QUESTIONS


Every so often, I get random requests for information. Some of the answers are interesting, so I thought I'd share them here.

Q: Iveta Moore, the Storm Water Inspector from Santa Rosa, CA asks: "In Wikiipedia, Paul's mother is mentioned as Hungarian. I believe his mother was from Slovakia. Can you collaborate on that? I am from Slovakia-and would be very proud to call him my countryman. thanks."
A: Thanks for the question Iveta, Paul's mother (nee' Theresa Fetzer) was a Catholic Hungarian who converted to Christian Scientist when Paul was 5 for reasons unknown to him. Paul wasn't very close to his mother and didn't share her materialistic beliefs that resulted from her being raised poor and wanting more. Paul does credit her for encouraging him to get into theater.

Q: (Not really a question, but a comment that I thought I'd answer...)From Heather:
I was surfing your webpage in an effort to learn about Paul Newman. I was very impressed by the information I was able to find. I must also add that, in reading the summary of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, I found that you had said that the question of Skipper and Brick's relationship was only hinted at. You should also add to that statement that Hollywood censors wouldn't allow such controversial material to be placed in a film. After all, they almost snatched "Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn..." right out of Gone With the Wind. And while your ending to that summary ("Maggie struggles to get Brick to come back to her but she is no match for the demons that plague his memory.") is a great line, it's not true. If I had read your summary before seeing the movie I would have thought that it ended without Maggie and Brick reconciling. I'm not trying to be rude; just trying to give some constructive criticism. If you would like to email me with any comments, or as the case may be..."hatemail", I would be honored to hear from a Paul Newman authority. ~Heather

A: I'm hardly a "PLN Authority" (though my ego loves the sound of that...) and I always love comments that make me think about how I perceive a film. My response to Heather's comment that I made it sound like Maggie and Brick don't get back together. What Heather understands about the film is that Brick and Maggie have some sort of metamorphisis, causing them to reevaluate their relationship and fall in love all over again. That just isn't the case. It's true they don't separate, and continue living together, but I hardly think continuing to "occupy the same cage" qualifies as a reconciliation. I guess it's all just semantics.


Q: hi! hey i was wondering if u know or just have an opinion on this but, at the end of the color of money when paul newman says," i'm back" and the movie ends does that mean he won. i would appreciate a response, thanx. - Crazy8s99

A: Thanks for your email- personally (and I have no real film criticism background to back me up on this but...) I always thought Newman's last line at the end of Color of Money meant that Fast Eddie was going back to the way he used to be. If you notice, Eddie undergoes a transformation when he first meets Vincent, seeing himself in both Vincent's arrogance and his talents and then decides to take him under his wing. I believe that through this time where he mentors Vincent that he rethinks his life and what he's been doing. Has he been wasting away his days? Did he leave all his glory days behind him 25 years earlier? What has he accomplished since then? Eventually he splits from Vincent and they become rivals, and this allows Fast Eddie to go through several other personal transitions - he tries living like he did 25 years ago, and finds that the life still appeals to him. He tries to get back out of it, but it calls him back and when he and Vincent meeting up at a final showdown, the tournament, I think Fast Eddie is finally ready to accept who he is, saying "I'm back...." Of course that is only my own opinion, and one probably shouldn't read too much into it, (i'm not sure what Scorcese or screenwriter Richard Price wanted to express with the statement.) Hope that helps!

Q: Joanne did it in 1959, but Paul didn't do it until 1968 with Angela Lansbury. What was it?

A: Harvard University's Hasty Pudding Man of the Year

Q: Do you have any information on the Scott Newman Foundation? - Terri Trexler

A: The Scott Newman Foundation was formed in 1978 after Scott (son of Paul and Jackie Witte, aged 28) died of an overdose of Valium and alcohol. The Foundation (now called The Scott Newman Center) was established at the University of Southern California and is devoted to drug education. Joanne sits as a board member.

Q: Name the director Newman has worked with most often.

A: Newman has appeared in 6 films directed by Martin Ritt (Hombre, The Outrage, Hud, Hemingway's Adventures of a Young Man, Paris Blues and The Long, Hot Summer). Ritt also made such films as Norma Rae, Murphy's Romance and Stanley and Iris. He died in 1990, and was blacklisted in the 1950's. He was only nominated for one Oscar during his career for directing Hud. Coming in second is Stuart Rosenberg with 4 (WUSA, Cool Hand Luke, The Drowning Pool and Pocket Money) and George Roy Hill with 3 (The Sting, Slap Shot, and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid). Paul has also worked with 7 other directors more than once (Robert Wise, Robert Benton, Richard Brooks, Robert Altman, James Goldstone, Jack Smight, and John Huston) and for such prestigious arteurs as Alfred Hitchcock, Martin Scorcese, Sidney Lumet, Peter Ustinov and Otto Preminger.

Q: What is the name of the song that Paul Newman sings after he learns his mother has died in Cool Hand Luke and where can I find a recording of the song? - goozrulz

A: After much searching, (so much in the interim, goozrulz seems to have disappeared) I have found the answer to your question regarding the song that Paul Newman sings after his mother dies, in Cool Hand Luke. I refer to website (a fabulous review of CHL): www.filmsite.org/cool.html for this info.

"Dragline pays off the bets following the egg-eating contest and he brags about Luke, his deceptively cool, witty performer: "That's my darlin' Luke. He grin like a baby, but he bites like a gater." When Luke receives notice in a telegram that his mother has died, he is given space by the inmates to pay his last respects to her in the privacy and quiet of his cell bunk. He strums on a banjo and sings a requiem for her - it's a parody of a raunchy pop-gospel tune "Plastic Jesus," a song that is about finding temporary solace with a plastic Virgin Mary:
Well, I don't care if it rains or freezes, long as I got my plastic Jesus, sittin' on the dashboard of my car.
Comes in colors, pink and pleasant, glows in the dark cause it's irridescent
Take it with you when you travel far.
Get yourself a sweet Madonna, dressed in rhinestones sittin' on a pedestal of abalone shell
Goin' ninety, I ain't scary [sic - 'wary'], 'cause I've got the Virgin Mary, assurin' me that I won't go to Hell.
Get yourself a sweet Madonna, dressed in rhinestones sittin' on a pedestal of abalone shell
Goin' ninety, I ain't scary, 'cause I've got the Virgin Mary, assurin' me that I won't go to Hell.


The soundtrack can be ordered on amazon.com.