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DVD Reviews

HTF REVIEW: Hud (Recommended)

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#1 of 11 OFFLINE   Scott Kimball

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Posted December 01 2003 - 03:08 AM

Posted Image


Studio: Paramount

Year: 1963

Rated: Not Rated

Length: 111 minutes

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Anamorphic

Audio: DD 5.1 English; English, French Mono

English Subtitles

Release Date: December 2, 2003

Paul Newman’s “Hud” is a despicable character, really. He’s a man who cares for nobody but himself, takes no responsibility for his actions, and doesn’t care who he alienates in life - even if it means shutting out his own family.

Hud Bannon is the rebellious adult son of a Texas rancher in the 1960’s. His traditional father (Melvyn Douglas) manages to tolerate him. His nephew at first admires him, but later questions his feelings. He’s well-known throughout town, as the man who has slept without just about every married woman in town - but he can’t seem to score with the Bannon’s housekeeper (Patricia Neal).

When the Bannon’s entire herd is threatened with the dreaded foot-and-mouth disease, instead of offering support to his aging father, Hud blames his father for the infection and threatens to take the ranch away from him. The character’s actions revolve around this focal point in the film, but the film is not “about” the ranch and its troubles. Hud is a character study and a morality play.

Throughout the film, we get glimpses of the consequences of Hud’s past - but the focus is always on the present. Even at the film’s end, when we could get a pat Hollywood ending that spells out the future, we are left “in the moment,” with Hud’s actions front and center. We are left to imagine the long-term consequences of Hud’s acts. Will Hud reconcile with his family? Will he take over the ranch and drill for oil, or will he rebuild the herd as his father wishes? Knowing Hud, as we do by the end of the film, we’re pretty sure we know the answers to these questions.

Hud is filled with outstanding performances. Douglas and Neal won Academy Awards for their performances, and Newman was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor. The film is based on a novel by Larry McMurtry and was directed by Martin Ritt. It is a wonderful, gritty slice-of-life film with excellent location photography (Hud was also awarded a statue for Best Cinematography).

The Video
Hud is presented in anamorphic 2.35:1 - in glorious black and white. The transfer is quite bright, with excellent contrast and black levels, and outstanding shadow detail. The picture is very sharp, with no apparent edge enhancement. There is some dust visible on the transfer elements, but the print is free of any serious damage. If only every 40 year old film could look this nice on DVD. This is an excellent transfer.

The Audio
Hud comes with a restored English Mono sound track, as well as a remixed 5.1 surround track. Both of the tracks sound wonderful. The restored mono track has been nicely cleaned up. It is free of hiss, and dialog is very clear. The 5.1 track opens the aural experience up a bit, adding ambient sound effects that seem apropos - not at all gimmicky. Dialog in the surround track is always front and center. There are some panning and surround effects for vehicle traffic and sounds of the cattle herd. Music is well reproduced as well. Frequency response is solid in both tracks. EXCELLENT!
There is also a French Mono track.

The Extras
There are no extras. This is a bare-bones catalog release.

Final Thoughts
Hud is an engaging character study with very strong performances from the entire cast. Well directed, written and photographed, this one is not to be missed. Paramount has provided a beautiful transfer of this classic film on DVD.


#2 of 11 OFFLINE   Craig


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Posted December 01 2003 - 04:51 AM

One of my all time favorites. Good news about the audio and video quality, I'm always worried with older films, but it sounds like Paramount did a good job on this one. You're right about the performances, excellent work by a great cast. I think Newman gave his best performances ever in HUD and THE HUSTLER (not that his work in COOL HAND LUKE and HOMBRE wasn't top notch). Looking back it seems a crime he didn't receive an Oscar until late in his career. Tagline from the movie posters, "Hud, the man with the barbed wire soul".

#3 of 11 OFFLINE   Robert Crawford

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Posted December 01 2003 - 04:53 AM

I hope to have my copy soon and I too think this was Newman's best performance.

#4 of 11 OFFLINE   Walter Kittel

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Posted December 01 2003 - 05:14 AM

Tough to pin down one performance by Mr. Newman as 'best', but Hud is high on my list. Despite owning this title on LD, Hud is one of my more highly anticipated releases for several reasons:

- The DVD will offer better visual performance on my system. ( Very happy to hear that Paramount has done their typically excellent A/V work on a deep catalog title. )

- Looking forward to responses from other HTF'ers that view this title for the first time, given that the DVD will provide the film better visibility.

Nice review Scott. I'll be spinning this disc tomorrow evening if all goes well. I highly recommend this title to fans of strong character driven performances or cinemtography that places an emphasis on composition and subtle enhancement of the film's storyline. James Wong Howe has some wonderfully realized shots in this film, and while many of them are worthy of being framed as art in and of itself, the cinematography always serves the story and never calls attention to itself to the detriment of the film. Once again, a highly recommended title.

- Walter.

Fidelity to the source should always be the goal for Blu-ray releases.

#5 of 11 OFFLINE   Ed St. Clair

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Posted December 01 2003 - 10:28 AM

Is Paramount going for studio of the year?
Cause, they are truly taking CARE with their film catalog!

One thing does bug me, though.
I HATE B&W films, with COLOR covers!!!Posted Image Posted Image
For to many reasons too list here.
Movies are: "The Greatest Artform".
HD should be for EVERYONE!

#6 of 11 OFFLINE   Andy_MT


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Posted December 01 2003 - 10:52 AM

or worse, bi-lingual covers, which no doubt paramount have bestowed on the poor sods who are stuck with the canadian release. the spine on once upon ... in the west looks absolutely bloody ridiculous. two titles, big fonts. i'm not even that picky about covers (IE i dont' mind head shots), but this boils my blood. i'll say it again, if the other studios can do english covers, why can't paramount ?????????

#7 of 11 OFFLINE   Dan_I



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Posted December 01 2003 - 02:27 PM

I saw Hud for the first time a few months ago on Encore's Western channel, and I was suprised and dismayed that no DVD was available then. I agree that this is a great film. It demonstrates that Newman is the twice the actor his 70's cohort, Robert Redford, is or ever was. Melvyn Douglas has some great lines--some social commentary about incrementalism that's still relevant today. But you may learn something about yourself as you decide, along with the film's young protagonist, whether Hud is an admirable anti-hero, or just another punk.

#8 of 11 OFFLINE   Chris Clark

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Posted December 01 2003 - 06:28 PM

I recently found out (via IMDB) that this film was shot around Claude, Texas, a town I have passed through dozens of times. Knowing that, I can almost sympathize with Hud. It's not a bad place but a lonely town. They managed to capture that feeling of empty space (as opposed to the positive sounding wide open spaces).

#9 of 11 OFFLINE   Allan Cast

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Posted December 06 2003 - 10:30 AM

I loved HUD!
Newman is the COOLEST!
This one totally slipped my DVD radar!

I'm off to BEST BUY!!! Posted Image
I have to believe in a world
outside my own mind. I have to
believe my actions still have
meaning. Even if I cant
remember them. - MEMENTO

#10 of 11 OFFLINE   Patrick McCart

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Posted December 06 2003 - 10:58 AM

[quote] One thing does bug me, though.
I HATE B&W films, with COLOR covers!!!
For to many reasons too list here. [quote]
While Paramount doesn't use poster art often now, most B&W movies would have color posters when released theatrically...

#11 of 11 OFFLINE   oscar_merkx


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Posted December 06 2003 - 10:07 PM

This one I have never seen, so next time I will pick this up

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