Hud Reviews

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Super Reviewer
September 10, 2015
Look under the skin of the American dream and there's a dust bowl the size of Texas, where the wide open spaces still do not provide enough breathing room, where everything still feels too unbearably close.. Martin Ritt's film introduces us to a family running their own spread, cowboys all, but disease and dissatisfaction, selfishness, eat away at any semblance of decency. Newman makes his mark as the most honest soul walking and unhappy, unhappy, unhappy. Melvin Douglas and Patricia Neal are great here.
Super Reviewer
December 24, 2011
I can't get enough of Larry McMurtry's West Texas, and Hud is yet another excellent film based on his novels (see: Last Picture Show, Lonesome Dove, Terms of Endearment, and note that he wrote the screen adaptation of E. Annie Proulx's short story Brokeback Mountain, too). Paul Newman plays one of the angriest young men you'll ever see on screen, a farm boy too wild for his home who has a terrible relationship with his father, and maybe a drinking problem. Brilliant for its esoteric nods to remote, small town life, and memorable for the Oscar-winning performances by Patricia Neal and Melvyn Douglas, Hud tells a classic story that, though it slows a little by times, frequently punches you in the gut like only McMurtry can. The writing is incredibly economical, too. As Chekhov said, if there's a gun on the mantle in Act I, it had better go off in Act III. Every new element that comes into the story pays off, to the point that, with every new revelation, you ask, "Now where is THIS going to go," and you're never disappointed. It's a very good film.
Super Reviewer
½ May 30, 2011
Bleak, beautiful, and well acted = my kind of film.
Super Reviewer
March 7, 2011
Paul Newman at his best, managing to make a severely flawed character incredibly charming and sympathetic. This has some extremely beautiful black and white images and definitely sets the mood for a very depressing story. At first glance, this isn't even something I would consider a western. However, the story is such an important step in the western genre because it goes beyond the cowboys and indians scenario. I would say that this is the most important modern western in that it analyzes the idea of a true cowboy and proves that they are a dying breed and incompatible with current morals and values.
Super Reviewer
November 30, 2009
Movies always portrayed cattlemen as married to their life as if it was the only thing they thought about and their life was caught in a time warp of only having a horse or maybe an old pick up truck. Hud shatters that American image of the rancher as married to his land, to a degree. It's like a new generation has come to take the reigns of what once was, even if the old generation wants it to happen or not.

Paul Newman plays the title character, a life long rancher by day and a gigolo by night, drinking and fighting and leaving Mrs. Whoever's house at six in the morning. He lives and works with his father Homer (Melvyn Douglas). Their relationship is as estranged as you can get while living together. There's a definite chill in the air when both are present. Also on the ranch is Hud's teenage nephew Lon (Brandon De Wilde), an impressionable young man who is torn between the influence of his uncle and his grandfather. Patricia Neal plays the housekeeper Alma, a presence that represents the opinion of the opposite sex in a world full of men and causes some sexual tension within the household.

The film begins with one of the herd dying of an unknown ailment that suddenly becomes a dire situation when the fear of foot and mouth disease suddenly becomes a possible reality. Homer is despondent, worrying throughout the film while Hud continues trolling around in his pink Cadillac and drinking and fighting and screwing throughout the town. It's like a morality piece between the old ways and the new ways.

What Hud represents is actually the battle for Lon's soul. Homer shows his grandson that work and dedication are the ways to get where you want in life. Hud's philosophy is to take as much as you can. When the first talk of foot and mouth Hud's plan is to make a quick sell of the cattle and be damned if their sick or not, much to the displeasure of his father. The two are polar opposites with Lon stuck in the middle. The question that this film offers is what path will Lon follow? Is he strong enough to follow his grandfather's example or is Hud to much of an influence on the young boy.

Paul Newman gives a stellar performance as what is essentially the bad guy. Of course he was written as the bad guy, but in an era that was post James Dean and Marlon Brando you can see him as more of a rebel than an opportunist, though it can be said that Brando learned a lesson during the Wild One. Hud learns nothing from start to finish. Melvyn Douglas is Newman's equal as the old and broken down Homer. Homer is still calm and cool, even in the face of everything he's up against. He's old school all the way.

Directed with a great eye for the landscapes by Martin Ritt, the film doesn't let them overtake the film. There are no sweeping John Fordesque Monument Valley shots that become the centerpiece of the film, but there is some terrific landscape that fills in the areas that the actors aren't taking up. It's really a mesmerizing film based on the work of Larry McMurtry, whose work would later show the real life in a Texas town with The Last Picture Show.

Hud is really the first gleam of Paul Newman's excellence as an actor. His portrayal of Hud is a hypnotic piece of acting. Is Hud a bad man? It's hard to say. He could just be like every cattleman's son in Texas. Maybe no one ever fought for his soul?
Super Reviewer
½ May 4, 2007
A gorgeously shot B&W film with a tour-de-force performance by Newman.

Hud is a character you should hate, but over the course of the film you really grow to feel for him (but I wouldn't say you end up liking him)He's the kind of asshole all men secretly want to be like. A pure bred Alpha Male.

The supporting cast are all stellar and even more impressive given the rolls don't have the bravado of the lead. Patricia Neal is particularity good with an understated & complex performance that's both protectively maternal and fiercely sexual.

The dialog is also killer.
Super Reviewer
November 2, 2007
paul newman plays an absolute bastard in this great modern day western with beautiful b&w cinematography
Super Reviewer
September 22, 2008
This is probably one of my favorite movies. Every line, every shot is pitch perfect. As good as Newman is (what do you expect from one of the greatest actors of all time), the best performance in this movie is Melvyn Douglas who is amazing. From opening to close, it had me captivated.
Super Reviewer
½ February 16, 2007
I am always thankful that the cattle executions are kept off camera. Man, can Newman play an absolute SOB well. Now we know that couldn't be easy for him : ) What a talent. Patricia Neal took best actress honors for this in 1963. This is well-deserved, but it's also ironic. McMurtry's novel calls for an African American woman to play the character whom Neal portrays, Alma Brown. Undoubtedly the powers that be figured the public was not ready for Newman and a Black female actress -- although I'll bet that if Newman had carried the weight then that he does now, he would have insisted on having a Black actress play the part. It's a shame that so many people thought the way they did back then. Really, nowadays this would be a no-brainer. But imagine this, flixsters. What if they had decided to stay absolutely true to the story and had cast an African American woman in this role? And what if this woman's performance had been as strong as Neal's, and she had won the best actress Oscar? Well, it would have been an historic night. 1963 is the same year Sidney Poitier won his best actor award for Lillies of the Field. I am so glad that we now live in a much more progressive age. If not for the animal slaughter, albeit off-screen slaughter, this would be five stars. Hey, guys, if you've read my stuff before, you know how I feel about the treatment of living creatures on screen.
Super Reviewer
½ October 24, 2006
Paul Newman during the height of his best years. Almost enough to make a man turn gay. ALMOST...!
Super Reviewer
October 21, 2013
Newman is great as he has been in practically every single film that I have seen in him. He never calls it in on the role. It is a darkish western aided by tension to bring out the best in the performers.
Super Reviewer
September 11, 2007
HUD: The man with the barb-wired soul. Hands down this is the best Paul Newman film ever! Newman is so bad ass in this film, I never wanted it to end. I also want to go out and get drunk, fight and then screw some housewives with Hud. The stark B/W is poetic and I love Melvyn Douglas and Patricia Neal in this, they both deserved the Oscar. This film was so good Martin Ritt never recovered.
August 10, 2012
The beauty of Martin Ritt's "HUD" is that the film is able to do so much with so little. With such a simple plot, Paul Newman along with the rest of the cast create an enduring experience filled with tremendous performances on all sides. Simply the movie's feel from its story, to its masterful visuals immerse its viewers into the claustrophobia and isolation of small-town society. But above all of that, its a story that has a strong personal touch to it.

Paul Newman lives on a farm in a small hick down with his father and his nephew. His father blames him for the death of his other brother. When a disease rolls in and all of the cattle begin to die, the Government finds out and threatens to shut down the farm if they don't kill all the cattle. This subplot coincides with Hud's desire to skip town and become independent, but also realizing his true love for his father and the rest of the people that he cares about. It's a wonderful story. It's plot is not only heartfelt, but its strongly political, which for its time seemed controversial. Paul Newman loved to star in these kinds of rolls because it got the people talking.

Before I discuss the performances, I would like to talk about the movie's visuals. Throughout the whole film, we see wonderful landscape shots, and busy small town streets. Close-ups on characters are highly progressive for 1963. We get all kinds of experimental cinematography which works perfectly in this film. The sound mixing and editing is spot on from beginning to end. The movie's aesthetics are just as wonderful as it's story. Truly great stuff.

The acting, is absolutely perfect. Paul Newman is not only flawless, but he's legendary. He gives one of his greatest performances in this film. Melvyn Douglas is very good as well, and watching these two act with one another truly makes me shiver. It's just great stuff, and you don't really get this kind of acting in film anymore. Truly amazing.

"HUD" was simply a wonderful film. It's content is able to reel you in so easily that I found myself glued from the moment it turned on. Beyond that, the film's beautiful visuals and powerhouse acting further emphasize the mastery that this movie has. It truly is one of the best. "HUD" is a contemporary masterpiece.
July 22, 2012
A great American story of generational angst over passing the baton, of young people at a timely yet universal crossroads, of salt-of-the-earth folk clinging to their values in a world changing for the worse. Paul Newman earns his legend in this film.
½ May 3, 2011
Paul Newman is an asshole throughout the film. Even when we see his vulnerabilities and virtues he stills looks like an asshole. For this reason it is hard to get into the film. This is Raging Bull without any sense of hope. I still liked it for the acting and cinematography.
November 11, 2009
This is one of the best films ever made. Paul Newman plays a complete bastard. Patricia Neal is wonderful as the housekeeper/cook. She radiates the screen.
August 13, 2009
Brilliant film, absolutely brilliant. Patricia Neal well deserved her Oscar, and gives one of the most memorable performances of all time. Melvyn Douglas is superb, Brandon deWilde and Paul Newman give some of the best performances of their career. The direction is sublime. Excellent cinematography and screenplay.
April 5, 2009
Family ties are tested and some found wanting. A look at the best of the American character show by a Grandfather
February 27, 2009
Awesome movie directed by Martin Ritt. Great story line, and great scene shots (camera angles & framing). Of course, Patricia Neal is awesome. Great pairing of her and Paul Newman.
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