In the upcoming deluge of Paul Newman movie tributes (The Sting, The Verdict, Cool Hand Luke ect) make sure you check out Hud, his seriously underrated cowboy film from the early 1960’s. Pauline Kael wrote:
Hugely entertaining contemporary Western, set in the Texas of Cadillacs and cattle, crickets and transistor radios; handsomely designed, and shot in black-and-white (by James Wong Howe), it’s visually simple and precise and unadorned. The film is schizoid: it tells you to condemn the nihilistic heel Hud (Paul Newman), who represents modern “materialism,” but casting Newman as a mean materialist is like writing a manifesto against the banking system while juggling your investments to make a fortune. Newman has energy and wit and his physique and “them there eyes.”
‘General Kael’ seems to have carried quite a torch for Newman; her critical essay about his work is called ‘The Man From Dream City’.
(You can find Kael’s essay about Newman in her collection ‘Raising Kane’ – they’ll have it at the library . If you watched Citizen Kane and wondered what the hell all the fuss is about I encourage you to read the title essay.)
Bonus trivia: Hud was co-written by Larry McMurtry before he hit the big time with Lonesome Dove.