The Hudsucker Proxy is the sweeping 1950s industrial drama from the Cohen brothers’ first released 1994. It’s now known as a classic piece of movie magic famous for its neo-noir cinematography style.
Starring Tim Robbins as the titular proxy Norville Barnes, this fish out of water story comes complete with an impossible ending that makes the audience stretch their imaginations and want to believe.
As the movie opens, the big clock on Hudsucker Industries is just about to strike midnight.
We find our young hero, Norville Barns, the president of Hudsucker Industries, out on the ledge of his office, about to jump. The circumstances take a sudden, dire turn, rather quickly.
What brought young Norville, an enterprising young man with such promise and potential, to this low end in a high place and on New Year’s Eve?
To understand what very well may be his last day as president, we must look back to his first day on the job.
Which happens to be the same day Warring Hudsucker, the former president of the company, himself, came flying out of the boardroom window.
A selfish move on his part, the greedy board is left holding onto the lush stocks of helmless portfolio.
Soon the controlling interest in the company will go public, and they will lose any advantages they incurred at the top.
Sidney Mussburger, the balls to the wall businessman played by Paul Newman, devises a plan to drive down the value of the stock so the board can snatched up the controlling interest and continue to rule Hudsucker Industries at the top.
In order to buy more, they needed a chump, a dope, a real sucker to head the company and send their shareholders in a panic of mass depreciation.
Enter one Norville Barnes with his almighty blue letter, ready with his greatest idea and wits to pitch him the next best thing for kids. He manages to save the day through hilarious hijinks that must be seen to be believed!
And so begins the start of his tenure as president of Hudsucker Industries.
The Hudsucker Proxy is an industrial age romantic fantasy about the wonders and woes of the influence makers at the top.
Even a wide eyed idealist, fresh out of Muncie Indiana Business School, can lose it all, and find himself at the end of his wits.
Amy Archer, the fast talking career gal at the news desk, played by Jennifer Jason Leigh, is the first one to question the appointment of Norville as the head of Hudsucker. What made Barnes such an “idea man”, why was he promoted his first day in the mailroom, and what was the hubris board and the increasingly sinister Mussburger up to?
For an exclusive piece for her newspaper, Amy decides to go undercover at the Hud itself. To get to the bottom of the story, she cons Norville out of free lunch and a job by pretending to be desperate, fresh out of Muncie Polytechnic Secretarial College with a mother suffering from lombaygo. Norville hires her as his personal secretary and tells her about his brain child, “for kids”, a thingum.
Unimpressed by his vision, Amy prints up an unflattering story about Norville being a phony idea man and a real half wit, which in turn brings out a defensive side to Norville, which Amy instantly respects.
She regrets having judged him so harshly but it is too late to turn back the negative publicity campaign she an the other media heads have already run the story.
She now knows she must do all she can to help him achieve his dream of producing his whatzit for kids.
This is the beginning of the budding love story of Norville and Amy.
The thing was, although her story did cause the depreciation Mussburger along with the geriatric board dreamed and schemed about, they all underestimated Norville’s invention.
(The longsuffering creative process that inspired the name “Hula Hoop”.)
This invention is all hit among the kids, connected with the world and became the biggest fad of the time.
Young Norville has become a household name, the Hudsucker stock is at an all time high, but the trouble has just begun for the board and Mussburger.
They sold their stock before catching Norville’s wave of success and now need to be able to gain control of his stock to have any interest in their company.
It’s enough tension they have to send a guy in for a massage inside the boardroom.
Mussburger himself is so tense about Hudsucker futures, its enough for him to send his proxy out on a limb (and a ledge) for his untimely success.
Norville manages to lose his nerve after Mussburger confronts him with the truth about the young Miss Archer, putting the company in a dangerous position and Norville, out on a ledge.
How does Norville survive his fall from the top?
How does Hudsucker Industries fare now that the newest chief executive officer is preparing to make a splash on Fifth Avenue, literally??
Watch or buy The Hudsucker Proxy @ Amazon.com to see how it all plays out!
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