Monday, 29 September 2008

You Didn't See Lefors Out there Did You?

As the sun sets, and reflected vapour trails in the canal emerge from the darkening blue – like the flag of St. Andrew rising from the depths – it’s time to let the day fall away, with all its triumphs and tragedies, and head home to a vodka and tonic and a celebratory viewing of Cool Hand Luke and Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid. I imagine this is how I will spend my days after the apocalypse, fishing in the canal, and reciting lines from my favourite movies. That and killing zombies.

I wrote “I ain’t scared of lightning” while watching the end scenes of CHL, borrowed the title of “Stronger than Dirt” from the scene with his dying mother, and have the film deeply embedded in my psyche to the point where I unconsciously reference it all the time. That’s another way of saying ‘steal’.

1969’s Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid (we both had our initial release that year) led me first to Paul Newman, and to William Goldman who wrote it, and to George Roy Hill who directed it (and several of my favourite films) and finally to Conrad Hall, whose cinematography has remained unparalleled throughout history – CHL is all about the blue, baby. Prisoners’ uniforms, southern skies, Newman’s eyes. It’s actually Conrad Hall who doubles for Butch when crashing the bike in the famous Bacharach/David “raindrops” sequence, trivia fans. CHL (1967) was ground zero for an explosive starburst of talent - play spot the famous actor - a family tree of interlinked artists whose work I cherished as a kid, and am grateful for now. But Hill, Hall and Newman…alas all now gone. Thankfully summonable at the flick of a switch – at least for a little while longer, so that’s how I will spend my Sunday evening, in their company. I raise my glass to you all, gentlemen – the first of many hopefully, if I can find something left at the back of the fridge to drink. Ah yes, here it is. For a moment there…


  1. Paul Newman will be riding Butch's bicycle for ever. At least that's how I want to remember him.

  2. Cool post tom - I had an eerie paul newman experience on saturday. A film with Robert Redford in was on and it got me thinking about Paul Newman in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and then onto how much I respect him and so much of his work. With this in my head I turned on my laptop and my msn screen had a picture of him with the story of the sad loss. Left me feeling a bit cold.

  3. I spiral back in time when I think of Paul Newman, a young lassie swooning over his films and a time when our planet was a pretty good place to be. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid is my fav PN film, a fantastic actor but more importantly a damn fine human being! RIP Paul!


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