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Number of Reviews on MG: 1524
Hud
1963 - NR - 112 Mins.
Director: Martin Ritt
Producer: Martin Ritt, Irving Ravetch
Written By: Irving Ravetch
Starring: Paul Newman, Melvyn Douglas, Patrica Neal, Brandon De Wilde
Review by: Carl Langley
   

You gotta chug that, it is all in the lips
"Nobody gets out of life alive. The world's so full of crap a man's going to get into it sooner or later, whether he's careful or not,” Hud mentions to Lon (Brandon De Wilde, who also appeared in Shane), his nephew who is prompted by Hud’s immorality. Cynical quotes such as this are unyielding throughout the entire motion picture. Despite being an egocentric, pestiferous, ruthless bastard in legendary writer Larry McCurty’s (Lonesome Dove, The Last Picture Show) novel Hud, Paul Newman uses his alluring good looks and charisma that allows us to accept his character, in what turned out to be one of the most provocative roles of his inveterate career.

That is the magic of Paul Newman. Not many actors can turn on the charm and make the viewers coincide with the evil. What makes Paul Newman so special? He has done it to us before in films such as Slap Shot and even Road to Perdition. We sympathize with his characters and his portrayal of Hud is no different. Hud loves to use profanity, start fights, fall into a drunken stupor, and worst of all, he believes he is a great influence on his nephew. Hud even wants to sell diseased stricken cows to someone unwise and willing to buy them. He would rather dig for oil than “waste his time” raising cattle. But through all his unrighteousness, we are upset that his father is always on his case and that no one has respect for him. That Paul Newman…

The story takes place on a farm located in the Texas plains, owned by Hud’s majestic father, Homer (Melvyn Douglas), who is everything Hud is not. Caught in the middle of the disaccord are Lon, who takes after both, and Homer’s housekeeper, Alma (Patricia Neal), who must repeatedly turn Hud’s drunken passes away, even though her true feelings for Hud are reserved. The contrasting characters become the substratum of Hud, stirring a vivid tautness that is impeccable. The movie proposes little possibilities for its characters and there is only one who is intelligent enough to skip town and leave the damned farm behind.

With a capital story of moral perversion, the most engaging aspect of Martin Ritt’s 1963 Oscar-winner is how it depicts the similarities and, most notably, the separateness, of the different generations of family. Douglas and Neal rightfully won Best Supporting gold statuettes and the black and white cinematography, shot by James Wong Howe, won an Academy Award for bringing the dusty farm life – cattle, ranchers, and flatlands – to its realism. Paul Newman, in the midst of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, The Hustler, and Cool Hand Luke, is compelling in one of many finest performances in a rare anti-heroism role. This may not be his most famous film in his long-stretched career, but it is definitely up at the top as most important.
 
Movie Guru Rating
An important film.  A substantive artistic achievement.  Resonant. An important film.  A substantive artistic achievement.  Resonant. An important film.  A substantive artistic achievement.  Resonant. An important film.  A substantive artistic achievement.  Resonant. An important film.  A substantive artistic achievement.  Resonant.
  4.5 out of 5 stars

 
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