The video box for this movie should have consisted of plain brown paper, instead of what it does consist of. The cover gives away the significance of the circle with which Robbins' character is obsessed for the first hour or so of the movie. When I rented it, I either didn't notice before I took it from the shelf, or I merely forgot after I left the store, what was on the cover of the box. This turned out to be a blessing, because it was all such good fun trying to figger out why Robbins was so obsessed with it!
The casting was, as is typical of the Coens' movies, superb. Having Robbins play the role of Norville Barnes would not have occurred to me. However, he pulls it off magnificently. (I guess this is why I'm counting beans here in Winnipeg, Canada instead of making my mark on Hollywood.) Jennifer Jason Leigh's Amy Archer is wonderful. Her accent/dialect is perhaps somewhat exaggerated, but none-the-less enjoyable. The "Pulitzer Prize" scene is a standout, in my opinion. Paul Newman plays the role of the nefarious Sidney Mussburger with a twinkle in his eye & his tongue in his cheek. We get the feeling that he is quite aware of the camera, but unlike Mel Gibson who is also always aware of the camera, Newman is still convincing. The movie would have been much worse off without him.
The "They dock ya!" scene near the beginning of the movie is great. Robbins plays it for all it's worth. Simply brilliant. The scene wherein the steel ball stops in motion is also brilliant in its simplicity & effective in its portent. I swear, only the Coens could conceive of it. And the preceding scene with the water bottle & trash can fire pays homage to Marx Brothers slapstick; again, Newman & Robbins are superb. I howled with laughter.
"The Hudsucker Proxy" is devoid of sex, profanity, drugs, car chases & explosions. Definitely NOT mainstream Hollywood. It has a kind-of Gotham City feel to it, a la "Batman". IMDb indicates its genre to be Comedy/Romance/Fantasy. I think this, while not important, is misleading. The element of romance is weak. And to suggest that it is fantasy is dubious, because most of what happens in the movie is plausible, except for a few scenes.
Roger was, in this scribe's opinion, a little too harsh on it: He gives it only two stars. Yet he says: "This is the best-looking movie I've seen in years, a feast for the eyes and the imagination. The art direction and set design are breathtaking, re-creating the world of 1930s screwball comedy in which towering skyscrapers and vast boardrooms were the playing fields for the ambitions of corrupt executives, ambitious kids, unsung geniuses, and lady newspaper reporters with nails as sharp as their wisecracks." Huh? That hardly sounds like the preamble to a two-star movie review. I think he should watch it again, maybe when he's in a better mood.
What more could you expect from a comedy/faux drama?! The only present I wanted for Christmas '02 was "The Hudsucker Proxy" on DVD & my girlfriend had to search high & low in my home town to find it, but find it she did. It's amazing, the s**t you can find on DVD these days. But trying to find a modern masterpiece is a crap shoot. It makes you wonder about how fickle the consumer is & how unimaginative some movie studio executives are.
This movie is crammed with pearls & I could go on & on describing the smorgasbord of wonderful scenes in this movie. Just rent it & learn for yourself what a great movie this is. I suggest that you won't be disappointed. Then eat your heart out in contemplation of how most mere mortals can only marvel at the handiwork of the brilliant Coen brothers.