The Coen Brothers A-Z

The Coen Brothers A-Z

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Joel & Ethan CoenWith their new film Inside Llewyn Davis hitting UK cinemas this week, here’s our indispensable guide to the richly inventive and playful world of brothers Joel and Ethan Coen.

A is for…

A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop
This is the international title of the 2009 Chinese remake of Blood Simple, which Ethan and Joel both received a story credit for. A distinct change of pace and style for House of Flying Daggers director Zhang Yimou, the tale was transposed from a Texas town to a noodle shop in a harsh desert landscape of the Gansu province.

Raising Arizona

B is for…

Botched criminal act
Take a look at any of the duo’s films, and very little actually goes to plan for the characters. Even latest creation Llewyn Davis encounters more than his fair share of obstacles, but many of their films in the crime genre include a disastrous deed which acts as a catalyst for the narrative (see Blood Simple, Raising Arizona, Fargo, The Big Lebowski, No Country For Old Men, Burn After Reading).

C is for…

Collaborators
As well as frequently casting a talented array respected character actors in all their films, the Coens always try to retain the same talent behind the camera, too. British cinematographer Roger Deakins has worked on almost every one of the duo’s films since Barton Fink, leaving his indelible visual mark on some of their most memorable scenes.

D is for…

Dashiell Hammett
Samuel Dashiell Hammett (1894 – 1961) was an American author of hard-boiled detective novels and short stories, his most famous work being The Maltese Falcon and Red Harvest. He is said to have been a huge influence on the brother’s earlier films, particularly their 1990 period American gangster film, Miller’s Crossing.

Evil Dead

E is for…

Evil Dead, The
After graduating from New York University, Joel’s first two jobs were as assistant editors of two horrors – the little-seen Fear No Evil and Sam Raimi’s ferocious debut, The Evil Dead. The two became friends and brothers co-wrote Crimewave and The Hudsucker Proxy with Raimi in the mid-1980s. Raimi would go on to feature in cameos roles in both Miller’s Crossing and The Hudsucker Proxy, and he and Joel also cropped up briefly together in John Landis’ Spies Like Us.

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Mild-mannered civilian by day, passionate cinephile and dedicated blogger at night, my obsession began with seeing the image of Luke staring wistfully at the two stars of Tatooine, and 30-plus years later, that love have never wavered.