The Hudsucker Proxy / quad / UK

03.01.17

PosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
The Hudsucker Proxy
AKA
Mister Hula Hoop (Italy)
Year of Film
1994
Director
Joel Coen
Starring
Tim Robbins, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Paul Newman, Charles Durning, John Mahoney, Jim True-Frost, Bill Cobbs, Bruce Campbell, Harry Bugin, John Seitz, Joe Grifasi
Origin of Film
UK | Germany | USA
Genre(s) of Film
Comedy | Drama | Fantasy
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1994
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
30 1/16" x 40"
SS or DS
DS
Tagline
The Future is Now

This is the UK quad for the release of the Coen Brothers’ 1994 film The Hudsucker Proxy. The script for the film was over a decade in gestation and Joel Coen began writing it with Sam Raimi during the editing of the latter’s Evil Dead (1981). The trio began sharing a house during the filming of Raimi’s Crimewave (1985) and the brothers’ Blood Simple so the script continued to evolve. It wasn’t until the completion of Barton Fink in 1991 that the brothers decided to fully focus on it.

They decided that they wanted to work on more of a more mainstream film and felt the script needed a decent budget behind it. Legendary Hollywood producer Joel Silver, who was a fan of the brothers’ previous films, agreed to help them and pitched it to Warner Bros. Further financial backing came from the now defunct PolyGram Filmed Entertainment, a British-American production company responsible for some of the biggest box-office hits of the 1980s and 1990s, including Batman (1989) and Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994). Note their logo in a prominent position on the left side of the credit block.

The film marked the first time the Coens had worked with big name stars, with most of their previous casts made up of relative unknowns (many of whom would go on to find fame afterwards). Set in 1958 in the world of big business, the story sees idealistic business school graduate Norville Barnes (Tim Robbins) arrive in New York City looking for a job. Without the necessary experience he ends up working as a mailroom clerk in a manufacturing company called Hudsucker Industries. When the founder and president Waring Hudsucker commits suicide during a business meeting (a classic scene involving an open window) the nefarious chairman of the board, Sidney J. Mussburger (Paul Newman) realises that all of Hudsucker’s shares are to be sold to the public. 

Mussburger hatches a plan to buy the stock at what will be a knockdown price by installing what he sees as an incompetent in the top role, the titular proxy, hoping to depress the share price. Whilst delivering mail one day, Norville makes a pitch to Mussburger that involves a simple drawing of a ring (“Y’know for kids!”) and the latter thinks he has found the perfect person. Things don’t go exactly to plan when the board agree to produce Norville’s idea, which turns out to be the phenomenally successful hula hoop (invented for real in 1958). Meanwhile, an undercover reporter called Amy Archer (Jennifer Jason Leigh) has joined the firm as Norville’s secretary hoping to write a juicy article on the man who replaced Hudsucker. She soon discovers the details of the plot but has a hard time convincing her superiors. Norville allows success to go to his head and begins acting like any other uncaring tycoon. However, Mussburger discovers Amy’s real identity and uses this against him. The finale takes place at the top of the firm’s tower, as depicted on this poster, and sees the Coens at their most surreal.

This UK quad features a design that has clearly borrowed from the US one sheet (see here) with an enterprising British designer reusing the image of Tim Robbins holding the hula hoop and replacing the hoop with wads of dollar bills. The same images of Paul Newman and Jennifer Jason Leigh are reused and the cogs seen on the one sheet are also present. If anyone has any ideas who designed it please get in touch.

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