The Coen Brothers (Second Edition)
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Brought completely up to date, this insightful biography remains "a must for any self-respecting Coen fan" (Screentrade).
This fully updated edition of the first biography of the Coen Brothers includes their complete work so far, from Blood Simple to Inside Llewyn Davis (2013), with a reassessment of their remarkable career as a whole. Joel and Ethan Coen have pulled off the ultimate balancing act. Despite having their movies financed and distributed by major studios, they have managed to remain true independents, rejecting commercial clichés and never giving up on their own fiercely idiosyncratic vision. While doing so, they have established themselves among the world's leading filmmakers.
From their startling debut, Blood Simple (1984), all of their movies reveal a distinctive stamp: a flamboyant visual style, richly conceived characters, crisp dialogue, and brilliant casting. They have revitalized old Hollywood genres such as noir, screwball, and the western, giving them a contemporary sensibility. In this biography, Ronald Bergan traces the brothers' Jewish roots, their beginnings as film geeks in suburban Minneapolis, their battle to get their first feature made and released, through their early features and the movies of their maturity. He gives blow-by-blow accounts of the making of each movie. New chapters cover all those released since O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000), with which the first edition of this book ended.
and roars with laughter at the sight of the snow coming down. The fall of thunderbolts is treated with some gravity. The fall of roofs and high buildings is taken seriously. It is only when a man tumbles down that we laugh. Why do we laugh? Because it is a grave religious matter: it is the Fall of Man. Only man can be absurd: for only man can be dignified G. K. Chesterton, “Spiritualisms,” in Illustrated London News (April 1906) XVII PARDNERS “We didn’t think about it as a genre movie as much
Grit. The cinematographer is especially proud of the opening sequence, a melancholy tableau—a porch light, falling snow, the crumpled figure of Mattie’s murdered father—and the climax, when Rooster and Mattie ride Little Blackie through the snow at night. 111 Way Out West In a year that saw the release of westerns such as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and The Wild Bunch (as well as the influential Easy Rider and Midnight Cowboy), the more traditional Hathaway movie could not have avoided
when they were going around cap in hand, or facing businessmen across large desks, only a few years before. Sticking to their principles of only doing original work on their own terms, they dauntlessly turned Warner Bros. down. One could amuse oneself in contemplating how different their Batman might have been from Tim Burton’s. In fact, Sam Raimi might have been ideal as he had a collection of twenty-five thousand comic books. The Coens were into comics and cartoons, but although there are
decided to prove his existence once more. The locations were so varied, from the Dude’s Venice beach cottage to the Big Lebowski’s mansion to Jackie Treehorn’s glass and concrete Malibu pad, that obtaining a unified look to the film was a challenge. This was mainly up to the cinematographer, Roger Deakins, and the art department. The Lebowski mansion was an empty house that was used mainly for filming. The Dude’s second visit to see his wealthy namesake is what the Coens call “a great-room
picturalization, the Coens’ script was as faithful to their source material as possible, and No Country For Old Men is one of those rare films that satisfied most admirers of the literary source material. Describing the writing process, Ethan remarked, “One of us types into the computer while the other holds the spine of the book open flat.” Nevertheless, some pruning was necessary, and many of the monologues in the book by the sheriff Ed Tom Bell (played by Tommy Lee Jones in the movie) were