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« Oscar Screenplay Records That Could Be Broken| Main| Beauty Break: Douglas Slocombe,Cinematographer »
Tuesday
Feb 23 2016

Paul Newman "is"...

We're reviving "Curio"but with a twist.It won't just be arts & crafts any more but any curiousity so here's one about movie vernacular,taglines,and advertisements.- Editor.

Fifty years ago todayHarper(1966) hit movie theaters.We only mention this because it gives us (another) excuse to post Paul Newman photos and to talk about a favorite movie poster quirk.Joe Reid recently wondered aloud why we say "Actor 'in' Name of Movie"versus"Actor 'on' Name of TV Show"which is true and curious.Why is that the language?

And why do some advertising campaigns say Movie Star IS...rather than Movie Star IN...or Movie Star AS?With Paul Newman it was "is"more often than not.Here's some proof...

Even when Harper opened in other countries it was"Paul Newman is..."


Even when they changed the title for the UK release,it was still"Paul Newman is..."

And of course three years beforeHarper,in Paul Newman's greatest film it was still..."Paul Newman is..."

Later when he madeHombre(1967) we got one of the best "Paul Newman is..."taglines

Hombre means man.Paul Newman is Hombre."

The very next year inThe Secret War of Harry Frigg(1968) the studio PR team dispensed with the title altogether to use"Paul Newman is..."

Hell,even when fansmock up "what if"postersit's"Paul Newman is..."

Sadly whenHarpergot a sequelThe Drowning Pool(1975) ...they couldn't exactly use "is".AndCool Hand Luke(1967) bucked the trend even in its heyday despite the perfect opportunity to use it.

"as"...???That's just noncommittal.

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Reader Comments (11)

And yet we didn't get Blanchett IS Carol.

February 23,2016 | Unregistered Commentersummer

I don't know the exact reasoning,but it seems to me that a film is a finite piece of work that you can appear "in"once and only once but a television show is a series that could technically run forever."In"means contained in an object,or something within limitations or a moment contained in time (like a finite piece of work - film).Appearing "on tv"just sounds like an idiomatic phrase,like being "on the telephone,"or "on"being used when you do not enclose something (like a series that can run technically forever).

ANYWAYS,I haven't seen Harper.Is it any good?

February 23,2016 | Unregistered CommenterRyan

What a cool poster,I like it lots.

February 23,2016 | Unregistered CommenterRob

Julia RobertsisErin Brockovich
Pam GrierisJackie Brown

February 23,2016 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtful

To the best of my understanding they say "is"when the title is the name of the character.For example "Paul Newman is Hud"(or else "Paul Newman as Hud").But if the title is something else,like "The Verdict",it would make no sense to say "Paul Newman is The Verdict".Hence,"Paul Newman in The Veredict."

February 23,2016 | Unregistered CommenterMarcos

I think "is"gives more of a sense of immediacy and that the actor is inhabiting the character rather than just playing him or her.

The other two Harper posters are interesting but the original is so cool,clever and individual.

Ryan-The movie is a highly enjoyable detective adventure.Newman is terrific and it's an actressexual's dream with Lauren Bacall,Julie Harris,Shelley Winters,Janet Leigh and Pamela Tiffin supporting him as well as Robert Wagner at his "It Takes a Thief"suavest.

February 23,2016 | Unregistered Commenterjoel6

Any excuse to give me some Paul Newman in the morning is a good one.

Harper's poster has the feel of the Ross Macdonald novel it was taken from,and a script by William Goldman.As Joel6 says - well worth checking out.
The Drowning Pool a sequel in 1975 wasn't as good,but Newman's 50 year old body was in excellent shape.

February 23,2016 | Unregistered CommenterLadyEdith

What exactly is a barbed wire soul?I've seen HUD a couple of times (that chemistry with Patricia Neal!) but I don't recall that phrase being used.

February 23,2016 | Unregistered CommenterDave in Hollywood

When it come to biopics,that "is"can be questionable...

Julia RobertsisErin Brockovich

The thing is—and I think I posted a comment about this here several years ago—this was was a clear case of "Julia RobertsasErin Brockovich,"or even "Erin Brockovich is Julia Roberts."Because that movie was a classic example of a perfectly constructed Vehicle,designed to show off all the best attributes of a movie star and get her to the podium on Oscar night.It certainly wasn't an example of an actor embodying a person through the use of gesture,voice or makeup ("Meryl Streep/Daniel Day Lewis/Marion Cotillard/etc.is...)

February 23,2016 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

We need to post about Paul Newman,or the other Golden Hunks: Marlon Brando and Burt Lancaster,every day.

February 23,2016 | Unregistered CommenterFadhil

Paul Newman is a MOVIE STAR

February 23,2016 | Unregistered CommenterJaragon

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