The Hudsucker Proxy
Time Out saysNew Year's Eve, 1958, Norville Barnes (Robbins) climbs on to a window-ledge of the Hudsucker Industries skyscraper in snowy Manhattan. We flash back a month: company chairman Waring Hudsucker (Durning) shocks board members by plunging 45 floors to the sidewalk below - at the moment young Norville, a hayseed business graduate from Indiana, first enters the building to take a post in the mail room. Norville didn't, however, expect immediate promotion to company boss, a move plotted by vice-chairman Sidney Mussburger (Newman); with an idiot pawn in charge, stock will plummet and Sid can take over. Or he could, if only hard-bitten hack Amy Archer (Leigh) hadn't smelt a rat and gone undercover as Norville's secretary. Directed by Joel Coen, produced by Ethan Coen, and scripted by both brothers (plus Sam Raimi), this is a notably well-executed, very funny and very well-acted movie: a quirky, sardonic take on '50s faddishness, fame, power, friendship, character and ethics. A minor work, but confirmation of the Coens' position among America's most ambitious, able and exciting film-makers.