When Waring Hudsucker, head of hugely successful Hudsucker Industries, commits suicide, his board of directors, led by Sidney Mussberger, comes up with a brilliant plan to make a lot of money: appoint a moron to run the company. When the stock falls low enough, Sidney and friends can buy it up for pennies on the dollar, take over the company, and restore its fortunes. They choose idealistic Norville Barnes, who just started in the mail room. Norville is whacky enough to drive any company to ruin, but soon, tough reporter Amy Archer smells a rat and begins an undercover investigation of Hudsucker Industries. Written by
Dr. Bronfenbrenner's film of Norville's psychiatric session begins with a SMPTE Universal leader that counts down from 8 to 2. This type of film leader wasn't developed until the 1960s. The film would have actually had either an Academy leader counting from 11 to 3 with black film in between or one of the brand new (for the late 1950s) SMPTE Society leaders that counted from 11 to 3 but had focusing cross hairs, rather than black film, between the numbers. See more »
By Benny Goodman and Lionel Hampton
Courtesy of Regent Music Corporation/Jewel Music Publishing Co., Inc.
Performed by Duke Ellington
Courtesy of Blue Note Records
A division of Capitol Records, Inc.
Under license from CEMA Special Markets See more »
You do need "double stitch" if you don't want to fall down!
Like several of the Coen brother's movies this one pays tribute to an era of cinematic achievement long past. And as always it is more than just a plot or an idea but an inspiring search for the meaning of life. In this case the story is maybe a bit too much like a Cartoon, and somehow I feel the Coens fell into a kind of a "nostalgia trap" here. My suspicion is they just had a little too much money at their disposal and fell in love with the wonderful equipment, the real and virtual set design and the wardrobe (technically and aesthetically the movie is as masterful as any of Coenss movies). So maybe someone should tell the Coenss investors: Give them less money and they will turn any idea into a timeless feature that will bring in profits for decades.
Movie buffs might enjoy comparing Hudsucker Proxy with Capra movies or John Farrow's The Big Clock. It seems the makers of Hudsucker wanted to charge every scene with symbolic meaning. It is too much: the overall story is simplistic and rests on spindly legs. The heavy set design and the opulent epic style bring it to its knees. I felt a little sorry for Jennifer Jason Leigh. Her performance is terrific, but the script gives her only few good moments. She talks like a machine gun in the manner of the most sophisticated Screwball comedies.
What makes this movie worth watching are small episodes that contain grains of wisdom. Best of all is the unforgettable "double stitch" incident (I will not give it away), a kind of a filmic parable that proves the Coens's brilliance. The use of a conference room table as a jumping board is an equally beautiful and very well directed scene, the repetition of it with an alternative ending really had me in (double) stitches.
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