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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Hudsucker Proxy [Blu-ray]


(Joel Coen, 1994)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Warner Bros. Pictures

Video: Warner Archive



Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:50:44.638

Disc Size: 22,823,029,983 bytes

Feature Size: 22,099,709,952 bytes

Video Bitrate: 23.55 Mbps

Chapters: 37

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: February 26th, 2013



Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 1586 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1586 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)



English (SDH), none



Trailer (4X3 - 1080P, 2:05)





Description: An ambitious but naive young man rapidly moves up the corporate ladder from the mailroom to the executive suite, unaware that he is part of the board of directors' nefarious scheme.

Paul Newman, Tim Robbins and Jennifer Jason Leigh star in filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen's darkly comic look at big business. When the founder of Hudsucker Industries leaps to his death from the 44th floor boardroom window the board of directors panics. But there is a plan: install a complete imbecile as president of the company and devalue the stock so the board can acquire a controlling interest for themselves. But where can they find such a guileless patsy? Enter Norville Barnes. Fresh off the bus from Muncie, Indiana, as a graduate of the 1958 class of the Muncie College of Business Administration, Norville is ready to start at the bottom and work his way up to the top of the corporate world ... he just never imagined it would happen so quickly.



The Film:

New 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.

Excerpt from TimeOut Film Guide located HERE

Joel Coen and Ethan Coen concocted this stylish screwball comedic amalgam of Frank Capra and Howard Hawks. Tim Robbins stars as Norville Barnes, a dull-wit from Muncie, Indiana who wrangles a job with the big Hudsucker Industries. He has a singular idea for a new children's toy that he wants to present to corporate executive Sidney J. Mussberger (Paul Newman). As he makes his way up to Mussberger's office, the company president Waring Hudsucker (Charles Durning) is on his way down -- through the window of the forty-fourth floor boardroom! Hudsucker's death sets off a panic that Mussberger sees as an opportunity for taking over the company -- by installing a total incompetent in Hudsucker's place and devaluing the stock. When Barnes stumbles into Mussberger's office, Mussberger sees his pigeon and appoints Barnes as the new company president. The only problem is that the new product Barnes proposes for the company, the Hula Hoop, turns out to be a tremendous success, and Mussberger has difficulty manipulating his new corporate president.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE


Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

The Hudsucker Proxy appears pretty solid on Blu-ray from The Warner Archive.  The 1.78:1 image detail advances over, the often pale, SD. This is only single-layered but has a decent bitrate. Colors seem tight and  contrast exhibits consistently strong black levels. I see no signs of manipulation and it is an impressive representation of the theatrical with the help of a well-maintained, damage free, source. There are plenty of examples of depth. This Blu-ray has pleasingly sharp visuals for the varied use of lighting and cinematography (Deakins).  This holds up well - and seems to be a positive for future Warner Archive Blu-ray releases.

















Audio :

The audio is rendered in a DTS-HD Master stereo at 1586 kbps. The film's score is from frequent Coen collaborator, Carter Burwell (A Serious Man, No Country for Old Men, The Big Lebowski) and is supported nicely by the lossless rendering with key moments of the film highlighted by the crispness of the orchestrals. The Hudsucker Proxy has addition music with Duke Ellington's "Flying Home" and "In A Sentimental Mood" as well as Bizet's "Carmen" and Boccherini's "Minuet (String Quintet in E, Op. 11, No. 5, G 275)" all benefiting from the uncompressed transfer with solid depth. There are optional English subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.




Extras :

The only supplement is a trailer.



The Hudsucker Proxy is such a fun film to watch every couple of years. The rapid pace always keeps you in the film. It is never boring. I view this as a neat piece of cinema to have on Blu-ray. Something you can enjoy with a load of popcorn - certainly recommended! 

Gary Tooze

March 26th, 2013


About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze






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