Ain't It Cool News (
Movie News

Rest In Peace Paul Newman

Hey guys. Quint here with some bad, if not unsurprising news. We got alerted earlier this morning that word of Paul Newman’s death was spreading across Westport after many months of reports of his battle with cancer.

But I have no connections to anybody around Newman and didn’t want to post an obit with the only word being unconfirmed message board posts. And I also didn’t want it to be true. If you’ve been following my regular column, A Movie A Day, you’ll have seen me diving into a whole lot of Paul Newman movies over the last 3-4 months. I’ve appreciated him as a performer before, but over the last few months I’ve really been impressed with him as a performer. HARPER, in fact, started the column and has become one of my favorites of the nearly 120 movies we’ve covered there so far. He marked a change in what Hollywood would need in leading men. He was tough, but had a sense of humor and a comic timing not seen in a Hollywood star since maybe Errol Flynn. His work in the ‘50s and ‘60s gave us some of the best stuff in his career. COOL HAND LUKE, THE HUSTLER, THE YOUNG PHILADELPHIANS and BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID among my favorites.

Newman’s piercing blue eyes and assured confidence gave us, the viewing audience, not only one of the best leading men of his era, but of the history of cinema. He could inject energy and charisma into the darkest drama or mystery without breaking the overall tone. He was, in short, someone the audience wanted to see in a story, someone who could entertain. And he didn’t just fade away, either. He embraced his age and let that influence his stories. Watch THE STING and see how he shaped a different kind of performance from his ‘60s work while still playing to his strengths. Same with SLAP-SHOT, one of the best films to utilize his comic talents. Of his later works, the two stand-outs to me are THE HUDSUCKER PROXY and ROAD TO PERDITION. I haven’t seen either in a while… I just might throw them on a little later as a tribute to the man. Outside of his film work, he will also be remembered for his generosity, running a diverse company Newman’s Own which produces everything from popcorn (delicious, by the way… one of the best microwavable popcorns on the market) to spaghetti sauce to wine to salad dressing which gives 100% of its profits to charity. In a bit of weird connecting tissue trivia, Paul Newman turned down the role of Quint in Jaws. How crazy would that have been? THE STING-era Newman instead of THE STING-era Robert Shaw as the great shark hunter? There’s no other way to say it except another giant of cinema has left us. Newman’s work will be studied by aspiring actors for generations to come, his influence will be felt as long as film as an art form exists. My thoughts are with Mr. Newman’s friends, family and fans.


Readers Talkback
comments powered by Disqus