Paul Newman has his share of the best movies ever made. But even someone as decorated as him has a few stinkers. He regretted one particular thriller movie he lent his talents to so much, he paid for advertising to warn people against it.
The film is The Silver Chalice from 1954, his first acting credit in a motion picture. Newman wasn’t a fan of the drama movie, a historical epic directed by Victor Saville, and generally avoided talking about it. “I was horrified and traumatised when I saw the film,” Newman said in the book Paul Newman: A Life. “I was sure my acting career had begun and ended in the same picture.”
Thankfully, that much wasn’t true, but his distaste was so strong, he tried to discourage people from tuning into it when it was set to broadcast on TV in Los Angeles in 1963. As Paul Newman: A Life has it, the actor paid $1,200 for billboards that read “Paul Newman apologises every night this week – Channel 9”. The ads had black borders, to really make it seem like a commiseration.
Sadly, it only increased viewership, something Newman laughs off as “arrogance of the affluent”. His issues with the adventure movie stem from the overall quality, to his costume, as he told New York Magazine.
“That I survived that picture is a testament to something,” he says. “All I had in those movies was those short cocktail dresses, Nero got to wear all the long stuff with beads. My legs aren’t exactly my best feature.” That outfit actually contributed to him turning down the action movie Ben-Hur.
“I wore a cocktail dress once, never again!” he responded when asked to read the Ben-Hur script. Ooft. Being so bad as to make a beloved performer turn away from an incredible opportunity is some feat. Have a look at our list of the worst movies for more poor decisions.