Hud – Martin Ritt (1963)

Hud is a 1963 American Western film directed by Martin Ritt and starring Paul Newman, Melvyn Douglas, Brandon deWilde, and Patricia Neal. It was produced by Ritt and Newman’s recently founded company, Salem Productions, and was their first film for Paramount Pictures. Hud was filmed on location on the Texas Panhandle, including Claude, Texas. Its screenplay was by Irving Ravetch and Harriet Frank Jr. and was based on Larry McMurtry‘s 1961 novel, Horseman, Pass By. The film’s title character, Hud Bannon, was a minor character in the original screenplay, but was reworked as the lead role. With its main character an antihero, Hud was later described as a revisionist Western. The film centers on the ongoing conflict between principled patriarch Homer Bannon and his unscrupulous and arrogant son, Hud, during an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease putting the family’s cattle ranch at risk. Lonnie, Homer’s grandson and Hud’s nephew, is caught in the conflict and forced to choose which character to follow. Hud premiered at the Venice International Film Festival, and was a critical and commercial success at its general release. It was nominated for seven Academy Awards, winning three; Patricia Neal won Best Actress, Melvyn Douglas won Best Supporting Actor, and James Wong Howe the Academy Award for Best Black and White Cinematography. Howe’s use of contrast to create space and his selection of black-and-white was acclaimed by critics. … Life called Hud an ‘arresting—almost great—movie’, describing Paul Newman’s acting as ‘faultless’. An Outlook reviewer wrote that the four main cast members acted ‘splendidly’; Newman ‘speaks at times with an unpleasant nasal twang, but is clearly suited to the part.’ They described Melvyn Douglas’ performance as ‘impeccable’, Brandon deWilde’s as ‘[successful] in looking earnest unsure of himself’ and praised Patricia Neal’s expressiveness. Time called the performances ‘splendid’, and Howe’s photography ‘brings the Texas Panhandle to dusty, sweaty life.’ The New York Times, in a favorable review, said Ritt’s direction had ‘[a] powerfully realistic style’ and called Ravetch and Frank’s work ‘[an] excellent screenplay.’ …”
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About 1960s: Days of Rage

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