Hud is a masterclass drama & classic Hollywood at its best. About the titular Hud seen through the eyes of his teenage nephew, the film paints authentic portrait of western rural life. Most notable of all is the cast's tour de force of stellar acting. Another quality that shapes Hud into a great picture is the Oscar-winning cinematography by the great James Wong Howe.
A film that has the best a classic American drama can give: great actors, a bright and brilliant script, a conventional directing with some touches of originality (especially when it can accentuate the heightened emotions of a sequence with subtle camera movements). The game and conflict of generations in all of its splendor, and Newman is more devastating than ever.
Newman's performance is a little forced but Patricia Neal is amazing. She anchors the viewer's perspective, observing at close distance the clash of values and toxicity between the men, simultaneously seduced and repulsed by Hud's dangerous potency and narcissism. Intelligent direction from Ritt, never preachy, and great cinematography from Howe, contrasting the daylight's open expanses with the shadows of the night.
A melancholic ode to a word vanishing in a cloud of dust and tumbleweed. Paul Newman gives a rollicking performance as the ultra masculine, volatile, cowboy Hud hellbent on alienating all around him. Like The Last Picture Show or A Streetcar Named Desire, Hud is a classic piece of Hollywood drama built on powerful characters, a superb script & a poignant setting. America was fast changing in the 1960s & Hud knows it.
A sex icon can immediately enhance and transform the qualities of the most insipid and well-beaten of scripts. And Hud is no exception. The film is Paul Newman and barely nothing else, a classic moralistic tale about the impending demise of the old times with Newman ala James Dean rebelling without a cause, an enfant terrible bouyed by blue eyes and Apollo features inavertedly blossoming as a good actor.
The American democracy checks and balances at work. The Father --the conservative. The Tradition. Hud --the liberal. The New-waver. The Nephew --the permanent tension. Out in the world, you'll find out. Remember me: Eugene O'Neill, Arthur Miller, Tennessee. Timeless. The old truths. We'll answer.