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  • after performing the theme to the 1963 film Hud, country music singer Darrell McCall decided to take up acting, appearing in three films during the 1960s?

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Hud

original film poster by Mitchell Hooks
Directed by Martin Ritt
Produced by Irving Ravetch
Martin Ritt
Written by Irving Ravetch
Harriet Frank, Jr.
Larry McMurtry (novel)
Starring Paul Newman
Melvyn Douglas
Patricia Neal
Brandon De Wilde
Music by Elmer Bernstein
Release date(s) May 28, 1963 (1963-05-28)
Running time 112 minutes
Language English

Hud is a 1963 film which tells the story of an embittered and selfish modern-day cowboy. It stars Paul Newman, Melvyn Douglas, Patricia Neal, Brandon De Wilde and Whit Bissell. It centers on the recurring theme of an unyielding patriarch whose sense of principle and honor brings him into conflict with his only surviving son - an unscrupulous, arrogant libertine. Lonnie, Homer's grandson, is caught in the middle of this conflict and must choose between the two. The movie was primarily filmed in Claude, Texas.

The movie was adapted by Harriet Frank Jr. and Irving Ravetch from the novel Horseman, Pass By by Larry McMurtry and was directed by Martin Ritt.

It won Academy Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Melvyn Douglas, who won against Bobby Darin in Captain Newman, M.D.), Best Actress in a Leading Role (Patricia Neal) and Best Cinematography, Black-and-White (James Wong Howe). It was nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role (Paul Newman), Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Black-and-White (Hal Pereira, Tambi Larsen, Samuel M. Comer, Robert R. Benton), Best Director and Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium.[1]

Contents

Cast and characters

Plot summary

Hud Bannon (Paul Newman) is an ambitious, brash, callous and self-centered man whose life fits him like a cheap suit. He has few interests other than enjoying himself and avoiding responsibility. His life is limited to drinking, brawling in bars, joyriding in his sporty pink Cadillac, and sleeping with women (married or otherwise). Although his elderly rancher-father Homer (Melvyn Douglas) is a deeply principled man, none of his ethics have rubbed off on Hud. Homer uses every opportunity to remind Hud of what a disappointment he is.

Also living at the Bannon Ranch is Hud's teenage nephew Lonnie (Brandon De Wilde). Lonnie's late father was Hud's elder brother, Norman, who died in a car wreck as a result of Hud's recklessness. Hud believes that his brother's death is the primary cause of Homer's anger and resentment toward him. In a key scene, Hud takes Lonnie out for a night on the town. They get drunk and triumph in a barroom brawl. Afterwards, back on the ranch, Hud begins to reflect on "old times" when he and Lonnie's father used to do the same thing. He briefly lets down his guard about his feelings toward his brother ("Old Norman, he was one wayout boy!"), Norman's untimely death, and his father's coldness towards him. Homer confronts Hud as they come into the ranch house; he accuses his son of trying to corrupt Lonnie. A huge blowup between father and son ensues; Hud accuses Homer of being a hypocrite "quoting scripture like he wrote it himself" and nursing a hatred for him over Norman's death. Homer reveals that his disappointment runs deeper than that and long predated the fatal wreck. "I took that hard, but I buried it!" He is then goaded by Hud into spilling out his deep, visceral disgust for him...saying that Hud cares about no one but himself, and is so unethical that he's "not fit to live with". Hud says, "My mama loved me, but then she died." (In McMurtry's novel, Hud's mother - Homer's second wife - is still alive.)

Lonnie and Hud are both attracted to the Bannons' middle-aged housekeeper, Alma (Patricia Neal); yet Hud is crude and insulting to her, while Lonnie is protective. Although Hud's fondness for her is (at first) somewhat mutual, Alma keeps her distance because she has already been "around the block" with macho womanizers like Hud. (Alma comments to Hud, at one point, that "I've done my time with one cold-blooded bastard, and I'm not looking for another.")

Homer buys some cheap Mexican cattle which have foot-and-mouth disease, and his entire herd becomes infected. Hud recommends they quickly sell them to someone else before word gets out. But Homer will not resort to such unethical behaviour; he calls in a state veterinarian. The cattle are quarantined by the vet, who ultimately rules the entire herd must be destroyed so as not to spread the infection. Although this will likely bankrupt the Bannons, Homer complies...rather than risk spreading the disease, or pass the problem onto unsuspecting ranchers. Hud is angry that his inheritance has been eroded; he attempts to have Homer declared legally incompetent, so he can usurp control of their ranch.

In a drunken rage, Hud forces himself sexually onto Alma. Lonnie comes to Alma's aid. She abruptly flees the ranch, disgusted and demoralized at Hud's brutishness. After Lonnie drops her off at the bus station, Hud happens by as she is waiting. He apologizes for his drunken assault, but not for his attraction to her. Driving back to the ranch, Lonnie spots his grandfather at the roadside. Homer has fallen from his horse during a survey of the Bannon ranch. Hud pulls up behind Lonnie, and both try to help Homer, but he does not survive. At the very end, Homer accuses Hud of being eager for him to die.

Although Lonnie initially idealized Hud for his charm and liveliness, he is repulsed by his uncle's treatment of Homer and Alma; Lonnie now sees Hud for the lowlife he is. After Homer's funeral, Lonnie leaves the ranch to get away from Hud, not sure if he will ever return. Lonnie tells Hud to put his half of their inheritance in the bank, then walks off. For a moment, Hud feels the emptiness of his life, which he has created by driving everyone who loved him away. But after a swig of beer and a moment's thought, he dismisses Lonnie's departure with a deprecating wave and a smile of indifference. Hud goes back into the Bannon house alone; the final fade-out shows the window shade's latch bouncing to and fro.

References

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