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  • Hud
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Showing 1-10 of 125 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 278 reviews
TOP 1000 REVIEWERon June 27, 2015
Hud looks very simple on the surface. The Bannon family consists of patriarch Homer Bannon, his son Hud Bannon and grandson Lonnie Bannon, the son of Hud's deceased brother. Working an arid ranch in the Texas Panhandle, they retain Alma Brown as a housekeeper and cook, and she lives in a small, one-room cottage near the ranch house. When one of the cattle is found dead a crisis slowly begins to unwind.

Beneath this simple exterior lie many deep, dark and powerful forces that will be unleashed as the decidedly different personalities of Hud and Homer come to the surface with young Lonnie caught in the middle with his admiration of both of them. Alma is also caught in the middle with the attentions of both Hud and Lonnie. Government regulations and officials, small town life and gossip and the power of nature also intrude themselves until the story becomes practically a Shakespearean tragedy.

The power is in the acting as well as the writing. Melvin Douglas won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar as Homer, a man of high principles flawde by his unyielding nature. Paul Newman was nominated as Best Actor for his role of Hud, whose charm and charisma barely conceal a host of flaws that border on the criminal. Patricia Neal won A Best Actress Oscar as Alma, a very down home country woman whose plain exterior cannot conceal her earthy sexuality. To see her range, though one would mistake her here for a truckstop waitress in Amarillo, just about a year before she played the rich, sophisticated woman who kept Paul Varjak (George Peppard) as her boy-toy in Breakfast At Tiffany's. Brandon de Wilde is open and impressionable as Lonnie in what is the most memorable role in his sadly short career (unless you count his child's role in Shane). It's great ensemble acting in every way.

All this is captured perfectly in the brilliant black and white Panavision of James Wong Howe who also won an Academy Award for his work. For those who don't remember, serious films were shot in black and white until the mid-Sixties, with color left for musicals, comedies and genre pieces.Since this was a Western and thus a genre film, the studio fought the decision to use black and white but director Martin Ritt knew this was no run of the mill Western and refused to change to color. The studio also did not like the way Hud's character was written and also wanted the ending changed. As is usually the case, we are lucky the director, writers and cast refused to budge on these issues. The cinematography not only highlights the emotions of the characters but beautifully accentuates the vastness of the Plains and the tiny size of the towns and ranches where lives are lived against this vast solitude.

Most interesting over the years has been the reaction to the character of Hud. He was written and played to be corrupt and rotten man of no good character, audiences took to him from the beginning and saw him as a hero. To some extent this was due to Newman's unmistakable charisma and charm that would overshadow the flaws in any character. Also, this is 1963 and times were already changing and audiences were perhaps already responding to an anti-hero type, a type who would become prominent by the late Sixties.

Hud is a real experience and not to be missed.
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on May 21, 2014
Academy Award nominations: Picture, Director-Martin Ritt, Leading Actor-Paul Newman and Black and White Set Design.

Wins: Leading Actress-Patricia Neal, Supporting Actor, Screenplay, Black and White Cinematography

March Boy nominations: Cinematography, Original Score and Sound Mixing

Wins: Picture, Director- Martin Ritt, Leading Actor-Paul Newman, Supporting Actress-Patricia Neal, Supporting Actor and Screenplay.

I don’t think a more profound statement was ever made. Our country has such an obsession with stars, elitists and politicians because of their superficial charms such as good looks, pronounced sexuality, spunky sense of humor, smooth rhetoric (hence the People and Ok magazines and television show American Idol) and oftentimes if you really look past their shiny veil of glamour, you realize their moral compasses are little better than that of Sodom and Gomorrah.

Hud was made during the 1960’s when movements like Woodstock, LSD, Gay Rights and Freedom of Self-Expression were only waiting in the wings. Homer, the patriarchal leader of the Bannon ranch represents the old morality culture that promotes keeping a tight rein on your personal wishes and desires, working from sun-up to sun-down to put food on the table for the family, making sacrifices for the sake of the greater good and accepting hardship and suffering as one’s share in life without complaint. Hud, on the other hand, represents the emerging, rebellious, “This is ME. This is WHAT I AM” future generation whose creed is to live it up before they ‘lower the box’ and the hell with whoever gets in your way. I have seen this movie many times and it just occurred to me, there’s a little bit of Homer and Hud in all of us (like the good and the bad wolf in the old Indian fable) and the one who wins out is the one we choose feed—each as individuals on a daily basis.

I have nothing against Sidney Poitier’s win for his charming, light-hearted, good-humored turn in Lilies of the Field and I’ve often been torn on whether he or Paul Newman should have won but now that I really think it through, it’s Newman all the way because Hud is a far more complex and compelling film. I suppose since this was 1963 when the Black Liberation Movement, Martin Luther King Jr. and Lyndon B. Johnson Movements were in full bloom the Academy wanted to show the world how racially tolerant they were (like in 1939 for Supporting Actress) but even then, they always have had a peculiar habit of confusing the award “Best Actor” for “Best Character in the Story.”

I mean look at the other awards Hud won. Patricia Neal (Leading Actress—Alma the Housekeeper) and Melvyn Douglas (Supporting Actor—Homer) and it is SO OBVIOUS and IN YOUR FACE. Look at all the awards A Streetcar named Desire won in 1951. (Best Actress—Vivien Leigh Blanche, Supporting Actress—Kim Hunter and Supporting Actor—Karl Malden) Now look at who they DELIBERATLY left out—the dirty rotten villains who create conflict, set all the chain of events in motions. The Academy said to themselves “We’ll award all the GOOD characters but NOT STANLEY AND HUD! OH NO! OH NO! They’re too EVIL CANIEVAL! Marlon Brando and Paul Newman can’t be awarded for playing such vile characters!”

What puzzles me more is how a movie can get nominations for Director, Leading Actor, Leading Actress, Supporting Actor and Script and NOT a nomination for BEST PICTURE—since when is a movie’s greatness NOT judged by the acting, direction and script?

Paul Newman is not only strikingly handsome (in a naughty sort of way with those bleary eyes and crocodile grin) but completely disappears into his role. He delivers his lines with crisp speed and wit which often makes me laugh out loud despite Hud being such a despicable character (“Why this whole country is RRRRUNNNN on epidemics! Where have you been!” “Here. You have a little drink. I’ll have a little drink. And maybe we can work up some REAL FAMILY FEELING HERE.”) makes his lecherousness and smark-alleckness chillingly realistic yet infuses a certain “bad boy” charm that makes you realize why his nephew Lonnie was so stupid to look up to him as a role model until his grandpa gives him a reality check in the staircase scene.

Melvyn Douglas is amazingly subtle as Homer, the moral compass of the film—the grouchy old man who tell it like it is and doesn’t take crap from anyone. Probably his best scene is when he leans on the fence looking over his favorite pet longhorns who have been diagnosed with the hoof-and-mouth disease. The health department says “Well there’s two we missed. We’ll take care of them.” But Homer says “No! I brought them into this world and I’m going to take them out of it.” Slowly he raises his rifle a la Jody in the Yearling or Travis in Old Yeller and says to himself “Now that I’m here, I don’t know if I can kill them.” But then he remembers how Hud had wanted to pass off all that bad beef on the market, pulls himself together and concludes before pulling the trigger “But if I have to kill them, I guess I can.” To me, this was the most heartbreaking moment of the film—his favorite pets whom he had raised from calves, so dear to him for they had never caused him any REAL trouble like his own son had remorselessly done over and over by stepping over all he had taught him about God and morality from childhood. (Hence the scene where Hud makes a lengthy speech about how Homer always pulled out the two tablets and quoted scripture right and left as if he had wrote it.) But as this movie powerfully demonstrates, all you can do is raise your children. You can’t live their lives for them. This is once more emphasized at his funeral when his grandson Lonnie says “He ain’t in no lopin’ around eternal life. He’s the way he always was. I don’t think he’s in a better place. Not unless dirt is better than air.”

Patricia Neal is superlative as Alma the housekeeper. She takes what could have been an easy throw away, generic love token interest and makes a big impression with her unique, husky voice and gritty realistic style of acting. She is especially good in the scene where Hud tells her to let him know when her back’s itching again so he can scratch it for her. A slow mischievous grin creeps up her face as she tries hard not to burst out laughing. And of course those wide eyes glazed over in sheer terror and after Lonnie saves her hide from him later on.

The only weak member of the cast is Brandon deWilde as Lonnie as he doesn’t really do much except stand around with a deadpan expression and say his lines in a monotone but with the splendid characterizations of Newman, Douglas and Neal, who cares?

I loved the overall, dry, stale, slow, downbeat feel of the film perfectly suited for a sleepy little town in the middle of a desert. The mournful, wistful “Wayfaring Stranger-ish” guitar which plays a simple yet powerful melody—especially the scene right after the funeral where the camera pans around the empty ranch which looks more like a ghost town now.

I cannot recommend this film enough. Well worth your time and great for discussions.

Five Stars.
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on October 10, 2016
I am 63 and faintly recall my parents throwing us kids in the car and seeing this at a Drive In Theater when it came out. And, i just finished reading the novel on which the film was based titled "Horseman, Pass By", by Larry McMurtry (Lonesome Dove). Its a fantastic visit into the rural bleak but alive tiny town of Thalia Texas, a town very similar to one featured in "The Last Picture Show", also a Larry McMurtry creation. You were either in town, or out on the barren weathered ranch. It stayed pretty faithful to the novel. Paul Newman was the Paul Newman before he made his own Ranch Dressing. This is a good Black & White classic perfect for a matinee experience some afternoon.
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on March 10, 2016
My son was supposed to do a book report on a book that had not been made into a movie, he chose Larry McMurtrey's book "Horseman, pass by".
When I saw he chose that book, I told him that they did make the title into a movie under a different name, but maybe his teacher would not be any the wiser. The book was very dark at times compared to the movie, and had a few very funny moments that were talked about that could not be put on the screen in 1963. The movie was just as brilliant in it's own right and I had to remind my son that it was "based" on the book.
Paul Newman was riding the wave of success, but Patricia Neal and Melvyn Douglas were just as good! 5 stars!
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on May 3, 2014
Fantastic character study of an anti-hero some might say, and one of the best (if not the best) movie roles portrayed by Paul Newman (in my personal opinion). The black-n-white color give the film an extra appeal. The supporting cast of Patricia Neal and Melvyn Douglas is more then better, and the story is simple and yet so captivating...people from all walks of life and of different cultural background could relate to this one...even though its an all-American movie, its message(s) is universal. This a modern day neo-gothic American western...not many movies of such subgenera were made...

[Last line in the movie]
"You know something Fantan? This world is so full of crap, a man's gonna get into it sooner or later whether he's careful or not".----Hud Bannon
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on July 22, 2014
Seven OSCAR nominations for the film. Two WINNERS. PATRICIA NEAL, Best Actress. MELVYN DOUGLAS, Best Supporting Actor. I admit, it's a side of PAUL NEWMAN I don't like to see. He was Nominated for Best Actor. HUD's father's poor health forces him to come home and deal with a crisis on the family ranch. It appears to be Hoof in Mouth Disease. DADDY'S a good man and SONNY BOY HUD is as crooked as can be. HIS PLAN is to sell the cattle to someone quickly before they find out the herd is sick. DADDY WON'T HEAR OF IT. Such a crooked thing to do. HUD is MEAN, ROTTEN AND NASTY. He sees his inheritance going down the drain so he tries to have DADDY declared legally incompetent so he can take control. Hud forces himself on housekeeper NEAL and continues his perfect impression of a horse's ass right through to the end. It IS an INCREDIBLE PERFORMANCE by PAUL NEWMAN.
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on February 18, 2017
Amazing movie by a very young Paul Newman! No collection of classic films complete without this one.
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on November 1, 2006
What hits you first in this film? For me it was the images. There are black-and-white images of rural Texas and cars. We are definitely in a Western setting but it is also definitely contemporary. One way of life is transitioning into a new one. The visual imagery is vividly captured by cinematographer James Wong Howe's always intuitive and brilliant work. One way of life, that of living a moral lifestyle through hard physical work of the land, gives way to cynical, lethargic and calculating modernism. The film focuses on the Bannon family. There is Melvyn Douglas who plays Homer Bannon, the highly moral patriarch who never has really lived life but instead works it. Paul Newman is HUD, Hud Bannon, Homer's son. Hud stands for everything counter to his father. Hud lives a questionably moral or just an outright immoral (as seen by his father) lifestyle that is certainly worldly by anyone's standards yet he will always come back to his father's call no matter how much of a cad Newman's character appears to be. Brandon de Wilde is Lon Bannon, Hud's impressionable nephew and it is through his perspective we see things. Patricia Neal is the housekeeper Alma whose worldly ambitions come into play with her banter with Hud and interestingly she never gives in to Paul Newman's constant allusive advances. The clash of cultural and moral ideology, of the old ways vs. the new, comes over the Bannon's herd of cattle almost assuredly infected with hoof-and-mouth disease. Douglas wants the cattle slaughtered while Newman wants to sell them off and not take the monetary loss. This is one of director Martin Ritt's best films.
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on July 3, 2007
The most telling line in "Hud" is when Hud Bannon (Paul Newman) tells his father, Homer Bannon(Melvyn Douglas), that he had to be bad because his father was so good. Therein lies the paradox of "Hud". Do we empathize with the morally flawed Hud or with the overly pious Homer? Or do we just stand back and pity this unfortunate father-son relationship? Credit these two superb actors for creating complex characters that offer the audience no easy answers. Also excellent is Brandon De Wilde as Hud's nephew Lonnie who is drawn into a tug-of-war for his soul by these two polar opposites. Patricia Neal as the frank talking housekeeper, Alma, steals virtually scene she is in. The conflict she has is that she is simultaneously repulsed and aroused by the lecherous Hud. The scenes she shares with Newman have a certain erotic charge to them. Neal won the Oscar for best actress in 1963 for her role here. There's no debating how good she is but her role is most certainly a supporting one. Gorgeous black-and-white cinematography by James Wong Howe. It's best utilized in the film's chilling cattle slaughter scene. The final shot of the film with Hud at the porch door perfectly encapsulates the film. It's ambiguous but it's in synch with the rest of the movie.
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on May 21, 2017
Hooked!
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