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Happy Sixtieth Anniversary, “Hud!”

Sixty years ago today the Martin Ritt revisionist Western Hud was released. The film centers on the ongoing conflict between principled patriarch Homer Bannon and his unscrupulous and arrogant son, Hud, during an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease, putting the family’s cattle ranch at risk. Lonnie, Homer’s grandson and Hud’s nephew, is caught in the conflict and forced to choose which character to follow.

The film’s title character, Hud Bannon, was a minor character in the original screenplay, but was reworked as the lead role, and is one of the first true antiheroes. As the title character, Paul Newman gives one of his greatest performances, as does Melvyn Douglas as his father — the latter won an Academy Award, as did Patricia Neal, for Best Actress.