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THE HUDSUCKER PROXY

Director: JOEL COEN

U.K.-GERMANY-U.S.A. • 1994 • COLOUR • DOLBY STEREO • 111 MIN


WITH THE HUDSUCKER PROXY, THE COENS GO FOR AN ARCHETYPICALLY POPULIST STORY BUT TELL IT IN AN ARCANE STYLE.
The setting is a magical New York in 1959, where Norville Barnes (Tim Robbins) takes a job in the mailroom of the monolithic Hudsucker Industries just as the firm’s founder takes a suicide leap from the top floor. Executive Mussberger (Paul Newman) reasons that the board can only take control of the company if they make the stock plummet, so he recruits the mooncalf Norville as the company’s new president. A hard-bitten lady journalist (Jennifer Jason Leigh, doing a neat Katherine Hepburn-cum-Rosalind Russell turn) exposes Norville, feels guilty about it and then falls for him. Then the empty-headed genius’ stupid idea turns out to be an instant success which sends Hudsucker stock rising and prompts Mussberger to extreme dirty trickery. The Coens’ dark vision is mellowed slightly here by the comic by-play and the oddly innocent, though corruptible, romantic leads.

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