Man's Favorite Sport?

Rock Hudson is living a lie! The well-groomed San Francisco resident works in retail, has an unseen fiancée named “Tex” (hmmm), and even calls himself “a fraud.” Why must he keep his hidden identity a secret? Why must he deceive everyone about his true proclivities? We're talking, of course, about fishing, the subject of Howard Hawks' erratic 1964 farce Man's Favorite Sport?, which caps SAM's three-film salute to Hudson as part of Pride Week. With a boozy, leering sensibility that's a cross between Field & Stream and Playboy, the movie stars Hudson as a sporting-goods salesman who's written a bestselling fishing guide yet never cast a line in his life. Forced into a fishing derby, he's tutored by a perky PR woman (Paula Prentiss), who naturally falls for him. Hudson must endure countless pratfalls and indignities (at one point, a bear steals his moped and rides off with it. Yes, a bear … the real kind of bear), but he maintains his signature cool. His emotions, like his whole Hollywood-manufactured façade, are neatly ironed into place. Even Prentiss' flighty flirtatiousness can't ruffle him. Hudson is too polite to get irate with her and, in the movie at least, too decent to continue his charade. He's closeted, but elegantly. To one customer, while testing a fly-fishing rod, he counsels “very little wrist movement.” That's right—no swishing! (G) BRIAN MILLER

Fri., June 10, 7:30 p.m.; Fri., June 17, 7:30 p.m.; Fri., June 24, 7:30 p.m., 2011

 
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