Movie Reviews

DVD Review: “The Paul Newman Collection”

(Warner Home Video, 1956-1975/2006. B&W/Color. Widescreen. 7 Discs, Box Set. Rated PG.) Various directors. Harper, Somebody Up There Likes Me, The Young Philadelphians, The Drowning Pool, The MacKintosh Man, The Left-Handed Gun, Pocket Money.

Seven lesser-known movies from Newman’s heyday, all released on DVD for the first time. The most familiar is probably Harper, based on author Ross MacDonald’s famous Lew Archer detective (Newman had the name changed to Lew Harper to fit in with his other hit movies – like Hud – which began with the letter H.) He reprised the character nine years later in The Drowning Pool. Other standouts in the set include Newman’s breakthrough role as boxer Rocky Graziano in Somebody Up There, which was supposed to be James Dean’s next role after Giant. My personal favorite is The Young Philadelphians, high-gloss soap opera with Newman as an ambitious lawyer from the wrong side of the tracks. Among the many people he’s expected to please: his fianc?e (Barbara Rush), his mother (Diane Brewster, who was 6 years younger than Newman in real life), the family friend (Brian Keith), his mentor’s wife (Alexis Smith), and his Princeton pal (Robert Vaughn in an Oscar-nominated performance). Look fast for Adam West! As for the set’s extras, most of the films come with commentary from someone connected with the production, but it’s too bad that Newman, 82 next month, didn’t really participate. You hear him for only 10 minutes – on speakerphone! – talking to director Robert Wise about playing Graziano. Otherwise there are the standard trailers, and one featurette.

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