Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Hud (1963)

The Bannons put the diss in dysfunctional.

Father Homer (Melvyn Douglas) and son Hud (Paul Newman) haven't seen eye-to-eye -- for decades.

Homer is an old-time cattle rancher. He believes a man should work to support himself. Homer's a man of integrity.

Hud drinks too much, has affairs with married women and connives or cheats his way to what he wants. Hud also drove drunk the night he was in a fatal collision, killing his brother, the father of his nephew, Lonnie (Brandon De Wilde) more than a decade ago.

Lonnie is keen to follow Hud around during his frequent forays into town. Homer fears the poor example Hud is setting for his grandson.

Homer and Hud snipe at each other regularly through director Martin Ritt's 1963 drama. There's some great dialogue here, examples I can't share with this post as I brought the wrong book with me to the library Internet station. My apologies.

Differences between father and son come to a head when a vet finds some of Homer's herd has foot and mouth disease. His cattle have to be quarantined while tests are done. Should they prove positive, they'll all have to be destroyed. Hud wants to pawn the cattle off on other ranchers. Homer is aghast at his son's idea - knowingly selling contaminated animals that could likely cause a national epidemic.

But Hud sets the rules as he sees fit. He'll sucker punch an opponent in a fight and grab hold of a pig another man caught to win a contest.

Tensions are further hiked up on the Bannon spread with Hud's interest in cook Alma Brown (Patricia Neal). She's divorced and wary of Hud's on-going advances. Lonnie is interested in Alma too.

Watch Hud for strong performances and a riveting story.

RATING: 9/10

FUN FACTS: Wow. De Wilde was Joey Starrett in Shane. Sadly, he was killed in a motor-vehicle collision in 1972. He was 30.

Neat casting. Yvette Vickers, primarily known for starring in Attack of the 50 Foot Woman , appears briefly as a married woman Hud is fooling around with.

Douglas and Neal won best supporting Oscars for Hud. Newman was nominated, but didn't win. The film also snagged an Academy Award for cinematography.

Neal and Douglas appeared in his last film, Ghost Story.

Paul Newman worked as a cowhand on a ranch prior to filming Hud.

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