The Hudsucker Proxy

Synopsis: When Waring Hudsucker, head of hugely successful Hudsucker Industries, commits suicide, his board of directors, led by Sidney Mussberger, comes up with a brilliant plan to make a lot of money: appoint a moron to run the company. When the stock falls low enough, Sidney and friends can buy it up for pennies on the dollar, take over the company, and restore its fortunes. They choose idealistic Norville Barnes, who just started in the mail room. Norville is whacky enough to drive any company to ruin, but soon, tough reporter Amy Archer smells a rat and begins an undercover investigation of Hudsucker Industries.
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Fantasy
Director(s): Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Production: Warner Home Video
  2 wins & 3 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
111 min

[Moses] That's right.

New York. It's 1958.

Anyway, for a few more minutes it is.

Come midnight, it's gonna be 1959.

A whole other feeling. The New Year.

The future.

Yeah, old Daddy Earth's fixin'

to start one more trip round the sun.

Everybody hopin' this ride-around

be a little more giddy,

a little more gay.

Yep, all over town,

champagne corks is a-poppin'.

Over in the Waldorf, the big shots is

dancin' to the strains of Guy Lombardo.

Down in Times Square,

the little folks is a-watchin'

and waitin'for that big ball to drop.

They're all trying to catch hold

of one moment in time,

to be able to say,

"Right now, this is it, I got it."

Of course by then, it'll be past.

But they're all happy.

Everybody havin'a good time.

Well, almost everybody.

There's a few lost souls

floatin'around out there.

Now, if y'all ain't from the city,

we got somethin'here

called the rat race.

Got a way of chewin'folks up

so that they don't want no celebratin'.

Don't want no cheerin' up,

don't care nothin'about no New Years.

Out of hope, out of rope, out of time.

This here's Norville Barnes.

That office he's steppin'out of

is the office of the president

of Hudsucker Industries.

It's his office.

How'd he get so high?

And why's he feelin'so low?

Is he really gonna do it?

Is Norville really gonna

jelly-up the sidewalk?

Well, the future, that's somethin'

you can't never tell about.

But the past...

That's another story.

[Clock chimes]


[Executive]... no signs of weakening.

We're up 18%% %

over last year's third quarter gross

and that, needless to say,

is a new record.

Our competition continues to flag

and we continue to take up the slack.

Market share in most divisions

is increasing

and we have opened

seven new regional offices.

Our international division is showing

vigorous signs of upward movement,

and we're looking at

some exciting things in R&D.

[Door bell]

[Gust of wind]


Don't talk to me about sub-franchising.

We're making so much money

in sub-franchising, it isn't even funny.

Our nominees and assigns

continue to multiply and expand,

extending our influence

nationally and abroad.

Our owned-and-operateds are performing

far beyond our expectations,

and the Federal Tax Act of 1958

is giving us a swell write-off...

[gust of wind]

[Muffled voice of executive]

...and our last debenture issue

was this year's fastest seller.

So, third quarter and year to date,

we have set a new record in sales,

a new record in gross,

a new record in pre-tax earnings,

a new record in after-tax profits,

and our stock has split twice

in the past year.

- In short...

- [watch winds]

...we're loaded.

- [Executives chuckle]

[Clears throat]

[Watch ticks]

Mr Hudsucker?

[Car horn]

[Car horn]

[Clock chimes, breaking glass]


- [Splat]

- [Screams]

[Clock chimes]

[Distant siren]

It's a pity to waste

a whole Montecristo.

- He could have opened the window.

- He never did anything the easy way.

But why did he do it?

Everything was going so well.

What am I, a headshrinker?

Maybe he was unhappy.

- He didn't look unhappy.

- Or rich.

Waring Hudsucker was never

an easy man to figure out.

He built this company

with his bare hands.

Every step he took was a step up.

- Except, of course, his last one.

- Sure, he was a swell fella.

But when the president, chairman

and owner of 87%% % of the stock

drops 44 floors...

- 45.

- Oounting the mezzanine.

...then the company, too,

has a problem. Stillson...

What exactly is the disposition

of Waring's stock?

As you know,

Hud left no will and had no family.

The company by-laws are quite clear.

His entire portfolio

will be converted into common stock

and sold as of the first

of the fiscal year following his demise.

- Meaning?

- Oontrol of the company

will be made available

to the public January 1st.

You mean any slob in a smelly t-shirt

will be able to buy Hudsucker stock?

- The company by-laws are quite clear.

- My God! You're animals!

[Sobs] How can you discuss stock

when the man has just leapt 45 floors?

- 44.

- Not counting the mezzanine.

Quit showboating, the man has gone.

The question is whether we're gonna let

John Q Public buy our company.

What are you suggesting, Sidney?

We can't afford

to buy a controlling interest.

Not while the stock is this strong.

How soon before

Hud's paper hits the market?

- January 1st.

- 30 days.

- Four weeks.

- Month at the most.

One month to make

the investment of the century

look like a ticket on the Titanic.

- We play up the fact that Hud is dead.

- Long live the Hud!

- We depress the stock.

- So we can buy 50%%% .

- 51.

- Not counting the mezzanine.

- It could work.

- It should work.

It's working already.

Waring Hudsucker

is abstract art on Madison Avenue.

What we need now is a president

who'll inspire panic in the stockholder.

- A puppet.

- A proxy.

- [Executive] A pawn.

- Sure, sure.

Some jerk we can really push around.

Punch in at 8.30 every morning,

except Mondays, punch in at 8 am.

- Punch in late, they dock you.

- To Seven, Mr Matuzak.

Incoming articles get a voucher.

Outgoing provide a voucher.

Any without a voucher, they dock you.

Take this to secretarial pool. ASAP.

Letter size, green.

Folder size, yellow.

- Parcel size, maroon.

- This is for Morgatross. Ohop chop!

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Ethan Coen

Ethan Coen was born on September 21, 1957 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA as Ethan Jesse Coen. He is a producer and writer, known for No Country for Old Men (2007), True Grit (2010) and The Big Lebowski (1998). He has been married to Tricia Cooke since October 2, 1990. They have two children. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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