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Word Count: 919
Lucas Jackson is a returned war hero with an attitude Hes drifting through life with no purpose of direction One morning finds him a little drunk and cutting the heads off parking meters In the South thats called damaging municipal property and its a chain gang offense Hero soldier Lucas Jackson finds himself face to face with the man Paul Newmans starring role as Luke is a study in rebellion against the boundaries of society and a mirror of 60s thought His portrayal is laid back and understated just playin it cool as he comments to one of his fellow inmates Sometimes nothin can be a real cool hand There is a hierarchy among men free or otherwise a pecking order if you will and Luke like all before and after him must fight for his place among the ranks of his peers His command of social skills is obvious He lays back observesin the beginning sometimes commenting without overt intrusion on the scheme of daily life in the prison camp You call the Captain Captain You call the rest of us Boss Advises the orientation speaker who greets Luke and the other new meat arrivals The warden is played to stereotypical perfection by the late great character actor Strother Martin Hes genuinely perplexed by Lukes status as a decorated hero and bemused by the irreverence of his crime noting We never had one of them before Luke next hears from Carr the trustee who delivers a litany of rules each punishable by a night in the box Carr offers a classical bit of foreshadowing saying You aint going to be a hard case are you He senses Lukes contempt for the structure of the camp Luke replies Not me boss deliberately conferring that title undeservedly onto the beleaguered floorwalker Learning the ropes in chain gang camp is a metaphor for learning the ropes in life Permission is required for
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