- Sidney J. Mussburger (Paul Newman) after Waring Hudsucker (Charles Durning) takes a swan dive out the window
"Waring Hudsucker's abstract art on Madison Avenue."
- Mussburger to the board
"You know...for kids."
- Norville Barnes (Tim Robbins)
Premiere - 11/01/1994
"...A spectacularly beautiful expressionist satire of '50s American capitalism..." - Recommended
Sight and Sound - 09/01/1994
"...[A] wholly delightful urban parable....The Coens are the most exciting, imaginative and confident movie-makers in America..."
New York Times - 03/11/1994
"...A shrewd comic valentine to the kind of movies they don't make anymore. It is also the Coens' funniest, most accessible film since [RAISING ARIZONA]....Robbins projects a goofy appeal..."
Entertainment Weekly - 11/18/1994
"...A more than diverting rental." -- Rating: B+
USA Today - 03/11/1994
"...It's the most unforgettable supernatural comedy since BRAZIL..." -- 3 1/2 out of 4 stars
Chicago Sun-Times - 03/25/1994
"...A feast for the eyes and the imagination..."
Total Film - 04/01/2007
"[C]oloured by a passion for cinema, with warmth emanating from every flourish. The script is packed with zingers..."
THE HUDSUCKER PROXY opens with a spectacular shot of snow falling over a beautiful city; the camera pans in slowly over the rooftops until it comes upon the Hudsucker Industries building, with a huge clock about to ring in the New Year--and a man about to jump to his death. The rest of this hilarious Coen brothers film tells in flashback the fascinating tale of Norville Barnes and what brought him to that ledge.
Tim Robbins stars as Barnes, a hick from Muncie, Indiana, intent on becoming a New York City executive. His timing is magical as he enters the doors of Hudsucker Industries just as the Hudsucker board determines it needs a patsy to run the company into the ground so it can buy up shares when the company goes public in a month. He hires Amy (the fast-talking Jennifer Jason Leigh) as his assistant--but unbeknownst to him, she is a reporter trying to expose him. THE HUDSUCKER PROXY is the Coen brothers' madcap romp through 1940s screwball comedy--albeit with a darker edge. The film is highlighted by sparkling art direction, fabulolus sets, snappy dialogue, and terrific supporting turns from Paul Newman, Charles Durning, and Bruce Campbell. Oh, and beware the Blue Letter....
As Norville Barnes contemplates suicide from atop a New York skyscraper, he looks down on a city he thinks has betrayed him. Months earlier, a naive Norville traveled from his native Indiana to the Big Apple with dreams in his heart and determination on his mind. After landing a mailroom job at a big corporation, he was quickly promoted company president. The honest, unsuspecting fellow failed to realize he was simply a pawn in a plot to undermine investor confidence. Good thing he had a great invention up his sleeve, something so big it became a national sensation and saved his career in the process. But his adversaries continued to plot against him, making it so tough that he lost his lofty dreams and his faith in people. But maybe if he's lucky, someone will reach him before it's too late.
Big Business |
Rags To Riches |
Theatrical Release |
Theatrical release: March 11, 1994.
Filmed in Chicago and North Carolina.
THE HUDSUCKER PROXY was shown at the 1994 Sundance Film Festival.
Estimated budget: $25 million.
John Goodman, credited as Karl Mundt, supplies the voice of the Tidbits of Time newsreel announcer.
Peter Gallagher appears as crooner Vic Tenetta.
Sam Raimi not only cowrote the screenplay but served as the second unit director and played a bit part as one of the two men in the Creative Bullpen, seen only in silhouette.
The final credits point out that this movie was a fictional account of the development of the Hula Hoop--the credits also mention other products made by the Wham-O toy company, "a true American success story," as the credits read.
The motto of Hudsucker Industries is The Future is Now.
In the Coen brothers' RAISING ARIZONA, Nicolas Cage's character is briefly employed at a factory where the workers wear Hudsucker Industries shirts.
Among the jobs posted at the Nidus Employment Agency are third base coach, prison warden, jackhammer, cantor (reform), pearl diver, and bombardier.
One of the headlines on the cover of the Manhattan Argus is "Imbecile Heads Hudsucker."
The name Hudsucker might be a nod to both Paul Newman's title role in HUD and Burt Lancaster's powerful character, J.J. Hunsecker, in SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS.
The invitation to the Annual Family-Dress Hudsucker Christmas Gala misspells de rigueur as de riguer.
Among the performers on the soundtrack are Peter Gallagher, Duke Ellington, and Grace Bumbry.