Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Hudson Hawk is a 1991 film, directed by Michael Lehmann . Bruce Willis stars in the title role and also co-wrote the story. Danny Aiello, Andie MacDowell, James Coburn, David Caruso, Lorraine Toussaint, Frank Stallone, Richard E. Grant, and Sandra Bernhard are also featured.
The film makes heavy use of surrealism and confusing plot material based on conspiracy theories, secret societies, and historic mysteries, as well as outlandish technology a la Coburn's Our Man Flint movies of the 1960s.
A recurring plot device in the film has Hudson and his partner Tommy "Five-Tone" (Aiello) singing songs concurrently but separately, to time and synchronize their exploits. Willis-Aiello duets of Bing Crosby's Swinging On a Star and Paul Anka's Side by Side feature on the movie's soundtrack.
Despite a star-studded cast, the film generally received negative critical reviews and was overall a box office bomb. It received Razzie Awards for Worst Director, Worst Screenplay and Worst Picture. In his autobiography, With Nails, Richard E. Grant diarizes the production of the film in detail, noting the ad-hoc nature of the production and extensive rewriting and replotting during the actual filming. Since its release, others have held it to be an original and daring project by Willis that did not receive its due. Willis went on to become one of the leading box-office stars of the 1990s, but has not made any further forays into scriptwriting.
The story begins with Eddie "Hudson Hawk" Hawkins (Willis), a master burglar and safe-cracker attempting to celebrate his first day of parole from prison with a cappucino. Before he can get it, he is blackmailed by various entities, including his own parole officer, a minor Newark Mafia family (headed by Stallone), and the CIA (Coburn along with Caruso and Toussaint and others), into doing several dangerous art heists. Throughout the movie, Hudson attempts to enjoy a cappucino, but is foiled each time.
The holders of the various players' puppet strings turn out to be a "psychotic American corporation", Mayflower Industries, run by a husband-and-wife team (Grant and Bernhard) and their blade-slinging butler. The company is seeking to take over the world by reconstructing "la Maquina del Oro", a machine purportedly invented by Leonardo Da Vinci which converts lead into gold. A special assembly of crystals needed for the machine to function are hidden in various of Da Vinci's art pieces: the Sforza, the Codex, and the Mona Lisa.
Sister Anna Baragli (MacDowell), initially his tail and later his refuge (and love interest), is an operative for a secretive and unnamed Vatican counter-espionage agency, which makes an unexplained arrangement with the CIA to assist in the Rome portion of Hudson's mission, though apparently intending all along to use the connection to foil the robbery at St. Peter's.
The movie culminates in a spectacular showdown at Da Vinci's castle, between the remaining CIA agents, the Mayflowers, and the team of Hudson, Five-Tone, and Baragli, to stop the Mayflowers from successfully operating the machine.
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