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|Index||17 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Newman is a successful driver who marries a small-town divorcée (Joanne
Woodward), soon after they've met
As usual, he devotes too much time
to his career and ignores everything else, and, as in "From the
Terrace," Woodward turns in desperation to another manhere a rival
driver (Robert Wagner). Newman finds them in bed, and becomes estranged
from her (again, as in "From the Terrace"), but after winning the big
race, he realizes his life is empty, and attempts a reconciliation (the
theme of the "winner" who's really a loser).
The relationship is superficially written, but Newman and Woodward make us care about it Their first film together since "A New Kind of Love," it's their best since "The Long Hot Summer." They exude a naturalness, intimacy and spontaneous affection that one suspects come from their own feelings for each other It is apparent in their first scene, where he is slight1y drunk, delightfully playful, and confident (but no longer unpleasant) in his attempt to pick her up; and she responds with smiles and applause at his tricks with a fireman's hat, but looks slight1y uncertain about this glamorous stranger
Following their wedding, they sit on a swing, drinking beer from cans, talking and laughing quietly She describes her previous loneliness, and he responds, typically, "Beer's a lot less complicated." They smile, she rubs his back and leans her head on his shoulder: these are people who really know each other, and who have attained a maturity about themselves
Newman exhibits this maturity throughout His loose, casual style, evident in "Cool Hand Luke," has given way to an almost complete mellowness Perhaps because of the confidence gained from his directing experience, he has gotten rid of his mannerisms; and except for the intense determination he shows while racing, he's more relaxed than ever before Although the script tells little about his past, there's a wealth of experience etched into his face, especially in his brilliant, silent reaction to finding the couple in bedone of quiet resignation that suggests a lifetime of pain and frustration
Newman has many fine scenes of quiet underplaying: his camaraderie with Wagner early in the film; his solitude after the race; his genuine warmth in the relationship with his stepson (Richard Thomas). The scenes in which they drink champagne and come home drunk together project for the first time in Newman's career a really paternal feelingonly vaguely suggested in strikingly similar scenes in "Hud."
Of all the racing movies I've seen, this is probably my favorite, as the
acting in it matches up with the race scenes provided; it's pretty good,
Paul Newman (as Frank Capua) does an excellent job of portraying the ice-cool race driver who is dedicated to his profession to achieve the ultimate goal, of winning races as often as he can. Joanne Woodward is good in her role as the supportive wife who needs as much attention as Capua's cars do. In the mix is a teen-aged Richard Thomas as Joanne's son from a previous engagement, and his character blends in well as the new 'adopted' son of Frank. Of course Robert Wagner plays well his character of being the cocky teammate/rival of Frank. Not to mention there is also some good stereotype acting of supporting cast members of other people involved in Frank's world of racing, the car owner, mechanics, etc. There's even a cameo of Bobby Unser in the movie, who actually won the Indy 500 of the year in which the movie is placed at, 1968.
I guess I'm partial to "Winning" because it is realistic of what racing was like during the 1960's. Drivers then, weren't committed to strict contracts of not being allowed to participate in a variety of motorsports. Instead, a driver might have competed in a GP somewhere, then be off to a sports car race in Germany, or perhaps a stock car race or USAC Indy car race of some sort in the states. Such practices then weren't uncommon then. I thought that this movie captures this versatility well, by displaying the variety of races that Paul's character is involved in; Can-Am type races, stock car and Indy car races. Also this movie illustrated to some degree, how weekend after weekend would be occupied of setting cars up at certain tracks and, of course, racing them on Sundays, during the tight schedules of the normal racing season. The footage and sounds are great if you have a heart for racing.
Dave Grusin's soundtrack is nice too. Just good ol' easy-listening type music.
If you like auto-racing, then I'd suggest seeing "Le Mans" (1971) with Steve McQueen or "Grand Prix" (1966) with James Garner, as both have some good footage of actual racing as well. But if you want to see a racing movie with realistic scenes and scenarios of people involved the sport, with great acting, I can't think of any other movie to suggest than "Winning." It really is the only racing movie that I know of that blends in acting and action footage rather well.
Taken as a whole, this does not measure up to Newman's later works, but
that's not his fault. The story is a weak and draggy at times. Certainly
it's not "The Verdict", but then it's not meant to be. It is what it is, a
pretty basic story about a race car driver and his relationships; between
and his distant wife, his teammate (and again, his wife) and his stepson.
The uneven pacing almost sinks the film as a whole, though the supporting
cast is pretty ace. But forget all that for a moment.
For race fans the vintage footage alone is worth the price of admission...Can-Am cars at Elkhart Lake open the show and Indy closes it. Great stuff! What makes it all really work is that PLN did his own driving and it's clear he is enjoying himself and is right at home in the car, not shoehorned in like a Burt Reynolds or Tom Cruise or Sly Stallone. He is a RACER, and it shows. Plus the ending is classic Newman; you just don't know what's going to happen next, and you WANT to know.
Also recommended: "Grand Prix" and "Le Mans".
Most film fans know of Paul Newman's passion for auto racing, something
he shared with his fellow rebel hero Steve McQueen. So like McQueen,
sooner or later he was going to do a racing film. It's never going to
be listed among his best films, but at least it was not as self
indulgent as McQueen's Le Mans.
It's also not Grand Prix which had cinerama and dealt with the international racing scene and the glamour therein. This is an American film dedicated to what our president called the Nascar dads in the last presidential campaign. But it also deals with who I would have to call the neglected Nascar Moms.
Paul Newman is an auto racing driver and totally dedicated to his sport. He meets and marries Joanne Woodward who is a divorcée with a teenage son, Richard Thomas. After a while he starts taking her for granted and Woodward drifts off into an affair with rival driver Robert Wagner.
I very much doubt in real life if Paul Newman ever took Joanne Woodward for granted as he does her. I don't think they would have stayed married as long as they did. But Newman gives a solid portrayal of a man who gets quite a lesson in what is really important in life.
Richard Thomas shows some of the qualities that made him such a hit as John Boy in The Waltons. He gives a very good account of himself in scenes with Paul and Joanne.
Nascar Dads and Moms will like Winning, there's enough in the plot to satisfy all concerned.
First, I should say that I've never been into car racing. The only
other racecar-themed movie that I've seen is "Talladega Nights: The
Ballad of Ricky Bobby" (which was certainly funny). That said, I didn't
find James Goldstone's "Winning" to be a bad movie. Although the movie
meanders a little too much, it was mostly a solid focus on the toll
that racecar driver Frank Capua's (Paul Newman) obsession with winning
takes on his marriage. The verbal exchanges between Frank and his
despondent wife Elora (Joanne Woodward) run kind of long at times. The
scenes of the races themselves make the sport look like a death wish.
But overall it's a good movie, and it has a better ending than you'd
Also starring Robert Wagner, Richard Thomas, and a whole bunch of racers as themselves.
I am a big fan of Paul Newman but this must be one of his lowest films,
even though he is OK at it. I think this movie deserves 5.5 stars.
One of the biggest problems is that it last 120 minutes, it should have lasted 20 minutes less. I think the plot was good but not the way it was developed.
What I liked the most was the final scene between Paul and Joanne, this scene deserved to be in a much better movie. The race scenes are good.
Frank Capua is a car racer who gets married with Elora who has a 16 years old son who gets along with him, but there will be serious problems in the couple when he puts his career before her...........
I recommend watching it if it's on TV and you like old race cars movies or if you are a Paul Newman's die hard fan
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Fans of Newman can hardly skip this lesser entry in his sizable filmography as he's shown off to his best advantage throughout. He plays a race car driver (of varying kinds) who one night, after a big win, meets up with a lonely single mother (Mother) and sweeps her off her feet. They set off on a whirlwind courtship, ending in marriage, and Newman agrees to adopt her teen son (Thomas) whose life has lacked a father figure. Things run swimmingly until Newman has to go off on to the racing circuit, leaving Woodward alone to stew and return to her previous, lonesome life. A reunion at the Indy 500 does not go as well as either of them had hoped and soon their marriage in jeopardy. Newman has trouble separating his worries about his wife from his duties on the track. Meanwhile, Thomas is torn between his mother and his new father, who he looks up to and adores. Also, fellow racer Wagner is always right there, ready to take any and all trophies away from Newman if he can. On the surface, this seems like a film about racing, but it's really a domestic drama examining Newman and Woodward's relationship and the hazards of not communicating properly with one another. It's also a fable illustrating that "winning isn't everything", a point that is driven home not so subtly. When they talk about Newman's baby blue eyes, this is a film that really shows them off. His sun-kissed face provides the perfect setting for his piercing, gorgeous eyes. He does a lot of brooding in the film, but there are fun moments as well. He gets to show many sides to his persona and looks terrific in the clean, trim sportswear of the era (and shows off his fit figure in a brief swimming scene.) Woodward gives a solid, thoughtful performance as well, though her various Edith Head get-ups have not aged as nicely as Newman's wardrobe. At one point, to help get Newman's attention focused back on her, she dons a really frumpy wig which, thankfully, doesn't stay around too long. Thomas, in his film debut, makes a strong impression. The director would later use him in "Red Sky at Morning". He, along with the other leads, has a tendency to open his mouth as if to say something, but then doesn't, which can be a little tiresome, but it does aid the point that these people have trouble saying what they really want to say. Wagner is a prop more than anything... a plot device, but he does manage to get one fairly decent scene in towards the end. The film has a fast-cutting, rapid editing style that does help move it along, though truly it is a tad long for the story it has to tell. Though the authentic footage from the Indianapolis 500 is fascinating in its nostalgia and gives the film unquestionable "you are there" realism, a bit of it, along with some other sections, might have been trimmed to allow for a better-greased movie. The fast-clip pacing and thoughtful relationship drama would be completely absent from Newman and director Goldstone's later work, the abysmal "When Time Ran Out". Composer Grusin provides a bouncy, sometimes goofy, but always interesting, score. This film kicked off a love of racing in Newman which lasted the rest of his life, causing one of the few points of contention in his lengthy, real-life marriage to Woodward as she could rarely bear to watch him on the dangerous track.
This is an odd duck of a film. It has that sixties-film desire to heap
oh-so-serious, stagy, acting scenes onto a film ostensibly about
racing, action, and excitement. So, for buffs of sixties car racing,
there's plenty of stuff to see (and even wax nostalgic about), yet to
get to it you have to plow through several draggy domestic drama scenes
all about "revealing character" and "emotional symbolism" and all that
other creative writing 101 blather that is really meant for an entirely
different audience. Would you like to have a 'Jurassic Park' with Dr.
Grant and Ellie spending half the film discussing child-care issues and
emotional abandonment? You're there for the dinosaur story. And you're
watching 'Winning' for the racing material. Granted that there is
nothing wrong with presenting the "lonely life on the road" of a car
racer, but we understand the issues of Newman and Woodward (and Thomas
AND Wagner) very quickly, therefore the almost ceaseless hammering-on
about it all becomes depressing. Too bad, because this had the makings
of the best film on the subject. There are not exactly a lot of race
car films to begin with, outside of a few from the thirties, then later
'The Racers' with Kirk Douglas; 'The Big Wheel' with Mickey Rooney;
'Grand Prix'; and after 'Winning', McQueen's 'Le Mans' in 1971. And of
course, 'Days of Thunder' (blah).
Interesting that Newman likes spoken interaction between actors in his films, as in "Harper" where he plays a private eye, whereas McQueen as a cop says little throughout 'Bullitt'; and while 'Winning' is an actor's gabfest, McQueen and his cast are virtual blanks in 'Le Mans.' If you could cinematically combine footage from 'Winning' and 'Le Mans' (maybe even with 'Grand Prix') you could have the best racing film ever. Meanwhile, 'Winning' is debatably the best at this point. And you can't knock the fact that Newman in real life has done plenty of racing and IS married to Woodward. Certainly that adds to the realism. Incidentally, the title credits read: "Introducing Richard Thomas." This was ol' John-Boy's first film role. He's good, too. Oh, and quite the reverse, the music by Dave Grusin is deplorable: it's like some canned soundtrack from a TV action show. Thankfully there's no embarrassing title tune warbled by B.J. Thomas or some other late-sixties cliché singer or rock group.
From very near the start, Newman and Woodward look so comfortable in
each others presence. Well, they had been married for eleven years by
then! There are other films where the "married" couple just look as
though they are acting, and are not real. Here, it is so different and
makes watching the rest of it worthwhile, and pleasant.
OK, so we know that neither Newman nor Kapua won the 1968 Indy 500, so-what? It is easy to join in the excitement and appreciate the drama. The joining of real footage, especially of the first-lap pile-up is neatly and realistically done.
Coping with infidelity is always going to be hard, by both partners, here they do it OK.
Richard Thomas as the adopted son is good enough and led me to then watch his simply brilliant "All Quiet on the Western Front".
I saw this "movie" in Charlotte, NC in 1969 as a 1st run, special release. Just saw it again on an obscure cable network (AntenaTV) that specializes in older (1950's to 1970's) TV and film. This weekend was a "Newman's Own Weekend" and one of the films shown was "Winning". In 1969 it was a 1st Date Movie & Dinner with the man I would eventually marry. He hated it (except for the soundtrack)and I loved it. Just enough soap mixed with the right amount of macho to please most. Admittedly, this was obviously Paul Newman's reason to get behind the wheel; the story/screenplay was about mid-line, but the duo of Newman & Woodward was enough to please most and Robert Wagner being ROBERT WAGNER didn't hurt. Also John Boy got face time with the A-Team. Dave Grusin's soundtrack takes me back 45 years; armed with a box of buttered popcorn, large fountain cherry Coke, trying to be a nice cool girl and hoping for the 2nd date. Thank you Paul and Joanne and Robert and Dave Grusin. You all shares so many gifts with us.
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