Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBBB.
USA, 1963. Paramount Pictures, Salem-Dover Productions. Screenplay by Irving Ravetch, Harriet Frank Jr., based on the novel by Larry McMurtry. Cinematography by James Wong Howe. Produced by Irving Ravetch, Martin Ritt. Music by Elmer Bernstein. Production Design by Tambi Larsen, Hal Pereira. Costume Design by Edith Head. Film Editing by Frank Bracht. Academy Awards 1963. Golden Globe Awards 1963.
Fantastic western directed by Martin Ritt features Paul Newman at his best, playing among the most memorable anti-heroes in film history. It takes place on a cattle ranch where badass Hud (Newman) is living with his kindly father (a brilliant Melvyn Douglas) and their burnt-out housekeeper (an equally impressive Patricia Neal). The ranch is threatened when a disease spreads among the animals, causing a rift between father and son when Hud makes it clear that he doesn’t care for his duties as a rancher at all. That’s the main story at least, but mostly the film revolves around the personal conflicts between these characters, all of it kept under close guard by James Wong Howe’s beautiful black and white cinematography and the extremely fine screenplay. This is one of the best American films of the decade.