She works for Big Dave (James Gandolfini), and when Dave and his wife come over to dinner, Doris and Dave laugh at all the same things while Ed and Dave's wife stare into thin air.
The Coen brothers are not usually fodder for Plot Holes: They’re famous for stories that move along with an inexorable logic.
Both this film and The Stranger are about this acknowledgement and what it can do to a person. The idea that The Man Who Wasn’t There is just an entertaining story about a barber who, in 1949, wants to be a dry cleaner is the driest, most pedestrian description possible. The poem begins: “Yesterday, upon the stair, I met a man who wasn’t there…” For us, self-unaware Ed Crane is the symbolic ghost and Earth is the haunted house. In performing an analysis we avoid making idle comparisons to other works, or looking to consensus opinions of, for example, film critics, because that approach presumes that by understanding one work we can suddenly understand another. Man, I’d say you’re just a little bit tetched! From here on, the Coens spread out their crazy quilt. This is not to say that we never see value in making a comparative study—but only when it shows potential as a pathway to a fresh insight or new paradigm. He lives responsibly, takes initiatives to protect his interests in the face of his wife’s infidelity, and seeks to improve his social standing by investing in a promising business venture. Eventually, Ed is charged, tried, and convicted not of Big Dave’s murder but of a murder he didn’t commit, leaving us with a world so evacuated of meaning that even justice is nothing but a sick accident.
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Ed Crane has the expression of a man stunned speechless by something somebody else has just said.
UFOs and aliens had come into mainstream news in 1947 and were a blossoming part of American culture by 1949. Big Dave pays up but eventually figures out that the extortionist was Ed. ''You're an enthusiast!'' The Coen Brothers' ''The Man Who Wasn't There'' is shot in black-and-white so elegantly, it reminds us of a 1940s station wagon -- chrome, wood, leather and steel all burnished to a contented glow. Yes, it has a similar flavor to The Man Who Wasn’t There, the screenplay by Ethan and Joel Coen, in that both can be seen as character studies wrapped in existential themes, and the characters have some similar characteristics. https://pluribusone.wordpress.com/2016/08/01/noetitaoist-philosophy-primer-part-v/. This film is another Coen masterpiece. Film noir is rarely about heroes, but about men of small stature, who are lured out of their timid routines by dreams of wealth or romance. But the problem with their new movie is that while the man who wasn’t there really was there, the cops aren’t all there. He spends most of his waking hours cutting hair and smoking, the cigarette dangling from his lips as he leans over his clients.
By that year, the FBI already had more than 100 million fingerprint cards on file. Ed drops the knife to the floor and leaves. He shows no sign of social rebellion with respect to any of the legal proceedings. All contents © 2020 The Slate Group LLC. We say no. Yes, and he is mostly enthusiastic not about Birdy's music but about Birdy, but too fearful to make the slightest admission of his feelings. The movie is set in 1949. Join Slate Plus to continue reading, and you’ll get unlimited access to all our work—and support Slate’s independent journalism. Change ), You are commenting using your Google account.  A July 12, 1939 recording of the song by the Glenn Miller Orchestra , with vocals by Tex Beneke , became an 11-week hit on Your Hit Parade and reached #7.
In the end, he looks forward fearlessly to the possibility of a positive afterlife. You can skip to the end and leave a response.
To begin with, they defy an assumption that average viewers will shun black-and-white films. Tex Beneke: You’d got a load of what I saw last night You’d pass the Yankee Clipper on its maiden flight! I met a man who wasn’t there He wasn’t there again today I wish, I wish he’d go away… When I came home last night at three The man was waiting there for me But when I looked around the hall I couldn’t see him there at all! The Coen Brothers' ''The Man Who Wasn't There'' is shot in black-and-white so elegantly, it reminds us of a 1940s station wagon -- chrome, wood, leather and steel all burnished to a contented glow. (This is exactly right; the movie remembers a time in America when everyone seemed to smoke all the time, and I cannot think of Darrel Martin, the barber on Main Street in Urbana, without remembering the smoke that coiled from his Camel into my eyes during every haircut.) Remember that dagger? Slate relies on advertising to support our journalism. ( Log Out / This entry was posted on February 13, 2012 at 11:07 AM and is filed under Applications Mavintory™, Esoteric/"Occult", Films and Filmmaking. All rights reserved. Now, it’s possible that the cops wouldn’t have thought to see if Ed’s prints matched the killer’s. If the Coens have taken two hours to do what hardly anyone else could do at all, isn't it churlish to ask why they didn't take less time to do what everyone can do? And he doesn't even kill who, or how, or when the world thinks he does (although there is a certain justice when he receives his last shave). https://pluribusone.wordpress.com/2016/09/05/noetitaoist-philosophy-primer-part-vii/, https://pluribusone.wordpress.com/2016/08/01/noetitaoist-philosophy-primer-part-v/. In 1939, "Antigonish" was adapted as a popular song titled "The Little Man Who Wasn't There", by Harold Adamson with music by Bernie Hanighen, both of whom received the songwriting credits. there's a mirror at the bottom of a set of stairs in his home. Roger Ebert was the film critic of the Chicago Sun-Times from 1967 until his death in 2013. she asks him, after he insists she has talent. when he walks in the door it's directly to his right "When I came home last night at three" three being like a clock face thing, like army styles "bogey at 8'o'clock" and the stairs to the left, i also get the sense he's probably a drinker coz he leaves at night and doesn't like this little man he sees, himself. For Ed, wholeness would be to own a dry cleaning business and freed from his brother-in-law employer. Where a lot of men would have taken advantage of the young girl, Birdy, he refuses her sexual advances in acknowledgement of the illegality and impropriety. If you value our work, please disable your ad blocker. ( Log Out / And yet, and yet--for a movie about crime, it proceeds at such a leisurely pace. As an antidote to The Man Who Wasn’t There, try watching the Coen Brothers’ 1994 film: The Hudsucker Proxy. Its star performance by, Welcome to Judgment City: A Look Back at Defending Your Life, The West Wing Returns for an HBO Max Special, Touring Masterworks: Adam Nayman Discusses His New Book on Paul Thomas Anderson. He is married to Doris (Frances McDormand), who is the bookkeeper down at Nirdlinger's Department Store. But they certainly would have checked Doris’, discovered that they didn’t match, and realized she didn’t do it. As the police point out, she had motive, means, and opportunity: She was not only having an affair with Big Dave, but was also helping him cover his embezzlement of store funds by cooking the books. Is it surprising that ETs would avoid open interaction with Earth humans and take no action to save us from ourselves? There are many other indications that Crane is not at all counter-cultural in his attitudes or actions. Now I have seen it again, and I admire its virtues so much I am about ready to forgive its flow. Change ). For more, see our January, 2011 post: “Formulaic Thinking.”, Thank you for your article and reply, I can relate to the main character now, but am not happy about that. Thornton’s character, a small-town barber named Ed, needs $10,000 to get in on a jazzy new business venture called “dry cleaning” (this is 1949).
Ed is shown dropping it to the floor without wiping it clean, so it must have his fingerprints on it. The trouble with all this is that Doris would never have been charged with Big Dave’s murder. Ed thinks his wife may be having an affair. In 1975, he won the Pulitzer Prize for distinguished criticism. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. Its star performance by Billy Bob Thornton is a study in sad-eyed, mournful chain-smoking, the portrait of a man so trapped by life he wants to scream. Perhaps some viewers assumed that the modern fingerprint classification system was, like dry cleaning, not yet part of the police mind-set in 1949. I like the way Freddy Riedenschneider tells Ed, ''I'm an attorney. ( Log Out /
Both Ed Crane and Meursault display and unsettling lack of care for the implemented structure of society, only following along because they have had nothing better to do their whole lives. And you'll never see this message again. You're a barber. "Plot Holes" is an occasional column about narrative lapses in the movies. The Coens say the film was inspired by an antique haircut poster, which may have been the “cosmic trigger” for their creative process, but neither that trigger nor their superficial description of the basic plot reveal much about the film’s deeper nature and significance. We see this inculcated impulse to think formulaically—to “profile”—as one of the greatest impediments to the enhancement of anyone’s perception, one of the greatest dangers to creating and sustaining a democratic global society, and one of the biggest threats to full realization of human potential. Along the way, each step makes perfect sense. They get into a bloody fistfight, and Big Dave is well on his way to beating Ed to death when Ed, out of desperation, kills him with the little Japanese dagger Big Dave uses to clip the ends off cigars.
The Coen Brothers' ''The Man Who Wasn't There'' is shot in black-and-white so elegantly, it reminds us of a 1940s station wagon -- chrome, wood, leather and steel all burnished to a contented glow. Ed, who narrates the entire movie with deadpan objectivity, reports his summation for the jury: ''He told them to look not at the facts, but at the meaning of the facts. The plot is one of those film noir twisters made of gin and adultery, where the right man is convicted of the wrong crime. She lacks all such inhibition, and when she attempts to demonstrate her gratitude in an extremely direct way, all he can think of to say is, ''Heavens to Betsy!'' This entry gives away crucial twists in The Man Who Wasn't There. He has the second chair in a two-barber shop, next to his talkative brother-in-law Frank (Michael Badalucco). Joel and Ethan Coen are above all stylists. Not in our viewing.
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