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Winning is…everything.

May 16, 2014

Winning (1969)

Wednesday May 21st

Film starts at 8pm

Lady Jay’s633 Grand St, between Manhattan & Leonard, Brooklyn, NY 11211

Hey, Frank. You know what? What about a little sugar in his gas tank? That’ll fix him. I read that in a magazine about how the saboteurs work.

This week’s review courtesy of The New York Times, 1969. See you at the flicks!


Winning (1969)

Screen: Human Element at Speedway:Paul Newman Starred in ‘Winning,’ Drama

Published: May 23, 1969

THE effect of “Winning,” an auto-racing drama, is so refreshingly graphic and intelligent that Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward have earned a long vacation, should they so choose. Fresh on the heels of their “Rachel, Rachel” success and with the aid of Robert Wagner, the Newmans took up residence yesterday at the Radio City Music Hall. The Universal release, an exquisitely professional exercise, is probably the best-rounded and most appealing personalized film of this kind ever made.

Roaring cars manned by grim, goggled rivals, with lovelorn women in the bleachers, and that inevitable big race all are familiar staples over the years on movie speedways. Even in such above-average projects as “The Racers” and the formidable “Grand Prix,” the human element surfaced uncertainly.


“Winning” adroitly bypasses the usual Grand Hotel roundup for the tensions of one shattered marriage. Those involved are Newman, a seasoned ace on the speedway circuit; Miss Woodward as his loving but adulterous wife; Wagner as the racing partner who betrays Newman, and Richard Thomas Jr., as Miss Woodward’s teen-age son by a previous marriage, who idolizes Newman.

This situation quietly dominates the picture as it vividly sketches the backgrounds and preparations for meets in Wisconsin, California and Indiana. Strikingly photographed in color, under the direction of James Goldstone, these uncluttered scenes cram in a wealth of fascinating detail as the picture moves toward the big day, the Indianapolis 500.


And the human element coasts along with it, snugly integrated, unobscured and with absolute conviction. At all times, the director holds close to his characters with superb balance and sophistication. Much of this adult flavoring stems from the screenplay by Howard Rodman and its flow of pointed, often amusing dialogue, so consistently natural that it is hardly noticeable.

Two long-distance telephone scenes between Newman and Miss Woodward and their final confrontation may make some viewers feel like eavesdroppers. And so will the easy, man-to-man exchanges between Newman and young Thomas, a film newcomer and the most appealing teen-age lad in a long time.


The Newmans, of course, are both splendid, he as the brooding, fiercely determined “winner” whose personal world tumbles, and she as the errant cause, a complex characterization that Miss Woodward shades with wise reserve.

As the friend who undermines their union, Wagner is entirely credible, but the character remains enigmatic and is the film’s only flaw and unturned stone. David Scheiner, as a car builder, and Clu Gulager, as a car mechanic, are excellent on the sidelines.

K99 Paul Newman drinking milk David Sheiner Winning

As for the Indianapolis 500, Mr. Goldstone has pulled off something extraordinary in the semi-documentary department. Starting with the grayish dawn, as early fans file into the raceway stadium, and using the color camera like a whippet, the director has assembled a big, vibrant, rhythmic kaleidoscope of sights and sounds that almost pops the screen. But even with motors roaring full blast, in “Winning” it’s the people that matter.

The Music Hall’s stage show is “Dateline — Daily News,” a musical salute to the newspaper, featuring Yanco Inone, Suzanne Barry, the Rockettes, the Ballet Corps and the Symphony Orchestra.


The Cast
WINNING, screenplay by Howard Rodman; directed by James Goldstone; produced by John Foreman; a Jennings Lang Production; a Newman-Foreman Picture presented by Universal Pictures. At Radio City Music Hall. Running time: 123 minutes.
Capua . . . . . Paul Newman
Elora . . . . . Joanne Woodward
Erding . . . . . Robert Wagner
Charley . . . . . Richard Thomas Jr.
Leo Crawford . . . . . David Sheiner
Larry . . . . . Clu Gulager
Bottineau . . . . . Barry Ford

– Review courtesy of The New York Times, 1969


People stay married because they want to, not because the doors are locked.


What do you want me to do? Drink with strangers?

CM May 2014

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