Cover image for The Coen brothers
The Coen brothers
Bergan, Ronald.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Thunder's Mouth Press ; [Berkeley, Calif.] : Distributed by Publishers Group West, [2000]

Physical Description:
244 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 24 cm
Personal Subject:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PN1998.3.C6635 B47 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Blood Simple, Barton Fink, Raising Arizona, Miller's Crossing, Fargo, Hudsucker Proxy, and The Big Lebowski - moviegoers either love the Coen brothers or they hate them. Those who love them believe they have made some of the most innovative, entertaining, and idiosyncratic films of the last 25 years. Their movies have grossed over 1 billion, and Fargo won Oscars in 1997 for Best Original Screenplay and Best Actress. Brought up in small-town America, the brothers have been making movies fromthe age of eight. Joel directs; Ethan writes and collaborates with his brother in the later stages as the story develops its visual identity. The Coen brothers set the standard for creative cinema.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

The offbeat and idiosyncratic films of the Coen brothers, Joel and Ethan, two former film geeks from Minneapolis, Minnesota, have been hard to categorize. The eight films produced in the course of a career spanning nearly two decades incorporate the major genres of U.S. film (horror, comedy, mystery) but still are firmly anchored in the film noir tradition. For the first time, British film writer Bergan has compiled an in-depth account of the pair. Joel and Ethan are puckishly oblique with their interviewer, wryly eluding questions about the symbolism in their work and their creative process. Bergan does elicit much helpful information about their love for the pulp fiction of Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett and the film noir classics of the `40s and `50s. He explores their films in depth, retrieving choice anecdotes about the inception of each film and life on the set working with their talented repertory group of actors. Bergan maintains an irreverent, almost absurd tone throughout the book, in effect mimicking the unpredictable art of his subjects. Overall, a very thoughtful and clever book. --Ted Leventhal

Library Journal Review

As Hollywood personalities go, the Coen brothers are pretty dull. Joel and Ethan Coen hail from an ordinary, suburban, middle-class neighborhood. They were just regular guys who grew up during the 1960s watching and loving Doris Day, Jerry Lewis, Bob Hope, and all of the Dean Jones Disney films. This might seem odd considering that these are the makers of such films as Blood Simple and Miller's Crossing. However, the one thing that the Coen brothers are not is predictable. In simple, clear language, Bergan (Sergei Eisenstein; Jean Renoir) presents the Coen brothers in a rather layered fashion, gradually revealing biographical details and elements while examining their films, their filmmaking style, their inspirations, and some of the ideas behind their works. The book, arranged chronologically by film, includes a filmography with synopses, cast, and crew. With the Oscar-winning Fargo, the Coens have become two of the most interesting filmmakers working today, though they are still in the early stages of what one hopes will be long and successful careers. Bergan's biography is a welcome introduction to these distinctive filmmakers. Recommended for high school and public libraries. Julia Stump, Voorheesville P.L., NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgementsp. vii
I O, Brother!p. 1
II Kings of the Indiesp. 17
III The Brothers Geekp. 39
IV First Bloodp. 65
V Hi Stakesp. 93
VI Double Crossingp. 113
VII Hollywood Nutsp. 131
VIII CapraCoenp. 147
IX Yah! Yah!p. 165
X Cool Dudesp. 187
XI Odd Odysseyp. 203
XII Laughter in the Darkp. 221
Filmographyp. 225
Bibliographyp. 233
Indexp. 237