film 3 of 5

The Hudsucker Proxy

Draft Review by Dean Duncan May 26, 2015

Dizzyingly admirable and endlessly innovative, it’s all so breathtaking that one doesn’t quite have the time or even the resources to respond more than weakly; is the failure in the film or in the viewer? it’s true that this is much more than blood simple smarty-pants filmmaking, but it still tends to leave you in the cold; the genre mixing (breathtaking 30s art-deco combined with the early 30s newspaper yarns and the 50s boardroom melodrama, a form I know next to nothing about), the quoting (the surprisingly fine J.J. Leigh’s Katharine Hepburn imitation in the Jean Arthur/Barbara Stanwyck role–in fact, it’s a Capra movie too, as the good-hearted innocent is nearly besmirched, but hangs on and knocks over the corrupt corporation [though here the corruption’s never converted, and the innocent never quite catches on to what’s happening])–one identifies, one enjoys, one finds it’s gone past and been replaced before one can quite figure it out; still, it’s greatly worthwile, Robbins is better than he’s ever been (I maintain that, except for the sure thing, that may not be saying much), Newman’s still a fine specimen, the cinema-ness of it all is an endless treat, big laughs abound, and the good-heartedness so evident in Raising Arizona, that’s been in the background of late, is in abundant and pleasing evidence