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The Hudsucker Proxy (1994)

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A naive business graduate is installed as president of a manufacturing company as part of a stock scam.

Directors:

Joel Coen, Ethan Coen (uncredited)

A Guide to the Films of the Coen Brothers

From Blood Simple to the new The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, we take a look at the offbeat stylings of Academy Award-winners Joel and Ethan Coen.

Dude, let's go bowling

2 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Tim Robbins ... Norville Barnes
Jennifer Jason Leigh ... Amy Archer
Paul Newman ... Sidney J. Mussburger
Charles Durning ... Waring Hudsucker
John Mahoney ... Chief
Jim True-Frost ... Buzz (as Jim True)
Bill Cobbs ... Moses
Bruce Campbell ... Smitty
Harry Bugin Harry Bugin ... Aloysius
John Seitz John Seitz ... Benny
Joe Grifasi ... Lou
Roy Brocksmith ... Board Member
John Wylie John Wylie ... Board Member
I.M. Hobson I.M. Hobson ... Board Member
Gary Allen Gary Allen ... Board Member
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Storyline

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 Reid Gagle

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

They took him for a fall guy... but he threw them for a hoop. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Fantasy

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for mild language and thematic elements | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | Germany | USA

Language:

English | Finnish

Release Date:

11 March 1994 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El gran salto See more »

Filming Locations:

Chicago, Illinois, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$30,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$104,490, 13 March 1994, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$2,869,369

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$14,991,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Paul Newman had been approached about the project in 1984 but turned it down due to not having done much comedy work before although he liked the film and encouraged the Coens to go ahead without him. The Coens instead waited ten years until he agreed to do it. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

[first lines]
Moses the Clock Man: That's right. New York. Nineteen fifty eight.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The foregoing was a fictional account of the development of the HULA HOOP® and the characters bear no resemblance to any real person or business concern. The HULA HOOP® was actually developed by the founders of the toy company WHAM-O®, a true American success story. WHAM-O® was subsequently responsible for the development of the FRISBEE® and numerous other toy products. See more »

Connections

References Cool Hand Luke (1967) See more »

Soundtracks

In A Sentimental Mood
Written by Duke Ellington (uncredited)
Performed by Duke Ellington
Used by permission of Mills Music, Inc. and Famous Music Corporation
All rights reserved
See more »

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User Reviews

 
"Long Live The Hud!"

Another fascinating piece from the Coen Brothers, 'The Hudsucker Proxy' is an homage to the films of the 1930s. From the grey faux-Gothic cityscape to the over-the-top acting and rapid fire dialogue to the subdued colors to the stark sets, this film hearkens back to an earlier era of films.

The plot is simple enough. When company president Waring Hudsucker commits suicide, the board of directors, led by the deliciously evil Sidney J. Mussburger (Paul Newman) determines to devalue the stock by putting a 'shmoe' in charge of the company so that when the late Hudsucker's controlling interest in stock hits the market in 30 days, Mussburger's cabal can snap it up on the cheap. Enter shmoe Norville Barnes (Tim Robbins). Jennifer Jason Leigh is the newspaper reporter who infiltrates Hudsucker Industries under the guise of secretary, and is Barnes' love interest in the film.

Robbins performs more than adequately but is outshone by terrific performances by Newman and, in particular, by Leigh, who absolutely nails this role. Her saucy, lilt of the tongue is wonderful; she simply oozes sensual sass, and all in the very decent parameters of decades gone by in Hollywood.

Other highlights of the film include - the wonderful sets, where less is more; the usual Coen cinematography, which makes the film a visual delight above and beyond acting and plot; the clock (an unbilled role, in a sense). Curious characters pop up and return – Buzz the Elevator Operator, the Clock Maintainer, and many others. And, of course … that clock!

As will all Coen brothers films, this one calls me to see it again, as I always seem to discover new elements when watching their works for the second, third, fourth times, and beyond. A very worthwhile film – enjoy!

7 out of 10


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