With Paul Newman, Melvyn Douglas, Patricia Neal .
US, 1963, 35mm, black & white, 112 min.
Print source: Paramount Pictures
If Days of Heaven depicts the Texas Panhandle in an almost Biblical light – given the Edenic qualities and swarm of locusts – Hud presents the region as the site of a modern variation on Greek tragedy, with hoof-and-mouth disease as plague. Here the wheat fields give way to empty, flat stretches of ranch land, powerfully evoked in Cinemascope by James Wong Howe’s crisp, realist black-and-white cinematography. This landscape is the terrain for an Oedipal struggle between an aging cattleman and his wastrel son, with the son’s young nephew and the family’s servant as pawns. In Hud, the romanticized frontier of the Western is replaced by contemporary reality, wherein the strictures of small-town society exist against a backdrop of cow herding as big business.