Tag Archives: Paul Newman

Film: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid was a complete film -- outstanding script, excellent music, great direction. And, of course, Newman and Redford. Uploaded by moviemobsters.com.

Paul Newman (Great American Things, May 17, 2009) and Robert Redford starred in just two films together — this one and The Sting (Great American Things, April 14, 2010) — which is a shame, because film audiences couldn’t get enough of them. Butch (Newman) and Sundance (Redford) were outlaws in the Old West, train robbers in what they called the Hole in the Wall Gang. This movie had everything – great acting of course, wonderful music, and a memorable script.

Uploaded by matttrailer.com.

That script was the work of William Goldman (Great American Things, October 13, 2010), who devotes a chapter in his book Adventures in the Screen Trade to the making of this film. Lots of interesting stuff there, including this, in which Newman and director George Roy Hill had an ongoing argument about the proper placement of a scene:

Toward the end of the first week (of rehearsal), Newman and Hill were at it again, tearing into each other, back and forth, on and on — until we were all aware of this strange, new, and altogether remarkable sound. The gofer, way across the room, in his sleep, had let fly with this whopper of a fart. Newman and Hill registered the event, paused briefly, then went back into combat.

But the fart continued.

Now they paused a second time, all of us staring at this old sleeping guy. Newman and Hill turned back to each other again —

–the fart went on and on. (All true, I swear.) Now we were all silent. Still it continued.

Everyone was aware of the fact that we were in the presence of a phenomenal physical feat. Amazing. We all had to take a break after that. The old guy slept on, eventually lapsing into silence.

Ah, hard to pass up a good fart story. Anyway, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid earned seven Oscar nominations, and won four. (It lost Best Picture to Midnight Cowboy.) Even so, it was ranked number 50 in the American Film Institute’s 100 Years…100 Movies.

Actor: Al Pacino

 

Twenty years elapsed between Al Pacino's first Academy Award nomination (The Godfather) and his first Best Actor (Scent of a Woman). Uploaded by movies.ndtv.com.

Some actors get better with age. Witness a couple of men on this list, Tom Selleck (January 7, 2010) and Paul Newman (May 17, 2009). They were stars as younger men, but acquired a certain world-weariness that made their later characters memorable. I mention this to say that I can’t see that happening with Al Pacino. I don’t think he’s nearly as sharp as in his younger years. But those years, those characters, those performances were so wonderful, he definitely has earned his place as a Great American Thing.

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As an Italian-American from New York City, Pacino has had more than his share of gangster roles. And no one has ever done them better, and that’s a high compliment. But he’s also had movies where he’s been a policeman, detective, lawyer. Here’s a list of some of the excellent movies he’s made:

  • The Godfather (1972 – Nomination)
  • Serpico (1973 – Nomination)
  • The Godfather Part II (1974 – Nomination)
  • Dog Day Afternoon (1975 – Nomination)
  • …And Justice for All (1979 – Nomination)
  • Scarface (1983)
  • Dick Tracy (1990 – Nomination)
  • The Godfather Part III (1990 – Nomination)
  • Glengarry Glen Ross (1992 – Nomination)
  • Scent of a Woman (1992 – Academy Award)
  • Carlito’s Way (1993)
  • Donnie Brasco (1997)

In addition to these Academy Award nominations, Pacino has been honored many other times for his work. He has received three Golden Globe, two Emmy, and two Tony Awards. Entertainment Weekly named him the number 41 movie star of all time, and his performance in Dog Day Afternoon was voted by Premiere Magazine as the number 4 performance of all time, and his Sonny Corleone in Godfather Part II is number 20.

Film: The Sting

The Sting won 7 Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Oddly, as great as Newman and Redford were, neither won Best Actor. Uploaded by bam.org.

Paul Newman (Great American Things, May 17, 2009) and Robert Redford co-starred in two blockbuster movies, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid in 1969, and The Sting in 1974. The term “buddy movie” predated their partnership, and yet you’d be hard-pressed to find a better pairing of superstars than these two actors in these two movies. But if you had to choose only one, it has to be The Sting.

Director George Roy Hill used both of his stars’ strengths – Newman’s versatility, and Redford’s charm. But the biggest star of all was the screenplay written by David Ward. Ward had investigated con artists for another script he had underway, and loved the big con called “The Wire.” Everyone who read the script also loved it, making it easy to attract top talent.

Uploaded by wizbangblog.com.

There were several excellent character parts as well in the ensemble cast. Robert Shaw was particularly strong as the mark, Doyle Lonnegan. The story is that Shaw hurt his ankle before filming began, and incorporated his limp into his character – “Ya folla?”

One other element of genius in this movie was the score, which featured ragtime tunes by Scott Joplin. They lent a wonderful period feeling to the movie, even though in reality they predated the time frame of the movie by about 25 years.

The Sting was nominated for 10 Academy Awards, and won 7, including Best Picture. Oddly, Newman was not nominated for Best Actor, though Redford was – and he was one of the movie’s three nominees who didn’t win…

Film: The Verdict

In my opinion, Paul Newman's best performance. Uploaded by kartiksingh.wordpress.com.

In my opinion, Paul Newman's best performance. Uploaded by kartiksingh.wordpress.com.

Movie fans, and Paul Newman fans in particular, can debate his most outstanding role. For me, it’s his portrayal of recovering alcoholic Frank Galvin in The Verdict.

I’d watch anything directed by Sidney Lumet, written by David Mamet, and starring Paul Newman. In The Verdict, they created a film that’s compelling as both a legal drama and as a character study.

Paul Newman as lawyer Frank Galvin. Uploaded by videodetective.com.

Paul Newman as lawyer Frank Galvin. Uploaded by videodetective.com.

Galvin, a shell of a lawyer and man, is given a medical malpractice case by a former associate (Jack Warden) so he can settle and have money to sustain himself. But Galvin realizes that if he settles the case, he’s lost – so he takes the case to court.

The film has great supporting performances by Warden, Charlotte Rampling, James Mason, and Milo O’Shea. Newman, Mason, Lumet, and Mamet all received Academy Award nominations, and the movie was nominated for Best Picture. The video is of Galvin’s summation, and you realize he’s not just talking about his case, but about his life. Notice how Lumet has every spectator remain completely still so all the focus is on Newman.