Hud (1963)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Americana, Modern Western  |   Run Time - 112 min.  |   Countries - USA  |  
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Hud is a "modern" Western, with few admirable characters and a decidedly unsympathetic anti-hero, played with licentious and unscrupulous arrogance by Paul Newman. Hud's lack of a discernible moral system makes him far more unlikeable than his judgmental but ethical father, Homer (Melvyn Douglas). The unconventionally attractive Patricia Neal delivers a subtle and sensual Oscar-winning performance as Homer's housekeeper Alma. Like the audience, she is both attracted to and repulsed by Hud, yet she has the intelligence to see that his cynicism and opportunism are best kept at arm's length. Hud is a warning shot for the Sixties, for which its focus on generational conflict would prove prescient. However, this is not a young man's film, as the wizened Homer (Douglas won an Oscar for this performance) provides the film's greatest pearls of wisdom, and Hud is, in the end, left bitter, cynical, and alone. James Wong Howe's dusty Oscar-winning cinematography is a key to giving Hud an authentic Western feel.