During his five decades career, Paul Newman was at the top of the food chain. He was a big star fuelled by his rugged good looks, the bluest of eyes and talent. Celebrated by his peers and film watchers alike this collection contains six of his films from different eras. The films here involve three of his Oscar nominations.
A New Kind of Love directed by Melville Shavelson:
Set in Paris with the backdrop being the fashion industry, this is a comedy involving a New York based fashion buyer named Samantha (played by Joanne Woodward) who is mistaken by womanizing journalist Steve Sherman (played by Paul Newman) for a high priced call girl. He begins to interview her wanting to write an article about the profession.
Released in 1963.
Fat Man and Little Boy directed by Rolland Joffe:
In New Mexico there is a secret wartime project underway. They are involved in the development of the atomic bomb. Project leader Robert Oppenheimer (played by Dwight Schultz) often butts heads with the military leader, General Leslie Groves (played by Paul Newman). Tension is high as the Nazis are also in the race and even developing a nuclear bomb under scientist Heisenberg.
Released in 1989.
Hud directed by Martin Ritt:
Texas rancher Homer Bannon (played by Melvyn Douglas) is a hard working and honest man who unfortunately has a son named Hud (played by Paul Newman) who is selfish and arrogant. Hud gets even worse after the death of his brother which happened as a result of a car accident occuring while Hud was drunk.
Released in 1963.
Nobody’s Fool directed by Robert Benton:
Being a stubborn senior looking for independence does not make for a good mix. Sully (played by Paul Newman) is that man. He lives in a small town and has so far led a very uneventful life. His son Peter (played by Dylan Walsh) and his family move into town. This forces Sully to get to know his family and do things he had otherwise let fall by the way side previously.
Released in 1994.
Road to Perdition directed by Sam Mendes:
This is not your typical crime film with blood, guts and violence; it is more like a work of art. In the hands of a talented director it has become a story of loyalty, honour, vengeance, and family. Director Sam Mendes (American Beauty, Revolutionary Road) has shot such a visually beautiful period crime film that it might bring a tear to your eye. His shots are exquisite and demonstrate that he obviously loves the story along with the period.
It is the winter of 1931 and aging Irish American crime boss John Rooney (Paul Newman) leans heavily on his second-in-command, Michael Sullivan (Tom Hanks – You’ve Got Mail, Big). The two are so close that Sullivan sees Rooney like a surrogate father and vice-versa. He basically performs all the “hits” that his boss requires.
Rooney has given a “hit” assignment to Sullivan and his own son Connor Rooney (Daniel Craig – Casino Royale, The Golden Compass). Connor botches the job badly. Accidentally Sullivan’s son (Tyler Hoechlin – Solstice) sees him and the botched job. In the aftermath, Sullivan’s wife (Jennifer Jason Leigh – Greenberg, Margot at the Wedding) and youngest son (Liam Aiken – Sweet November, The Object of My Affection) are killed. A witness being alive is not something that Rooney can tolerate, so the boy must go. Sullivan is not about to kill his own son or allow him to be killed and now finds himself and the boy on the run while trying to figure out who double crossed him. Rooney has hired another hit man (Jude Law – Closer, Repo Man) to kill Sullivan.
Everything from language to music to costumes to locations to actors is bang on in this film. Hanks tones down his usual hamminess for this role and only reveals the layers of emotions of his character towards the end of the film. The totally masterful Paul Newman, who received an Oscar nomination for his work in the film, expertly plays the role of a man in a position of power who is getting older and weaker and knows it, but tries to maintain his hold over people. Jude Law is just creepy scary as the hit man after Hanks.
Despite the fact that this is a crime film it is a lot more subtle than films of this genre usually are. Things move slowly in the film, but it is well worth it to stick with it. It is, however, much more impactful a film than you would expect.
Released in 2002.
-HBO Making of Road to Perdition
Twilight directed by Robert Benton:
Retired detective Harry Ross (played by Paul Newman) takes on a job he thinks will be simple. In actuality he is delivering blackmail money. Find himself in the middle of a 20 year old case which involves the disappearance of the former husband of actress Catherine Ames (played by Susan Sarandon).
Released in 1998.