Paul Newman gets one of his best roles as the title character, a self-absorbed son of a respectable Texas cattle rancher (Melvyn Douglas). Hud spends his days devising ways to steal his father’s ranch out from under him and his nights in town instigating bar fights and prowling for women (married or not). Only someone of Newman’s immense charm could make this figure anything but detestable. Even without the help of his famous blue eyes (James Wong Howe’s gorgeous, black-and-white cinematography won an Oscar), Newman still turns Hud into a tarnished golden boy, cruel yet irresistible to watch. Poised between adoration and disgust is Hud’s nephew Lonnie (Brandon de Wilde). Hud’s wild ways look enticing to Lonnie, but there is something about him that worries the kid too, something that comes to the forefront one night when Hud, in a drunken, frustrated rage, attacks the ranch’s housekeeper (Patricia Neal). Neal’s Alma Brown brings an uneasy sexuality to the movie. Divorced, older and the only woman on the ranch, she’s both mother and wife to the three men. She scolds them, pampers them and – when Neal drops her voice even lower than its usual register – flirts with them on occasion. The result is a Western Gothic, where everyone is headed for trouble.