The Turner Classic Movie channel has been showing a few Paul Newman classics. TonightHud was the choice. This movie released in 1963 received four stars. Patricia Neale won Best Actress and Melvyn Douglass, who plays the father won Best Supporting Actor. The cinematographer, James Wong Howe won as well. Newman was nominated for Best Actor.
Hud, based on a Larry McMurty novel (Horseman, Pass By), is a lowdown dude. He is not utterly rotten but he puts his own needs above anyone else's. This is in stark contrast to his father, Homer. Homer is a morally upright guy who always seems to do the right thing even to his own detriment. Through the trials of life, Hud fails again and again to rise to the occasion, to his father's disdain. Hud's nephew, Lon complicates matters more. He is the surviving son of Homer's other son who was killed in a tragic accident. The youthful Lon, admires Hud and longs to be like him, or so he thinks.
I will not ruin the movie by giving away too much of the plot, but this gem is a must see. I cannot believe I consider myself a connoisseur of old film and I had not seen this one.
Rumor has it that Paul Newman was surprised by the welcomed reception Hud received from young people. He was greeted not as antagonist but antihero, someone young guys like the character Lon wanted to emulate, his lack of moral fortitude not withstanding.
That is the effect you get when you cast the first dude of cool as villain.