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Hud

Hud(1963)

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teaser Hud (1963)

SYNOPSIS:

Lonnie Bannon lives on a Texas ranch with his grandfather Homer, who he respects and reveres, and his uncle Hud, a surly, unprincipled hellion in a pink Cadillac who Lonnie admires and tries to emulate. Hud's reckless behavior and immoral ways are tolerated by his father Homer and their world-weary housekeeper Alma until a crisis hits the family. Because of some cattle Homer bought in Mexico, his entire herd becomes infected with hoof-and-mouth disease and must be destroyed. Hud wants his father to sell off the herd before anyone can find out about the diseased animals, but Homer decides to do the right thing, even though it means the end of their livelihood and way of life. The two become locked in a bitter struggle over not only the future of the ranch but young Lonnie's soul.

Director: Martin Ritt
Producers: Irving Ravetch, Martin Ritt
Screenplay: Irving Ravetch, Harriett Frank, Jr., based on the novel Horseman, Pass By by Larry McMurtry
Cinematography: James Wong Howe
Editing: Frank Bracht
Art Direction: Tambi Larsen, Hal Pereira
Original Music: Elmer Bernstein
Cast: Paul Newman (Hud Bannon), Melvyn Douglas (Homer Bannon), Patricia Neal (Alma Brown), Brandon de Wilde (Lonnie Bannon), Whit Bissell (Mr. Burris).
BW-112m. Letterboxed.

Why HUD is Essential

Unsympathetic leading characters were certainly no strangers to the American screen by 1963 when Hud was released. In the 1930s, James Cagney built a career on charismatic criminals, and Clark Gable (whose earliest roles inspired director Martin Ritt and Hud's screenwriters) often played characters on the wrong side of the law and righteousness. But as Ritt observed, Gable was converted near the end of the picture by either "some lady, or Spencer Tracy, or God." And Cagney, much like the even nastier and more brutal characters played by Kirk Douglas in Champion (1949), Ace in the Hole (1951) and other movies, usually ended up punished or dead. It seemed American films were unwilling to present a heel who refuses to reform - until Hud came along, as critic Judith Crist observed, "without the slightest sweetener to satisfy our sentimental yearnings."

Hud also addressed a change in American society and a new cynicism about our way of life and the people who succeed at it. In the story, aging Homer Bannon, a respectable and highly principled rancher whose world is crumbling around him, warns his grandson about admiring the unscrupulous Hud and his creed to take what you can get. "Little by little, the look of the country changes because of the men we admire," Homer says, prefiguring the fall from innocence and a step toward what many see as today's increasingly cutthroat, corporate society.

Hud was one of several modern-day Westerns that lamented the death of the open, free world of the old West and its upright code of ethics, at least as it was presented on screen, if not in historical fact. Movies such as The Lusty Men (1952) and Lonely Are the Brave (1962) were centered on a rugged individualist male hero destroyed by a world that has left him behind in its rush toward progress. But in Hud, it is that rugged individualist who refuses to compromise that is shown to be the most destructive force.

What was especially remarkable about this characterization was that it was carried on screen by perhaps the most appealing and popular young star of his day, Paul Newman. And it was presented with sensitive, engrossing performances; the stark beauty of James Wong Howe's superlative black-and-white photography; and Elmer Bernstein's evocative musical score, all of which served to increase the film's immense popularity with critics and public. Newman was later dismayed to see how the film was received by younger audiences; instead of loathing Hud, viewers twenty-five-years and younger perceived Hud as a charismatic, attractive character - the essence of cool. Ritt disagreed, however, that they had made a mistake in their depiction. What he saw instead was that history was about to overtake the film's moral warnings and that cynicism and respect for the selfish and rapacious were becoming the new standards.

by Rob Nixon

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Hud (1963)

Hud paved the way for movie audiences' acceptance of - and even a preference for - unsympathetic, brutal lead characters, a line stretching from Hud through Martin Scorsese's Raging Bull (1980) to the Oscar®-winning roles created by Anthony Hopkins in Silence of the Lambs (1991) and Denzel Washington in Training Day (2001).

Hud was promoted with the tagline" "Paul Newman is Hud," launching a trend in "is" promos for movies. At least two other Newman "H" pictures were promoted the same way: "Paul Newman is Harper [1966]" and "Paul Newman is Hombre [1967]."

Years later, when he developed his food products business, Newman created a tribute to his character with Newman's own recipe for "Hud's Molasses Grilled Pork with Port Wine Sauce."

In August 2003, Paul Newman wrote a humorous op-ed piece in the New York Times to satirize a lawsuit by Fox News against Al Franken for using their promotional tag line "Fair and Balanced" in the title of his book. Newman said he would sue the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for usurping his character's name and sullying it with the department's "decency and respectability." Claiming "piracy of personality and copycat infringement" based on the film's tagline "Paul Newman is HUD," the actor accused the federal agency of "diluting the rotten, self-important, free-trade, corrupt conservative image that Mr. Newman worked so hard to project in the film."

by Rob Nixon

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Hud (1963)

Starting as an actor in the radical theater groups of the 1930s, Martin Ritt had a promising television directing career cut short in the early 1950s by the anti-communist blacklist of the time. He survived this to emerge later in the decade as a notable film director with his debut, the low-budget, hard-hitting racial drama Edge of the City (1957). His films, many of which deal with injustice and courageous individuals taking on a corrupt system, include Norma Rae (1979) and The Front (1976), one of the first movies to deal with the blacklist. He has the distinction of having directed 13 different actors to Oscar®-nominated performances. Ritt died in 1990 at the age of 76.

Paul Newman and Martin Ritt, who were business partners for a short time, worked together on five other movies: The Long, Hot Summer (1958), Paris Blues (1961), Hemingway's Adventures of a Young Man (1962), The Outrage (1964), and Hombre (1967).

Neal was astounded that she won Best Actress at the Academy Awards. "No part as small as mine had ever been nominated for best lead performance," she said. She immediately sent a cable to Martin Ritt, referencing his concern when he sent her the script: "It was not too small."

Neal arranged for a special showing of Hud in Aylesbury, England, where she and her family lived. The proceeds from the phenomenally successful screening went to an organization Neal and her husband founded, International Help for Children.

Patricia Neal made two more films after winning her Academy Award for Hud - Psyche '59 (1964) and In Harm's Way (1965) - before suffering a massive stroke that left her paralyzed and unable to talk for years. With the help of her husband, Roald Dahl (creator of the Willie Wonka character), she recovered and, although she turned down the role as Mrs. Robinson in The Graduate (1967), returned to the screen for The Subject Was Roses (1968), earning a second nomination. The story of her illness and near miraculous recovery was filmed for television in 1981 with Glenda Jackson as Neal and Dirk Bogarde as her husband.

Larry McMurtry's Texas-set novels have been turned into several other successful movies, including The Last Picture Show (1971), for which he also adapted the screenplay, and Terms of Endearment (1983). His stories of the old West have been filmed for television: Lonesome Dove (1989) and Buffalo Girls (1995). He also co-wrote (with Diana Ossana) the Oscar®-winning adapted screenplay for Brokeback Mountain (2005).

Although the only major cast member not nominated, Brandon de Wilde went on stage on Academy Awards night to accept the Best Supporting Actor award on behalf of the absent Melvyn Douglas.

Married couple Harriett Frank, Jr. and Irving Ravetch worked on 17 screenplays together (sometimes jointly or under the single name James P. Bonner). They contributed scripts for Martin Ritt eight times, including two others with Paul Newman, The Long, Hot Summer and Hombre. Their screenplay for Ritt's Norma Rae was their only other Academy Award nomination besides Hud.

The film's costume designer, Edith Head, eschewed her usual glamour in favor of authentically gritty and dowdy clothing for the characters. Head was the favorite costumer of many stars and the most lauded and successful designer in Hollywood, Oscar®-nominated for her work on 35 pictures between 1948 and 1977. She won eight times.

1963 was a particularly fruitful year for acclaimed composer Elmer Bernstein; he wrote music for a total of eight films and two TV shows that year alone, including one of his most famous scores for The Great Escape. Bernstein worked on close to 300 films and television shows in a career that spanned more than 50 years. Nominated 14 times for Academy Awards, surprisingly he won only once, but he holds the distinction of being the only person nominated in every decade from the 1950s to the current one. Among his memorable film scores are those for Sweet Smell of Success (1957), The Magnificent Seven (1960), Animal House (1978) and Far from Heaven (2002).

Process photography for Hud is credited to the ubiquitous special effects master Farciot Edouart, a nine-time Oscar® winner and leader in his field. Even those who may not know his name are certainly familiar with his work in such films as Sullivan's Travels (1941), Samson and Delilah (1949), Elephant Walk (1954), and many Elvis Presley and Jerry Lewis movies of the 1950s and 60s.

Not everyone was completely enamored of Hud. Reportedly, McMurtry felt Ritt had not made it clear enough that the animals slaughtered were irreplaceable breeding cattle or that Homer died because his life's work had been destroyed.

Memorable Quotes from Hud

LONNIE (Brandon De Wilde): Looks like you had quite a brawl in here last night.
BAR OWNER (Carl Saxe): I had Hud in here last night is what I had

HUD (Paul Newman): I always say the law was meant to be interpreted in a lenient manner. That's what I try to do. Sometimes I lean to one side, sometimes I lean to the other.

HUD: This whole country's run on epidemics, where you been? Epidemics of big business, price fixing, crooked TV shows, income tax finagling, souped-up expense accounts. How many honest men you know? You take the sinners away from the saints, you lucky to end up with Abraham Lincoln. I say, let's us put our bread in some of that gravy while it is still hot.

HUD: Happens to everybody-horses, dogs, men. Nobody gets outa life alive.

ALMA (Patricia Neal): Don't you ever ask?
HUD: Only question I ever ask any woman is what time is your husband coming home?

ALMA: I've done my time with one cold-blooded bastard. I ain't looking for another.
HUD: Too late, honey, you already found him.

HUD: All right, I'll bite. What turned you sour on me, not that I give a damn.
HOMER (Melvyn Douglas): Just that, Hud. You don't give a damn.

HOMER: Little by little the look of the country changes because of the men we admire.

Compiled by Rob Nixon

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Hud (1963)

Paul Newman and director Martin Ritt had worked together previously, to their mutual satisfaction, on three other films (The Long, Hot Summer [1958],Paris Blues [1961], Hemingway's Adventures of a Young Man [1962]), so they decided to form a business partnership, striking a deal with major studios to produce a handful of pictures. Hud was to be their first effort under that new deal.

Ritt and Newman chose to adapt a novel that had been published a few years earlier, Horseman, Pass By, the first novel by Larry McMurtry. The story had its genesis in short stories McMurtry published in a student magazine during his undergraduate years at North Texas State College (now known as the University of North Texas). One concerned the destruction of a herd of infected cattle and another was about the death of an old rancher. Both motifs formed the bones of the novel McMurtry began writing upon graduating in 1958. The title was taken from the epitaph on the tombstone of William Butler Yeats, from Yeats' poem "Under Ben Bulben": "Cast a cold eye/On life, on death/Horseman, pass by!"

In the original novel the focus was on Texas ranch life seen through the eyes of the teenage character Lonnie Bannon. Hud was not the major character in the story but Ritt and Newman were attracted to the idea of building a film around the type of unrepentive character found in early Hollywood features like Clark Gable's badass protagonist in San Francisco (1936). "For the first half of the picture, he's a prick, and then some lady, or Spencer Tracy, or God, converts him in the second half," Ritt noted. But in the version Ritt discussed with screenwriters (and married couple) Harriet Frank, Jr. and Irving Ravetch, Hud was not to be given even a glimmer of redemption at the end and remained an unapologetic heel, the kind of character, Ritt said, "that had not yet existed in American films." The director and writers agreed this approach would sacrifice nothing of the original novel and actually add a new dimension to the story.

Most stars would have considered playing such an unremitting louse to be a risky career move, especially for one who was riding the crest of stardom like Newman. But the actor was eager to commit to this provocative concept because he felt that some of his recent roles, among them two screen versions of Tennessee Williams plays, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958) and Sweet Bird of Youth (1962), had been compromised by censorship that softened the characterizations.

A popular leading man of the 1930s and 40s, Melvyn Douglas had mostly been away from the big screen in the 1950s, honing his reputation as a first-rate character actor on stage and television for more than a decade. His return to feature films after an 11-year hiatus commenced with Billy Budd (1962). He decided to follow that film with Hud, not only because he liked the script but because he did not have to do anything to convince Ritt he could play the role. "I could scarcely believe I was dealing with someone from Hollywood," he later said of the director's eagerness to cast him.

Ritt had known Patricia Neal since they both worked at the Actor's Studio several years earlier (it was also where Ritt and Neal met Newman). He sent her the script for Hud with the "hope you won't think the part is too small." Not only did she not care about the size of the role, but Neal later said she was hooked from the first description of the character as "a tall woman, shapely, comfortable and pretty. She has an indulgent knowledge of the world, and it makes for a flat, humorous, candid manner."

For the part of the young man who comes to learn that his uncle Hud is not to be admired and emulated, Ritt chose Brandon de Wilde, who had made a big impression at the age of 10 in his screen debut in The Member of the Wedding (1952), recreating the role he played on Broadway. The child actor followed that with an iconic role in Shane (1953), as the young boy who hero-worshipped the cowboy title hero, an interesting and ironic counterpoint to his part in Hud.

by Rob Nixon

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Hud (1963)

While on location in Texas, Newman dove into his role by living like the other hands on the ranch where they were filming-sharing meals, sleeping in the bunkhouse, working until his hands became callused. He studied their mannerisms and the way they walked and put it into the character of Hud.

Newman's commitment to the character spilled over into off-camera moments. One such incident involved the rare opportunity for him and Patricia Neal to hang out poolside at their motel. Neal found herself opening up emotionally about her daughter Olivia, who had died suddenly just months earlier of measles encephalitis. After her long outpouring, Newman stared at her for a long moment, then simply uttered "tough" and walked away. She was taken aback by his reaction. It was early in production, and they had not yet done a major scene together, so she hadn't really gotten to know him well or to understand his methods. Later on in the shoot, however, she realized he was already very much in character as Hud.

Despite this potentially rocky start, Neal said in her autobiography that she and Newman "worked together beautifully."

Neal was particularly proud of one unscripted moment that made it into the film. While talking to Newman's character about her failed marriage, a huge horsefly flew onto the set. Just as she says she's "done with that cold-blooded bastard," she zaps the fly with a dish towel. Ritt loved it and printed the take. Her favorite scene-telling Lon he'll "just have to ask someone else" what life is all about-was cut from the final print.

Newman got his first taste of how the female public reacted to him while shooting Hud on location. "Women were literally trying to climb through the transoms at the motel where I stayed." Although he found it flattering at first, he came to believe the reaction was largely to the characters he played rather than the real person behind them.

Douglas was delighted with Ritt's suggestion that the actor spend three weeks rehearsing with the rest of the cast to delve more deeply into the role and get a sense of continuity before shooting started, a reflection of the director's theatre background. "No one in the movie industry had suggested such a practice to me since I had worked with Ernst Lubitsch [in the 1930s]," Douglas said. Rehearsals consisted of a week of reading and discussing the script, followed by working within a taped-off ground plan of the set, just as a cast would in the theater. Ritt rehearsed them again for a day or two after they arrived on location in Texas, so that by the time the crew was ready to begin shooting, the actors "were engrossed in what Stanislavsky might have called the 'inner lives' of our characters."

Douglas said the atmosphere was amiable and professional but not a laughter-filled set, thanks largely to the inward nature of the cast. He described Newman as "shy, almost withdrawn" and said Neal was an "internal" person dealing with difficulty in her own life (including a stormy marriage to writer Roald Dahl and the recent death of her seven-year-old daughter). He described Brandon De Wilde as "moody, often to the point of being sullen" and frequently distracted in a manner typical of many young people.

Douglas enjoyed the people he met-not the wealthy cattlemen and landowners who were far too reactionary for his very liberal sensibilities but the ordinary ranch hands, who didn't mind that he imitated them to get a sense of character. He went out drinking with them many nights, and when the picture was finished, one of them presented him with a handmade belt with Douglas's initials on it in silver.

Largely because of the recent tragedy in their lives, Neal felt she couldn't leave her husband and surviving children at their home in England for the two months it would take to shoot the picture. Ritt offered to let her take a break to go home between the Texas locations and the Hollywood studio portion of the shoot.

Neal loved working with Ritt, feeling that for the first time since working with Elia Kazan on A Face in the Crowd (1957) she could do anything a director asked of her. Ritt was mutually happy with the working relationship and told her, "The minute I saw you handling those pots and pans, I could tell you were a woman who knew her way around a kitchen."

To shoot the film, Ritt hired master cinematographer James Wong Howe, whose career stretched back to the silent era. The two would eventually make four films together, Wong Howe's favorite work in the 1960s, but Hud was the one he considered the best.

All the exteriors and all the interiors except the inside of the Bannons' house were shot on location in Texas. The house interiors were done in a studio in Hollywood.

Background photography had already been completed when Wong Howe began his work on Hud. Ritt told him he wasn't happy with what had already been shot because it was very flat, with blank skies and no trees. The director suggested double-printing the clouds to fill in the sky, but arriving in Texas, Wong Howe was struck by the harsh beauty of the location and insisted on filtering out the clouds, instead of the other way around.

Wong Howe was ultimately very happy with the final look of Hud. There was one shot he was particularly proud of, in which Newman and De Wilde stood in the backyard with light coming from the porch. "I used incandescent lights," he later explained. "I took condensers out for the interior arcs to flood them out more and get sharper shadows."

by Rob Nixon

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Hud (1963)

"In this age of heel-heroes and beasts that walk like men, the screenwriters have pulled a switch that is both commercial and commendable. They have created in Hud a charming, raffish monster who demonstrates by inversion that such old-fashioned virtues as honesty, loyalty, and filial duty are still highly cherishable." Arthur Knight, The Saturday Review, 1963.

"A provocative picture with a shock for audiences who have been conditioned like laboratory mice to expect the customary bad-guy-is-really-good-guy reward in the last reel of a western. Newman, Neal, Douglas and de Wilde are so good that they might well form the nucleus of a cinematic repertory company." Time, 1963.

"The distinction of Hud is that it presents the unpleasant truth about people without the pretty packaging.... And perhaps the most encouraging aspect is that the making of such a film and our appreciation of it indicates that we are getting out of the lollipop stage at last." Judith Crist, New York Herald Tribune, 1962.

"Paul Newman's new film Hud is the best American picture since Newman's The Hustler [1961]. ... Newman confirms his place in the front rank of American film actors." Stanley Kauffmann, The New Republic, 1963.

"Any film with a title as cryptic and ugly-sounding as Hud better have more to recommend it than its name. So take it from me, [it] does have more-so much more, in every aspect that it shapes up now as this year's most powerful film." Bosley Crowther, New York Times, May 29, 1963.

"Ritt skillfully develops the complex conflict between Hud, the cynical realist, and Homer, the ageing idealist, in bitter opposition yet bound by deep affection. Ritt's direction and James Wong Howe's photography of the cattle slaughter is masterly: no cattle are seen to die, but the tragedy is plain. Paul Newman is a moving and convincing Hud...." - The Oxford Companion to Film.

"Superbly set in an arid landscape, this incisive character drama is extremely well directed and acted." - Halliwell's Film & Video Guide.

"Hud is a near miss. Where it falls short of the mark is in its failure to filter its meaning and theme lucidly through its characters and story...But the picture has a number of elements of distinction and reward. The four leading performances are excellent." - Variety Movie Guide.

"...one of Ritt's best films, less abrasive than it thinks but still a remarkably clear-eyed account of growing up in Texas to mourn the old free-ranging ways of the frontier days...The film sometimes seems to be busting its britches to attain the status of Greek tragedy in delineating the disintegration of a heritage, with dialogue haunted by images of death and decay. But pretensions are kept nicely damped down by the performances (all four principals are great) and by Wong Howe's magnificent camerawork." - Tom Milne, TimeOut Film Guide.

"Hugely entertaining contemporary Western...it's visually simple and precise and unadorned. The film is schizoid: it tells you to condemn the nihilistic heel Hud (Paul Newman), who represents modern "materialism", but casting Newman as a mean materialist is like writing a manifesto against the banking system while juggling your investments to make a fortune...Patricia Neal, full-bodied and likable, has an easy, raunchy good humor, and talks seductively, in a deep-toned Texas twang; the sexual byplay between her and Newman has just the right summertime temperature - this is some of the best work the director, Martin Ritt, has ever done." - Pauline Kael, 5001 Nights at the Movies.

"Excellent story of moral degradation set in modern West, with impeccable performances by all." - Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide.

"1963's remarkably dull Hud more or less plays out as a home-on-the-range knock-off of Nicholas Ray's brilliant Rebel Without a Cause [1955]...There's very little to recommend here (the insights are as profound as "no one gets out of life alive") besides James Wong Howe's glorious black-and-white cinematography and Newman's smarmy performance-his legs are perpetually open and even a department store's mannequin isn't safe from his lascivious gaze." - Ed Gonzalez, Slant Magazine.

"Hud is definitely at the top of the list of classic 'modern' Westerns. A wide spectrum of talent came together for this high-end studio film and the result is marvelous, from the B&W Panavision photography to details like the dust on Main Street and the moths bothering Patricia Neal's work in the Bannon ranch kitchen. The script is as smart as a button and profound without being preachy. It's a moralistic story that doesn't pretend that every situation can turn out well. Everyone remembers Paul Newman's famous line, "Kid, there's so much crap in the world that you're going to get into it sooner or later." - Glenn Erickson, DVD Savant.

AWARDS AND HONORS

Hud opened in May 1963 to rave reviews and quickly became a major commercial success.

Academy Awards went to Patricia Neal (Best Actress), Melvyn Douglas (Best Supporting Actor), and James Wong Howe (Cinematography, Black-and-White). Oscar® nominations also went to Paul Newman (Best Actor), Martin Ritt (Director), the adapted screenplay, and the art direction-set decoration.

Neal and Douglas also won National Board of Review awards for their work, and Neal earned the New York Film Critics Circle Best Actress award and Best Foreign Actress from the British Academy.

Nominations from numerous other award organizations were given to Hud, Newman, Ritt, and editor Frank Bracht. Irving Ravetch and Harriet Frank, Jr. were awarded Best Written American Drama by the Writers Guild and Best Screenplay by the New York Film Critics Circle.

Compiled by Rob Nixon & Jeff Stafford

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teaser Hud (1963)

Based on Larry McMurtry's novel, Horseman Pass By, Hud (1963) is a contemporary Western in the same way that films like The Misfits (1961) and Lonely Are the Brave (1962) place the genre in a twentieth-century context. Set in a dusty patch of Texas where cattle and Cadillacs roam the plains, Hud resembles a modern Greek tragedy with its story of a conflicted family; a vain, pious ranch owner at odds with his oldest son's lack of morality and unprincipled approach to business. The tense relationship is occasionally aggravated or mollified by two other members of the household - young Lon who worships his rebellious uncle and the housekeeper, Alma, who knows trouble when she sees it. The resulting film went on to earn seven Oscar® nominations, including a Best Actor nomination for Paul Newman (his third), with Academy Awards going to Patricia Neal for Best Actress, Melvyn Douglas for Best Supporting Actor, and James Wong Howe for Best Cinematography.

According to director Martin Ritt, "Paul and I went into business together. I made a deal at Columbia and at Paramount with Paul, in which I was to direct two pictures, and he was to act in two, and the third was free." The first film under this arrangement was Hud and Ritt later admitted that Hud's character, a minor character in McMurtry's novel, was partially inspired by Clark Gable, specifically his performance in films where he plays a self-centered jerk who is eventually redeemed by the love of a good woman. While Ritt allows no such happy ending for Hud's character, the Gable model was a good starting point.

On location in Texas, Newman was a quick study for his part, living in the bunkhouses like the other cowhands and working the ranch to get the feel of the land and the local lifestyle. He also began coming to grips with his image as a male sex symbol. In Paul and Joanne by Joe Morella and Edward Z. Epstein, Newman said, "The first time I remember women reacting to me was when we were filming Hud in Texas. Women were literally trying to climb through the transoms at the motel where I stayed. At first, it's flattering to the ego. At first. Then you realize that they're mixing me up with the roles I play - characters created by writers who have nothing to do with who I am."

But there is no denying the on-screen chemistry between Newman and Patricia Neal as Alma, the seductive housekeeper with an earthy sense of humor. In her autobiography, Patricia Neal: As I Am, the actress admitted that, "Paul and I worked together beautifully. On the set he was an ace, thoroughly professional and completely in character at all times. In fact, he and young Brandon (de Wilde) would tear around the small Texas town at night, much the way their characters did." She also sang the praises of Mr. Ritt: "I just plain loved working with Marty. For the first time since working with Elia Kazan, I felt I could do anything a director asked."

Cinematographer James Wong Howe, who worked with Ritt on four films, prefers his work on Hud to the rest. In his interview with Charles Higham for the book, Hollywood Cameramen, he recalled, "there was one shot I liked particularly, in which Paul Newman and his young brother [actually his nephew] were standing in the backyard and the light was coming from the porch. They were drunk and they were near a water-trough. I used incandescent lights; I took condensers out for the interior arcs to flood them out more and get sharper shadows. I was very, very happy with that picture."

Despite all the accolades Hud received, some critics were quick to point out that most audiences were identifying with Paul Newman's character which was a disturbing realization, considering that he was such a despicable, no-good louse. Newman later commented, "I think it was misunderstood, especially by the kids. They rather lionized that character. But the whole purpose was to present someone who had all of the graces on which there is such a big premium in the U.S. - some kind of external attractiveness, a guy who is great with the girls, a good boozer - but, nevertheless, a man with one tragic flaw." Ritt, however, refused to take any blame for depicting Hud as an anti-hero, saying, "I kept getting mail telling me what a great guy Hud was and what a schmuck the old man was, and the kid was gay. What nobody realized was that Haight-Ashbury was just around the corner, and there's no way of topping history. What nobody realized was that kids were that cynical."

Director: Martin Ritt
Producer: Irving Ravetch, Martin Ritt
Screenplay: Harriet Frank Jr., Irving Ravetch, based on the novel Horseman Pass By by Larry McMurtry
Cinematography: James Wong Howe
Editor: Frank Bracht
Art Direction: Tambi Larsen, Hal Pereira
Music: Elmer Bernstein
Cast: Paul Newman (Hud Bannon), Melvyn Douglas (Homer Bannon), Patricia Neal (Alma Brown), Brandon De Wilde (Lon Bannon), Whit Bissell (Burris), John Ashley (Hermy), Val Avery (Jose), Yvette Vickers (Lily Peters).
BW-112m. Letterboxed.

by Jeff Stafford

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