March 22, 2007


Stuart Rosenberg: Television and film director best known for 'Cool Hand Luke' and 'The Amityville Horror' (Independent, 23 March 2007)

Stuart Rosenberg, film director: born New York 11 August 1927; married 1950 Margot Pohoryles (one son); died Beverly Hills, California 15 March 2007.

Stuart Rosenberg directed one of the outstanding films of the 1960s, Cool Hand Luke, which won an Oscar for its supporting player George Kennedy and a nomination for its star, Paul Newman. It remains one of the finest films to deal with prison life, and the scene in which the disturbed loner Newman wins over fellow inmates by his ability to consume 50 hard-boiled eggs in one uninterrupted session has become iconic, as has the catchphrase used by the warden (Strother Martin) which has since become part of the language, "What we have here is failure to communicate." [...]

Rosenberg himself discovered Donn Pearce's 1965 novel Cool Hand Luke, and recommended it to Jack Lemmon, who had formed his own production company, Jalem. "It was the first time I had come across an existential hero - not an anti-hero - in American literature," he said. The 1967 film version proved a potent mixture of social comment and fine entertainment, its depiction of life in a southern prison prompting the historian Clive Hirschhorn to comment in his 1979 book The Warner Bros. Story, "Stuart Rosenberg's probing, intimate direction almost amounted to an invasion of the prisoners' privacy."

What has Cool Hand Luke to do with prison?

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 22, 2007 10:27 PM
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