Honest and hard-working Texas rancher Homer Bannon has a conflict with his unscrupulous, selfish, arrogant and egotistical son Hud, who sank into alcoholism after accidentally killing his brother in a car crash.
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Drifter Chance Wayne returns to his hometown after many years of trying to make it in the movies. Arriving with him is a faded film star he picked up along the way, Alexandra Del Lago. ... See full summary »
Hud Bannon is a ruthless young man who tarnishes everything and everyone he touches. Hud represents the perfect embodiment of alienated youth, out for kicks with no regard for the consequences. There is bitter conflict between the callous Hud and his stern and highly principled father, Homer. Hud's nephew Lon admires Hud's cheating ways, though he soon becomes aware of Hud's reckless amorality to bear him anymore. In the world of the takers and the taken, Hud is a winner. He's a cheat, but, he explains "I always say the law was meant to be interpreted in a lenient manner."Written by
Patricia Neal was particularly proud of one unscripted moment that made it into the film. While talking to Hud 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. Martin Ritt loved it and printed the take. See more »
The position of Lon's arm changes as he as Hud share a drink and talk about a girl after the pig contest. See more »
Those are the nihilistic words of Hud Bannon, the swaggering antihero in the Martin Ritt directed film "Hud", set amid the vast, expansive high plains of West Texas. It's a somber affair.
Hud lives with his elderly father Homer (a wonderfully understated performance by Melvyn Douglas) and nephew Lonnie. Their small, struggling ranch serves not only as a livelihood, but also the source of Homer's ethical values. Another main character is Alma, the attractive housekeeper and cook. For all four of them it's a hard life, but a worthwhile life, at least as Homer sees it. Hud sees it differently. But then Hud is a product of modern times, with differing values from those of Homer and his generation. When a crisis occurs that puts their ranch in jeopardy, these differing values clash, resulting in tension between Hud and his father.
Hud's ongoing rebellion, rooted in heredity and environment, takes the form of booze, brawls, women, and anger. Hud is a heel, but a sympathetic heel. We understand his frustrations. Larry McMurtry's story presents a naturalistic interpretation of human character. Hud is constrained by forces over which he has no control. For him, like for many of us, freedom of choice is mostly an illusion. The morality of absolutes, as expressed by his father, does not work in Hud's favor.
But there's a fifth character in this morality tale ... the land. The bleak, desolate plains with its buzzards, ubiquitous dust, and lonesome vistas can depress the most optimistic spirit. In this film, the monochrome canvas accentuated by James Wong Howe's use of single source lighting makes the natural environment seem appropriately oppressive. And the film's sounds amplify the gritty realism of this unforgiving land.
I have a couple of minor criticisms. The screenplay puts too much emphasis on Alma, given that she is the housekeeper. Second, there's not enough music or humor. Others will disagree, but I would have preferred a more prominent role for the mournful sounds of Hank Williams type music, a la "The Last Picture Show".
Interestingly, Hud's comment on life is the same in meaning as the words spoken years later by a real-life nihilistic antihero, who said: "No one here gets out alive". While we think we know what happened to the real-life antihero, we don't know what became of Hud. Perhaps someday someone will make a credible sequel. Then they can add more music. Imagine the mood evoked by the sight of Hud riding off into the Texas sunset, to the sounds of "Riders On The Storm".
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