- Martin Ritt
- Reviewed by
- Gon Curiel a.k.a. Groucho
- Review date
- Thursday, September 07, 2006
The story observes Hud Bannon (Paul Newman), a reckless young anti-hero who has worked his whole life ranching for his father Homer (Melvyn Douglas), with whom he maintains a less than tender relationship. Despite his hard work, Hud irresponsibly rides a Pink Cadillac around town and cynically parks it outside married womenís houses. Heís infamous in town but still reliable at the ranch, despite his differing ideas with his boss and father, Homer.
Homer is an idealist, a proud rancher whose cattle means everything to him. Heís an old man who lives among ghosts and shadows from the past, but still believes his existence is worthwhile if he can die a happy rancher. His whole family is comprised by Hud and Lon (Brandon De Wilde), his grandson, the son of Hudís dead brother. Living with them is Alma (Patricia Neal), their attractive and headstrong housekeeper.
Lon is in a way the central character, who admires both Hudís hedonism and Homerís strength of character. Despite Hudís obstinacy, sometimes itís evident that his progressive ideas are not altogether reckless, but rather seen as such by old-fashioned Homer. Hud never cares about tradition and is sometimes willing to stump over ethics for his own convenience, but he also has some practical thoughts that could never be accepted by his father.
The novel that stunned the West became a remarkably realist and somewhat crude film that constitutes a histrionic powerhouse and a particular triumph for director Martin Ritt. The black-and-white cinematography by James Wong Howe is quite gripping.
A classic clash of titans living in unforgiving, opposite worlds raises Hud to epic, almost biblical proportions. Itís beautiful how understated the movie is, and how significant; Elmer Bernsteinís score is another illustration of that.
Every character is a very important piece in the story and every actor excels. Newman, Douglas and Neal are completely beyond words in performances that had to be perfect and certainly were. De Wilde, whose role as a child in Shane a decade before made him famous, proves once again what a great actor he was intended to become.
ďIt donít take long to kill things, not like it takes to grow.Ē
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