This is a review for the Bluray. Somehow I have managed to go through life without ever seeing Cool Hand Luke. Despite hearing my wife go on and on about eggs, I had still missed it. I bought the Bluray on an Amazon special offer a couple of months ago, and we have just got around to watching it. I'm now sitting here wondering why on earth I waited so long.
Despite some good supporting roles this film belongs to Paul Newman. Although the acting and dialogue is variable, Paul Newman's cheerful, non-conformist character is absolutely iconic. I thought he was good in The Hustler, but I would say this is right up there, and possibly even shades it. You keep willing him to escape, to win, whilst knowing that he isn't going to. I started off thinking - rarely can anyone have paid such a heavy price for destroying municipal property- then realised, actually that wasn't what he was punished for, it was for refusing to play by the rules. Although the film was over two hours long it didn't try to do everything. It left gaps for you to fill in yourself, and was all the stronger for that. An example was, after he was caught destroying parking meters, we didn't see him again until he arrived at the prison.
It has a great tagline as well:- "What we've got here is failure to communicate."
Picture Quality was very good. I often find scenery works best in HD, but here close-ups of faces were detailed and memorable. Watch out particularly for scenes reflected in the mirrored sunglasses of a warden. Colours were strong and natural looking with skin tones working well. It is presented in 2.4:1 so you are looking at it being letter-boxed on a widescreen TV, but that is how it was intended to be seen, and suits the film very well.
Audio Quality is much weaker. Dolby Digital is the best offering, and I had to fiddle with the sound control several times. Even when the dialogue isn't being overwhelmed it is sometimes slightly muffled and flat. I had particular difficulty picking out the words of some songs.
Largely as a result of the audio I found rating difficult. I think it deserves four and a half stars, but it's such a good film, and the picture is so good, that I finally plumped for five.