Book Reviews: Second Sight and Screening Justice

Remember my love for Paul Newman and especially for a little film called Cool Hand Luke I mentioned a few weeks ago?

Well, I’ve put the library to good use and what I found has been a veritable goldmine of information and ideas for my writing project about a guy named Hawkett.

Two books I read and skimmed:

  1. Second Sight; Notes on Some Movies, 1965-1970 by Richard Schickel
  2. Screening Justice The Cinema Of Law: Significant Films Of Law, Order, And Social Justice edited by Rennard Strickland, Teree E. Foster, and Taunya Lovell Banks

So this review is kind of hazy and vague: The books were good for information regarding Cool Hand Luke. I don’t think they would be of much interest for someone who doesn’t want to dig deeper into a particular film or genre of films.

Now here are some quotes that leapt off the page, coupled with my reaction to the book (if you’re yawning, go ahead and close up shop – I get it):

From Second Sight:

“But the prison atmosphere is used as Schofield Barracks was used in From Here to Eternity – merely as a forcing chamber in which to expose the workings of a determinedly non-conformist character caught in an atmosphere where the only choice lies between conformity and death.”

The critique of Cool Hand Luke was predominately negative and yet here is the statement above that rang true and brought clarity and understanding to the character of Luke.

From Screening Justice (Cool Hand Luke: Rebellion and Illusion):

“Ironically, the extreme measures taken to prevent escape make it all the more enticing. To a rebel like Luke, escape becomes an irresistible challenge.”


“Far more than a prison movie, however, Cool Hand Luke belongs to that group of films that depict that nonconformist’s struggle to maintain independence in an unappreciative and non-understanding world. Many of these rebels and “loners” are survivors who either ultimately prevail, or at least to live to continue in their unconventional, drifting ways.”

I really enjoyed Screening Justice, partly because it’s the first book I’ve ever borrowed from a law library. That alone was nerdy cool. This would be a great reference books for movie lovers who enjoy following their passion down a rabbit-hole and can’t wait to find out what they will discover next.


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