The Hudsucker Proxy

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You Know, For Kids!

A 1994 retro-screwball comedy directed by The Coen Brothers, from a story devised by them and Sam Raimi. A box office and critical flop when it was released, but has been somewhat Vindicated by History.

Norville Barnes (Tim Robbins), a recently graduated business major, makes his way from his hometown of Muncie, Indiana, to New York City to "make it big." He winds up working in the mailroom of the monolithic Hudsucker Industries, whose CEO, Waring Hudsucker (Charles Durning), has recently committed suicide. On the day he is hired, Norville is given the task of delivering an important letter to Sidney Mussburger (Paul Newman), the second-in-command at Hudsucker Industries. In the process of bungling the delivery attempt, Norville winds up as president of the company, with a neat idea that he believes will turn the company around--you know, for kids.

Tropes used in The Hudsucker Proxy include:
  • Accidental Pun: "I wasn't expecting all this hoopla."
  • Almighty Janitor: involves a brawl between two of them, either one capable of freezing time for the rest of the universe.
  • And There Was Much Rejoicing: Hudsucker's death, for quite a few people. He had just jumped when Mussburger (his Vicepresident) took the cigar he had left behind and started to smoking it, procaiming it would be a shame to "waste a Montecristo".
  • Beatnik: Norville stumbles drunk into a Beatnik juice and coffee bar on New Year's Eve.
  • Big Applesauce
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Moses addresses the camera directly a few times.

Moses: Strictly speaking, I'm never supposed to do this. But have you got a better idea?

Fight on, fight on Dear Old Muncie
Fight on, hoist the gold and blue
You'll be tattered, torn, and hurten
Once the Munce is through with you
Goooooooooo Eagles!

Moses: And that's the story of how Norville Barnes climbed waaay up to the forty-fourth floor of the Hudsucker Building, and then fell all the way down but didn't quite squish hisself. You know, they say there was a man who jumped from the forty-fifth floor? But that's another story (storey).

  • Time Stands Still: Time miraculously stops when a broomstick jams the gears of the clock tower, allowing Norville to survive the fall from the Hudsucker building ledge, have a chat with the angel of the late Mr. Hudsucker in mid-air, and learn that the company is all his according to the infamous Blue Letter...yet the snow never stops falling.
  • Unexpected Inheritance: Near the end, Norville Barnes learned that, as the first CEO of Hudsucker Industries after Hudsucker's death, he inherited Hudsucker's shares of the company.