Monday, September 29, 2008

My Favorite Paul Newman Screen Moment

I could rip Nancy Pelosi a new body part for thinking she could dump on the Republicans and they wouldn't bite back. Did you think they wouldn't kill the bailout package after your whining blamefest the day before the vote? I won't go there. I want to rise above what a stupid waste of time she is and talk about Paul Newman.  

The rest of you can have all the great scenes in Cat, Hud, Hustler, Cool Hand, Butch Cassidy, The Sting, et cetera. My favorite Paul Newman moment is in a movie called the Outrage. You won't find it on any of his best of lists because as movies go, it wasn't very good. But even bad movies have scenes that rise above themselves from time to time.

Outrage was a black and white western made during a time when American directors were stealing Japanese fables and turning them into horse operas. Outrage was a story of a horrible event as told from several different points of view. All you have to watch is the opening. You can skip the rest.

As I recall, and I shall return after checking to see how good my memory is, Newman plays a cowboy, a bad cowboy. You know he's bad because his hair was dyed black. As the movie opens, he is lying on the ground with his head resting against a wagon wheel, and his hat is covering his face.

We watch as a speeding stagecoach comes around a bend in the road. The camera cuts back to Newman's face as he tips his hat up for a better view of what's going by from his partially concealed position. From this point, we never see the stagecoach again, only hear it. The camera is locked on Newman, as if too dumbstruck by what it sees to care about anything else. For what seems like five minutes, we watch Newman's eyes slowly follow the movement of the coach like a mountain lion sizing up its prey. In those few moments completely riveted by his face, we learn more about his character from just watching the subtle changes in his expression than hearing anything he might have had to say.

Even though the film was black and white, you could tell how blue his eyes were because the color registered as an unusually light gray. Somehow that made them and him even more mesmerizing.

Yep, I'll take the opening of Outrage as my single favorite Paul Newman moment. That chiseled face and those incredible eyes said it all.

1 comment:

screaminremo303 said...

Quite frankly, I was shocked Bela Pelosi would hand the RNC such a fine performance. I'm pleased - just shocked. If it is any consolation, I feel the same way whenever Bill O'Reilly opens his mouth.

Newman was a stud. Period.

I know he was a dyed-in-the-wool liberal and all that stuff but I just plain liked the guy. I liked him enough to occasionally purchase (shhhh...) his products to support his causes.

Paul Newman is gone and we're left with Ashton Kutcher. Can there be any more glaring example of what's wrong with our men these days?