Moreso than generational differences - which obviously are at play - I was so struck by how godless this movie was, especially for a cowboy flick. This goes up there in the Existential Terror genre hall of fame. Damned if you do, damned if you don't... Homer pines for a simple and beautiful life in harmony with nature. Hud - boozer, womanizer, rapist, second-hand murderer - deserves nothing and yet he gets everything.
But at the same time, every character is shown to be layered. Homer is stricken with a bad case of the stoic 'Real-Man's, denying his children emotional support and criticizing their every move. While Hud is clearly suffering from an emotional neediness he was denied his entire life. Well, like Foot in Mouth Disease, I guess at the end of the day the only true cure for any of it is a bullet in the right place. And as Lonnie so aptly says "dirt is [not] a better place than air."
Great character drama, driven by some fantastic performances. Plot is a bit of a slow-burner, though it is never dull. The interactions between the main characters drive the movie, and your engagement.
Quite powerful ending.
As mentioned, it is the performances that drive this. Three of the four main actors - Paul Newman (as Hud), Melvyn Douglas (Homer) and Patricia Neal (Alma) got Oscar nominations with Douglas and Neal picking up Oscars (for Best Supporting Actor and Actress, respectively). Paul Newman, who is superb in a rare bad guy role, missed out to Sydney Poitier in Lilies of the Field.
Brandon De Wild, the only one of the four to not get an Oscar nomination, is great as Lonnie and is unrecognisable from the irritating kid who yelled "Shane! Shane!" all the time in Shane.
How this movie didn't get nominated for the Best Picture Oscar in a year when the eventual winner was the mediocre Tom Jones, I don't know.
viewed on 25/7/04 (Sun)
No offence but I don't really think highly of this 1963 movie. Maybe I am just not comfortable with its 7 Oscar nominations. It is a moderate character study, not that great. Patricia Neal who has a supporting role actually won Best Actress. Paul Newman plays the usual brooding angry man in Cat On A Hot Tin Roof and Cool Hand Luke. Am I running out of things to say? Yup...
Everything there is to say has been said about this film.
Look out for a memorable scene between Lon and his grandfather when they go to the cinema. We see them singing along to My Darling Clementine together. It's a scene of pure joy, simple yet so touching. You could find something to praise in every scene of the movie.
To be watched again and again.