Monday, June 20, 2011

More Classic Coens-O Brother, Where Art Thou? Edition

Joel Coen has described O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000) as The Odyssey meets The Three Stooges. Such a description encapsulates why the Coen Brothers are one of my favorite filmmaking teams working today. I have a soft spot for artists who know their history and are able to find creative ways to incorporate it into their own work. I previously pointed out some connections between The Hudsucker Proxy and the Frank Capra canon in this post and was delighted to see another link to classic film in my latest CB viewing.  While more subtle I can't help but connect it to another one of my favorites.

About midway through the film Everett (George Clooney) has a run in with his ex-wife (Holly Hunter) and her uppity new beau, Vernon T. Waldrip (Ray McKinnon). When Everett speaks unkindly to his wife Vernon feels he must intervene, and the two put up their dukes.

While it may be coincidence Vernon's over exaggerated, seemingly inexperienced stance immediately reminded me of Gary Cooper's character in Ball of Fire.

Even though the tables are turned with Vernon as the Dana Andrews aggressor with this in mind I knew that he would be quite a shot.

It is a subtle move that not only defies viewer expectation but further cemented my admiration. Oh, and the rest of the film is amazing too. How it took me 11 years to get around to watching it I'll never know.

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