MR. AND MRS. BRIDGE
1990, Park Circus/Miramax, 126 min, UK/USA/Canada, Dir: James Ivory

In Merchant Ivory’s MR. AND MRS. BRIDGE, change sweeps into the traditionalist world of an aging, well-to-do American couple. Besieged by a progressive cultural climate and by his adult children’s attempts at autonomy in 1940s Missouri, patriarch Walter (Paul Newman) struggles to retain a rapidly eroding sense of order. His only ally in this battle, submissive wife India (Joanne Woodward), is no less subject to his domestic tyranny, however. In this adaptation of two Evan S. Connell novels, screenwriter Ruth Prawer Jhabvala delivers her customary restraint, brought to the screen with a quiet authenticity by real-life couple Newman and Woodward.


TORN CURTAIN
1966, Universal, 128 min, USA, Dir: Alfred Hitchcock

With spy films all the rage in the mid-1960s, director Alfred Hitchcock delves into cloak-and-dagger territory in this underrated Cold War thriller. Physicist Paul Newman defects to East Germany with fiancée Julie Andrews - but he is actually a double agent on the hunt for missile technology. Fast-moving and beautifully shot, TORN CURTAIN includes indelible supporting performances from Lila Kedrova, Tamara Toumanova and Wolfgang Kieling (as a particularly hard-to-kill security officer), and a tense museum sequence that inspired a similar scene in Wes Anderson’s THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL.


SLAP SHOT
1977, Universal, 122 min, USA, Dir: George Roy Hill

Director George Roy Hill (BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID) and writer Nancy Dowd (Best Screenplay winner for COMING HOME) bring to the screen this incredibly funny and foul-mouthed saga of a has-been hockey team from a dying-on-the-vine Pennsylvania town. Paul Newman is both the team’s coach and a player who strives for a winning strategy. When an atypical fit of violence erupts in the rink, it creates a surprising spike in the team’s popularity, and Newman suddenly has a guaranteed approach to bring in the fans. Co-starring Michael Ontkean as a fish-out-of-water Ivy League player disgruntled by the bad sportsmanship, Strother Martin as the team’s manager, Jerry Houser as Dave “Killer” Carlson and Jennifer Warren as Newman’s long-suffering beautician wife. Reportedly Newman’s favorite of his films. "Easily the greatest hockey film ever made. …Paul Newman stars as the coach/player for a second-rate team who can't win and can't even get arrested until they hire three brothers with Coke-bottle glasses named the Hansons. These three violent goons begin beating other players to a pulp in every game, not only drawing attention to the team but beginning a winning streak. …Irreverent and very funny." - Jeffrey M. Anderson, combustiblecelluloid.com


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