Last night my fiance and I rented The Hudsucker Proxy. It was a pretty good flick, quirky, fun, and clean (except for one sensual scene. Call me a prude, but why can’t Hollywood make an enjoyable film where everyone stays fully clothed?) Anyway, from a purely visual standpoint this was one of the most fascinating movies I’ve seen in a while. The art direction, set design, costumes and lighting were all exceptional!
These days “visually stunning” usually means lots of expensive special effects. Maybe that’s why I found Hudsucker so intriguing. Low on special effects, it hearkens back to the black-and-white films of the 40’s. Those were the days before computers, before green screens, even before color. Back then the only way a filmmaker could make things visually interesting was by mastering the principles of light, value, contrast, and composition. Their weapons were few, but they wielded them masterfully.
The Hudsucker Proxy calls back to that era with it’s masterful art direction and production design. The entire thing could be watched in black and white and it would still be just as stunning. I only hope I can find time to do some composition and value studies from the film. I know I would learn a great deal.
A few stills from The Hudsucker Proxy: