If Paul Newman was in it, it was a Paul Newman movie.

Arts, entertainment, and more.
Sept. 29 2008 6:54 AM

The Bluest Eyes

The pleasures of watching Paul Newman.

Also in Slate, read Dahlia Lithwick's obituary of Paul Newman and Stephen Metcalf's tribute to his favorite Newman moment on film.

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This last clip is also from a movie Newman made with Woodward,the 1990 Merchant-Ivory drama Mr. and Mrs. Bridge. But Woodward barely features in this scene, in which Newman's character, a rigidly conservative Midwestern businessman, glances out the window as his daughter (Kyra Sedgwick), an aspiring actress in the full bloom of youth, sunbathes on the lawn. Without speaking a word, and in just a few seconds, Newman registers at least four distinct emotions: paternal disapproval at his daughter's scanty attire, a troubled stirring of arousal, the immediate stern repression of that arousal, and finally a moment of solitary sadness. It's not that you come away thinking that Mr. Bridge wants to do his own daughter—this is a Merchant-Ivory film, not some Italian melodrama about incest—but you see at what cost he's kept the world of the flesh at arm's length his whole life.


The delicacy of that moment is what I mean by the Buddhism of Newman's late style. It was as if the raw sexual energy of those early roles had passed through a refiner's fire, concentrating itself into his smallest expressions and gestures. As his own beautiful body aged, Paul Newman's acting grew ever more deeply embodied, and ever more beautiful.