The Hudsucker Proxy

Year: 1994
Production Co: Silver Pictures
Studio: Warner Bros
Director: Joel Coen
Producer: Ethan Coen
Writer: Joel Coen/Ethan Coen/Sam Raimi
Cast: Tim Robbins, Paul Newman, Charles Durning, Jennifer Jason Leigh
The most accessible of the Coen brothers' films and by no small coincidence the most broadly comic.

It's a satire on the halcyon days of New York business with megacorporations of old and their mailroom boys, ticker tape stock reports and crusading reporters plucked straight from the pages of a thousand comic strip archetypes.

Those elements are given life by Robbins, Newman and Leigh respectively. The former is a doltish mail room worker installed as the new company of Hudsucker Industries in a stock price fraud by parasitical chairman Mussburger (Newman), bizarrely looked over by a guardian angel - the ghost of the former chairman (Durning) who inexplicably throws himself through the boardroom window as the film opens.

Leigh is a hard-nosed, Brenda Starr-like reporter (before there was such a thing, but you know who I mean - you've seen her everyone from Lois Lane to Gwyneth Paltrow's Polly Prince in Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow) trying to get to the bottom of the story.

It's sweet and feelgood, and you'd assume this was a very early Coen brothers' effort, their signature style not yet present, but it came after Blood Simple and Barton Fink, so they must have just wanted to branch into the slapstick of the era they were depicting. Either way audiences didn't buy it, the movie tanking spectacularly.

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