Boss.

ANGLE SOCIETY RED AND BLIND DICK 4:00 P.M.

Society is checking his yoyo edge with a file, covertly

watching a passing car. Blind Dick sneaks a look, then ducks.

ANGLE BOSS KEAN:

BOSS KEAN:

You eyeballin' there, Society?

SOCIETY RED:

SOCIETY RED:

Checkin' my yoyo, Boss!

KOKO (5:
00 P.M.)

He sees something o.s. He speaks, as they all do outside,

like a ventriloquist, not moving the lips, and in a stage

whisper, to Dragline.

KOKO:

Drag... Drag... Newmeat Bus! We got

us Newmeat tonight!

ANGLE ON GAMBLER AND DRAGLINE

They look up covertly.

P.O.V. ANGLE ON ROAD

The Newmeat Bus, a prison vehicle, a panel truck with meshed

windows; and men in it, appears down the road approaching

the gang. It slows as it passes them and the men covertly

look at it.

KOKO AND GAMBLER

KOKO:

(whispering)

A bunch. Must be halfa dozen Newmeat.

GAMBLER:

No more than five. For a cold drink.

KOKO:

(whispering)

Bet! Babalugats, bet here!

ANGLE BABALUGATS

He is the idiot of the gang. He grins foolishly, making the

bet official.

NEWMEAT BUS:

as it passes, picking up speed, PAN INTO:

CLOSE SHOT GODFREY

looking at the Newmeat Bus.

EXT. CLOSEUP THE EYES OF GODFREY

His sunglasses FILL THE SCREEN, distorting the image of the

bus as it moves away from us and the last TITLE ROLLS.

CUT TO:

INT. NEWMEAT BUS

The SCREEN is mostly black, but we see out through the meshed

rear windows a desolate panorama of gnarled trees and grubby

landscape, bleak and hopeless.

Now we HEAR outside the barking and baying of bloodhounds,

not like they're tracking, but just playing as the truck

turns and stops. The BUS GUARD and DRIVER get out. The back

of the truck is opened by the guard and through that rectangle

of bright sunlight, the silhouettes of the Newmeat descend,

Luke last.

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Donn Pearce

Donn Pearce (born, September 28th, 1928) is an American author and journalist best known for the novel and screenplay Cool Hand Luke. more…

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