Year of Release: 1994
Director: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Stars: Tim Robbins, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Paul Newman, Charles Durning, John Mahoney, Jim True, Bill Cobbs, Bruce Campbell, Harry Bugin, Joe Grifasi, Steve Buscemi, Anna Nicole Smith, Noble Willingham, Peter Gallagher, Richard Schiff, Mike Starr, Christopher Darga
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 6
The Coens tried with "The Hudsucker Proxy" to capture the whole screwball comedy that was made popular in the 30s and 40s by talented film makers such as Howard Hawks ("Bringing Up Baby", "His Girl Friday") and George Cukor ("The Philadelphia Story"). The film uses the same concepts, with the naive hero who gets dazzled by the bright lights of the big city (and the unexpected success), the cynical and beautiful reporter, and the usual older, villainous tycoon. These archetypes are also on par with what the Coens had worked on some of their early films, particularly "Raising Arizona", but here the brothers mined this universe specifically with the intent to recapture a tone and style, that sadly isn't entirely successful. Tim Robbins creates a central hero with a goofiness and heart, that gives the film it's tender core, while Paul Newman is successfully villainous, however Jennifer Jason Leigh depicts ultimately what fails about the film - for all the technical proficiency exhibited, there's a lack of inventiveness, of feeling about these characters, which in turn makes the viewer not care about their destiny. The cinematography from Roger Deakins is stunning as usual, as is the soundtrack from Carter Burwell (the longtime associates of the Coens). A flawed film, yet worth revisiting for what it suggests and depicts.