Have you been reading Ebert’s blog by the way? Its fantastic.
Kael on Newman in ’77 Slapshot
“Newman imparts a simplicity and boyish eagerness to his characters… He can play what he’s not — a dumb lout. But you don’t believe it when he plays some one perverse or vicious, and the older he gets the better you know him, the less you believe it. His likableness is infectious; nobody should be asked not to like Paul Newman…
Newman is one of the least vain of stars; he used to smirk sometimes, but it wasn’t vanity — it was nervous self mockery, a shamefaced recognition of the effect that his handsomeness was having on other people. Now he has no need to be self-conscious; he’s earned the right to be proud of how he looks. ..In a picture such as Winning, he was impressive but a little somber; there was nothing to crack open — he couldn’t use his resourcefulness. Here his technique seems to have become instinct. You can feel his love of acting; he’s not fighting it or trying to hide it”