Paul Newman: A Panther With Good Intentions

Tennessee and Paul Newman/Martin Beck Theater/1959/Photographed by Gordon Parks

Paul [Newman] is insatiably curious, and he has an almost masochistic tendency to test and stretch himself. I cannot imagine that he does not enjoy his physical beauty, and the power and the pleasure it has brought him, but it is also his curse, his aesthetic cross to bear. He fights his beauty almost always, and he did so when he played Chance Wayne. He kept the body and the presentation of it beautiful, but he did marvelous things with his voice and his face to reveal the character's chicanery and greed. When he was again in the presence of his young self, with all of his dreams and goals, he became angelic in appearance, glowing. I think he's marvelous, incapable of coasting, and inherently good. He is silent and curt, but he's always there to praise or help a friend. Even strangers. He slips in and out with great ease. A panther with good intentions.


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