Patricia Neal was a woman whose career was marked by a diversity of movie roles as well as illness and tragedy in her personal life. As an actress, she was wonderful. As a person, she was strong and resilient. She is remembered for her beauty, her infamous affair with the married Gary Cooper, her marriage to author Roald Dahl, two beloved children who died under tragic circumstances, and the terrible series of strokes in a period of hours while she was pregnant. Pat Neal was left severely debilitated by these cerebral aneurysms, and had to fight her way back to learning to talk and walk. Her baby was born healthy, and Pat won her fight back to health.
“Alma, get me a clean white shirt!”
“Boy, you’re really big with the please and thank you, aren’t you?”
“Please get off your lazy butt and get me a clean white shirt, thank you!”
In another scene, Hud visits Alma in her little detached cabin and tries his alleged charm on her:
“You’re a good cook, a good laundress, good housekeeper – what else you good at?”
“Taking care of myself.”
I don’t like to reveal too much about a movie like Hud by telling the story beginning to end. It is easily accessible on cable, Netflix, rental outlets, even Youtube. Anyone who would like to see it deserves to see it for themselves without spoilers. It is of course much more than the story of Alma, and a truly great movie.
Because Pat's performance relies so much on delivery and reaction, I thought it would be a good idea to give you one of the best examples of Pat Neal’s portrayal of Alma in a short portion of the movie I found on Youtube. To see just the scene between Alma and Hud, fast forward to about 3:26. It is funny and sad, and shows much of the reason for Pat’s well-deserved award as Best Actress.