Thursday, 7 April 2011


Another early outing from J&E Coen, purveyors of fine films to the cognoscenti and one I haven't seen in over twenty years and yet about which I remember much. Probably because it's a real good movie.

Starring Nicholas ('Never Knowingly Underacts') Cage and Holly ('Fine Performance Guaranteed') Hunter as the mismatched couple whose courtship begins when she takes his photograph as a convicted felon and she a cop, as she does several times until he finally really and truly decides to go straight and propose to her. They live happily ever after until Hunter discovers she can't get pregnant and they decide to steal a baby from local businessman whose wife has just had quintuplets on the grounds that they won't really miss one of them.

Of course nothing ever goes right. Their domestic bliss is interrupted by the arrival of escaped con buddy John Goodman and his escaped con brother. Add on Cage's precognitive dream of a ruthless unscrupulous bounty hunter from hell (Ron 'Tex' Cobb) and the scene is set for a conflagration of black comedy and violence.
I'd have liked to show a pic of Cobb in the movie but couldn't find one -in fact I could hardly find any at all from the film. He makes a wondrously fearful menacing sight, face dark and lined, clad in leather and dripping with all kinds of weapons, casually blasting any small animals while passing on his Harley Davidson.

There are numerous memorable scenes but my favourites include the following. Cage trying to steal one of five babies who appear delighted by the intruder in their bedroom and seem intent on having as much fun as possible while he's there. This manages to be simultaneously very funny, very cute (and I normally hate cute), and very charming. Then there's the night scene when thunder and lightning bash and crash, the rain in pouring down churning the dry ground into a muddy mess when a hand appears as if trying to grip the air itself, shortly followed by the massive mud-dripping form of escaping John Goodman as he climbs to his feet, thrust his clenched-fist arms into the air and bellows in triumph. And the two robberies following their kidnapping the kidnapped baby from Cage & Hunter, when Goodman and brother twice leave the baby behind and have to go back for him. On a minor note, at each of the scenes where Hunter takes the police photos of Cage, a voice from someone unseen reminds her not to forgot something. The same unseen voice also speaks up at her wedding. A nice little running gag.

This is a delightful screwball comedy with all performances pitched just right. Even the hallucinatory corny but sweet happy ending seems just right. A lovely film.

Random Notes.

Wikipedia reports that the film has mixed reviews on release but its reputation has grown considerably over the years. Which is only right.

Cobb was, apparently, 'difficult' on set and Cage kept trying to change his dialogue which is a no-no for the Coens who script very tightly.

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