The Hudsucker Proxy is the sweeping 1950s industrial drama from the Cohen brothers’ 1994 now a classic piece of movie magic known 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.
New Year’s Eve on a Ledge
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?
Warring Hudsucker Merges With the Infinite
To understand what looks like his last day as president, we must look back at his first day on the job.
Which also 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 a 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 snatch 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 Mussburger the next big 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 Norville Barnes 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 rise to the top and manage to lose it all, then find himself at the end of his wits.
A Muncie Girl
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 Industries.
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 a free lunch and a job by pretending to be a desperate, fresh out of Muncie Polytechnic Secretarial College with a mother suffering from lumbaygo. 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 an incompetent moron which in turn brings out a defensive side of Norville, Amy instantly respects.
She’s realizing she misjudged Norville too late to spare him the backlash from shareholders. He’s pitiful, but still she owed him so much.
This is the beginning of the budding love story of Norville and Amy.
The thing was, although her story did cause the stock depreciation Mussburger (along with the geriatric board) dreamed and schemed about, they all underestimated Norville’s quirky invention.
(The longsuffering creative process that inspired the name “Hula Hoop”.)
This invention is an instant hit among the kids, connects with everyone in 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 old 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 wits and his nerves 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??
The hilarity ensues through double crosses, betrayals, dumb luck and all as we try to figure out what becomes of The Hudsucker Proxy!!
Watch or buy The Hudsucker Proxy @ Amazon.com to see how it all plays out!
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