Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Bluuuu Letter! ""

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Bluuuu Letter!

THE HUDSUCKER PROXY came to me at just the right time. I missed it upon its initial theatrical release, but discovered it on VHS a year or so later. I was in the midst of changing my college major to film studies and had just taken an intro to film class with a professor who loved Howard Hawks. We were shown HIS GIRL FRIDAY right off the bat and it was an eye opening experience to say the least. I had dabbled in classic films and liked a lot of them, but had yet to experience that machine gun fire dialogue that the folks in HGF spew. It was breathtaking and I was immediately smitten. So when HUDSUCKER arrived on VHS at the video store I was working in, already being a Coen Bros fan, I had to check it out. Loved it. Such a loving tribute to fast-talking 30s cinema as well as being a Coen film through and through. It remains one of my favorite films they've ever done and might be considered my favorite depending on the day you ask me. I do adore the Coens and the direction their filmmaking has taken, but I always want to see them come back to the comedies they do so well. This is the 3rd Blu-ray release from Warner Archive(the 1st two being DEATHTRAP and GYPSY) and they already have me giddy with excitement to see what they trot out next. There are so many of those old 'snapper' case WB release from the early days of DVD that could really use an upgrade. NIGHT SHIFT and STRANGE BREW come immediately to mind. Anyway, the transfer here is lovely and I was very pleased with it. The sound is a DTS-HD MA 2.0 track and it worked fine for me as well. I feel like this film has been a little forgotten since it's release in 1994 and this new Blu-ray allows for and will hopefully facilitate and much wider audience connecting with it's 30s-screwball-style lunacy.

You can order HUDSUCKER on Blu from the Warner Archive Shop: HERE
 (As well as DEATHTRAP & GYSPY!)


Unknown said...

I hear ya! I think that is probably the Coens' most underrated film - a fantastic fusion of Frank Capra and Preston Sturges but I can see why it rubbed people the wrong way back in the day. Plus, critics were gunning for the Coens back then. They had a string of fantastic films and it was almost like they were waiting to pounce on them.

For me, it's an annual ritual to watch THE HUDSUCKER PROXY every Christmas/New Year's. So stoked to see it get the Blu-Ray treatment. Can't wait to get this.

Rupert Pupkin said...

That's a great tradition J.D., one I may have to adopt myself!

Anonymous said...

It's Coen's least-known and most underrated, but that's what makes it so special. The story isn't perfect, but damn is that production design just downright beautiful.

Tylerandjack said...

I am pleased to see the love for one, which I have also called my favourite Coen brothers movie on numerous occasions. It's a real treat from start to finish.

Ned Merrill said...

I probably need to see this one again at some point. Admittedly, I'm not the biggest Coen Bros. fan these days, but at the time (1994) I WAS a big fan of the Coens and Jennifer Jason Leigh, in particular, so I ran out to see this opening weekend. Seeing Paul Newman in a new film wasn't so bad, either. :-) Good year for Paulie with this and NOBODY'S FOOL both being '94 releases.

I wasn't quite 16 yet and wasn't so aware of Sturges, Hawks, or screwball yet and I ended up not digging the film so much. Now, I'm something of a screwball and pre-Code aficionado, so I'd probably get a lot more out of this now.

I'm still a big JJL fan and can't believe she's STILL BEING IGNORED by the Academy. Her being at least nominated for something is the kind of thing that would actually get me to give a whit about the awards.

I don't remember "critics gunning for the Coens," as J.D. recalls, but a quick gander at Rotten Tomatoes indicates it doesn't have a great aggregate critical rating. I just remember that this was a film that was released as a major, with a bigger production and marketing budget, I'm guessing, than the Coens ever previously had, and it didn't succeed commercially because it wasn't that kind of film.

I give the studio credit for releasing something so unconventional, particularly in the middle of the '90s. At that time, I'd normally have to go to one of the local arthouses to see a Coen film or anything else indie; this was one of the rare times that an indie went major and I was able to see it at the local multiplex.

Rupert Pupkin said...

Ned- I'd be very curious to hear how you feel about it upon revisit. It may still not be your thing, but perhaps it will now have some more appeal.
As for JJL I am also really saddened by her lack of recognition. I want to see her in more films.

Ned Merrill said...

I'll probably enjoy it more, though I must admit Robbins has never been a favorite of mine, though I do love certain films he appears in, such as THE PLAYER and SHORT CUTS, in particular. He's no substitute for the Stewarts, Grants, Coopers, McCreas, etc. Whereas, I think JJL effectively channels the likes of Stanwyck, Arthur, Dunne, Russell, etc.--at least that's how I like to remember it, as I haven't seen this thing in nearly 20(!) years now.

I'm assuming some of Leigh's lesser onscreen frequency has to do with the fact that she is raising her son, by ex-husband Noah Baumbach, born in 2010.

Ned Merrill said...

It was in that approx. 1989-96 heyday that she got shafted by the Academy. Something in the bunch that included LAST EXIT TO BROOKLYN, SHORT CUTS, GEORGIA, MRS. PARKER AND THE VICIOUS CIRCLE, and MIAMI BLUES should have garnered a nomination from AMPAS. Later, she was excellent in Baumbach's MARGOT AT THE WEDDING, which earned her a bunch of other nominations, but none from Academy, as was the case with the aforementioned titles.

Unknown said...

Speaking of its influences, I watched MEET JOHN DOE a few weeks ago and was struck by the number of references to it sprinkled throughout HUDSUCKER.