The Hudsucker Proxy

Director: Joel Coen
Screenwriters: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen, Sam Raimi

Institute History

  • 1994 Sundance Film Festival


Joel and Ethan Coen, creators of Blood Simple, the sleeper hit and dramatic competition winner of the 1985 film festival, and whose most recent film, Barton Fink, earned the Palme O'Or at the 1991 Cannes Film Festival, have come up with another stylish satire which they describe as "an industrial fantasy." Set in New York during the late 1950s, The Hudsucker Proxy targets the inner workings of corporate America as the subject of the Coens' blackly comic scrutiny.

Norville Barnes (Tim Robbins), freshly graduated from the Muncie, Indiana, School of Business Administration, arrives in New York, ready to set the corporate world on its ear. As Barnes is beginning his new career in the mailroom of Hudsucker Industries, Waring Hudsucker (Charles Durning). the company founder, heads in the opposite direction, literally, when he leaps from a forty-fourth-floor boardroom window. The board of directors goes into its own tailspin since Hudsucker's ownership interest in the company will now be up for public grabs. However, Sidney J. Mussburger (Paul Newman), Hudsucker's right-hand man, has a solution: install a complete idiot as president of the company and devalue the stock so that the board can acquire the controlling interest. But where can he find such a naive, guileless patsy to accept the job without question? You don't need three guesses.

Initially the plan IS a success and the company begins its downward spiral. Complications develop when Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Amy Archer (Jennifer Jason Leigh) becomes interested in what is happening at Hudsucker Industries and decides to go undercover and expose Barnes as a fraud. What she also unexpectedly uncovers is some genuine feelings for her subject.

As usual the Coens have filtered pointed observations about the American way of life through their own perverse sense of humor. The result is a film that will make you laugh and wince at the same time, a very winning combination.

Thursday Jan 21 7:00 pm
Egyptian Theatre

Friday Jan 28 9:30 am
Park City Library Center


Screening Details

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