Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Newman and Woodward Together Again

It's been just about a year now since Paul Newman died. This Saturday, you can see one of the earliest movies in his career, 1958's "The Long, Hot Summer," on Turner Classic Movies at 7 p.m. (Central).

The film has special significance because one of his co–stars was Joanne Woodward, who became his wife that year. As nearly as I can tell, this was the first time the two appeared in a film together, but it was far from the last. Between 1958 and 1990, they were in nine more films together. Newman also directed four films in which Woodward starred but Newman did not appear.

Their collaboration (including the projects in which Newman was the director) produced more than three times as many movies as the partnership of Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. It was even more productive than the legendary alliance of Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn.

That's pretty impressive. From what I've heard, more of a fuss was made about Newman's film partnership with Robert Redford than his partnership with his wife, but Newman and Redford only made two films together. "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" and "The Sting" were great movies, but they represented a fraction of the work Newman and Woodward did together.

Their marriage lasted 50 years — not a bad record for Hollywood. Of course, they weren't exactly a Hollywood couple. They lived in Connecticut.

Newman had this to say about his marriage: "I don't like to discuss my marriage, but I will tell you something which may sound corny but which happens to be true. I have steak at home. Why should I go out for hamburger?"

This Saturday, you will have the opportunity to see them together when it was all getting started.