It’s the 1930s. It’s Chicago. Johnny Hooker (Robert Redford) is a small time con artist who wants to step up to the big league. He ends up working with Henry Gondorff (Paul Newman), though things don’t go quite to plan.
Ah, these films that set up elaborate plots, don’t give the audience all the information, then let the scene play out, leaving the audience on the edge of their seat, hoping against hope that all will go well. Love it. Cannot get enough of it. It is a long film with a lot of set up, but watch it, and watch it closely, and love it like I do.
The Sting won Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director (George Roy Hill), Best Writing, Story and Screenplay Based on Factual Material or Material Not Previously Published or Produced (David S Ward), Best Art Direction – Set Direction, Best Costume Design, Best Film Editing, Best Music, Scoring Original Song Score and/or Adaptation and was nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role (Robert Redford) Best Cinematography and Best Sound.
Midway though a board meeting, company president Waring Hudsucker (Charles Durning) throws himself to his death. No-one knows why; the company is going well. However, now his majority stock is to be sold to the general public and the board (led by the slimy Sidney J. Mussberger played by Paul Newman) decide the only way they can gain control is to make the stock plummet so much that no-one else will buy it and they can snap it up. To do this, they need an idiot to become president and run the company into the ground. Enter country bumpkin Norville Barnes (Tim Robbins) who has started work in the mailroom and manages to stumble into Mussberger’s sights. But, when his invention, the hula hoop (“You know, for kids”) becomes a massive success, Mussberger needs to find another way to make his plans succeed.
I’m a huge fan of the Cohen brothers’ films. I don’t recall having seen any of their films that I haven’t enjoyed on some level, even if I haven’t totally loved them. The Hudsucker Proxy is one of their earlier films and has the crazy humour that I’ve come to love. The characters are quirky yet mostly fully developed and realised, and there is a sense of magic throughout. It’s a film that most definitely makes me laugh, but also brings a tear not so much of sadness; can it be a tear of hope?