Hud ★★★★★

Paul Newman provides an outstanding portrayal of Hud Bannon, a wholly self-serving character in this emotionally powerful revisionist western from director Martin Ritt, that's gorgeously shot in very bleak and almost compassionless monochrome. 

The storyline tags along after Hud and chronicles his cruel and womanising ways contrasted with the committed and diligence his father Homer Bannon shows to his work as an honourable Texas rancher. 

Melvyn Douglas plays Homer with a generous understatement, and the film features a continual chronic tension between father and son spurred on by some tragic circumstances. These force their way through the narrative as Hud’s volatile nature contributes to delivering a sneering commentary on a broad array of generational differences. Based on Larry McMurtry's inaugural novel Horseman, Pass By, it's received a careful and intelligent adaptation by Irving Ravetch and Harriet Frank Jr. 

The cinematography from James Wong Howe takes possession of some powerful moments as an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease amongst the family's livestock ends up putting the cattle ranch in trouble. It's a beautifully told tale of moral degradation set in the modern West and features impeccable performances by all, especially Patricia Neal as Alma Brown the family housekeeper.

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