Features and Columns · Movies

Why Sam Raimi’s Montage Scene in ‘The Hudsucker Proxy’ Rules

Sam Raimi’s montages run circles around most directors’.
Sam Raimi Hudsucker Montage
Warner Bros.
By  · Published on July 15th, 2022

Welcome to The Queue — your daily distraction of curated video content sourced from across the web. Today, we’re watching a video essay that unpacks the hula hoop montage in the Coen Brothers’ film ‘The Hudsucker Proxy,’ which Sami Raimi was responsible for as a second unit director.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness may have come and gone but Raimi fever is still gripping the nation! Look, we haven’t forgotten that we have a high-rise Evil Dead film coming down the pipe, and neither should you! There are plenty of folks who have marathoned Raimi’s work in anticipation of his recent Marvel joint. But how many folks thought to include the 1994 film The Hudsucker Proxy amidst their watchlists?

Yeah, sure, the film about a naive business grad (Tim Robbins) becoming the head of a manufacturing company after inventing the hula hoop was “directed” by the “Coen Brothers.” But did you know that Raimi co-wrote the script? And that, more to the point, he served as the second unit director?

Well, even if you didn’t know about Raimi’s involvement, one scene in particular — a montage where we see the hula hoop’s production and slow success, to be precise — has the Evil Dead director’s fingerprints all over it.

In the following video essay, we’re treated to a quick rundown of how Raimi and the Coen Brothers came to form a creative partnership and how the six-minute montage is a good way of understanding their differences as filmmakers. With exceptions you can count on one hand, the Coens aren’t really “montage” directors. Meanwhile, as the video essay enthusiastically argues, loves deploying montages. And unlike the Coens, Raimi doesn’t just use montage to condense time or mood, but emotions and themes. In Raimi’s hands, montage allows for abstraction, physicality, and snappy visual gags. And there’s no better example of this than the hula hoop montage of The Hudsucker Proxy, which, in under ten minutes, manages to summarize not only the idea behind the film but the motivations of its blank check-enjoying filmmakers, too.

Watch “Sam Raimi’s Best Scene (In a Movie He Didn’t Direct)”:

Who made this?

New York-based Patrick (H) Willems created this video essay on why the hula hoop montage in The Hudsucker Proxy exemplifies what makes Sam Raimi such an exciting filmmaker. Willems has been making content on YouTube for the better part of a decade. You can find their own directorial efforts and their video essays on their channel here. You can also find Willems on Twitter here.

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Meg Shields is the humble farm boy of your dreams and a senior contributor at Film School Rejects. She currently runs three columns at FSR: The Queue, How'd They Do That?, and Horrorscope. She is also a curator for One Perfect Shot and a freelance writer for hire. Meg can be found screaming about John Boorman's 'Excalibur' on Twitter here: @TheWorstNun. (She/Her).