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Raising Arizona (1987)

A comedy beyond belief.

Original Title : Raising Arizona
Director : Joel Coen
Ethan Coen
Writer : Ethan Coen
Joel Coen
Genre : Comedy
(more)
Country : USA
Language : English
Producer : Ethan Coen , James Jacks , Deborah Reinisch , Mark Silverman
Music : Carter Burwell
Photography : Barry Sonnenfeld
IMDB ID : 0093822
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poster for "Raising Arizona" by Joel Coen | Ethan Coen (1987)
Raising Arizona (1987) - Joel Coen | Ethan Coen
 

Starring

Nicolas Cage H.I. McDonnough
Holly Hunter Edwina 'Ed' McDonnough
Trey Wilson Nathan Arizona (Hufheinz
John Goodman Gale
William Forsythe Evelle
Sam McMurray Glen
Frances McDormand Dot
Randall 'Tex' Cobb Leonard Smalls
T.J. Kuhn Nathan Arizona Jr. (as T.J. Kuhn Jr.
Lynne Dumin Kitei Florence Arizona
Peter Benedek Prison Counselor
Charles 'Lew' Smith Nice Old Grocery Man
Warren Keith Younger FBI Agent
Henry Kendrick Older FBI Agent
Sidney Dawson Moses (ear-bending cellmate
Richard Blake Parole Board Chairman
Troy Nabors Parole Board Member
Mary Seibel Parole Board Member
John O'Donnal Hayseed in the Pickup
Keith Jandacek Whitey
Warren Forsythe Minister
Ruben Young 'Trapped' Convict
Dennis Sullivan Policeman in Arizona House
Richard Alexander Policeman in Arizona house (as Dick Alexander
Rusty Lee Feisty Hayseed
James Yeater Fingerprint Technician
Bill Andres Reporter
Carver Barns Reporter
Margaret H. McCormack Unpainted Arizona Secretary
Bill Rocz Newscaster
Mary F. Glenn Payroll Cashier
Jeremy Babendure Scamp with Squirt Gun
Bill Dobbins Adoption Agent
Ralph Norton Gynecologist
Henry Tank Mopping Convict
Frank Outlaw Supermarket Manager
Todd Michael Rodgers Varsity Nathan Jr.
M. Emmet Walsh Machine Shop Ear-Bender
Robert Gray Glen and Dot's Kid
Katie Thrasher Glen and Dot's Kid
Derek Russell Glen and Dot's Kid
Nicole Russell Glen and Dot's Kid
Zachary Sanders Glen and Dot's Kid
Noell Sanders Glen and Dot's Kid
Cody Ranger Arizona Quint
Jeremy Arendt Arizona Quint
Ashley Hammon Arizona Quint
Crystal Hiller Arizona Quint
Olivia Hughes Arizona Quint
Emily Malin Arizona Quint
Melanie Malin Arizona Quint
Craig McLaughlin Arizona Quint
Adam Savageau Arizona Quint
Benjamin Savageau Arizona Quint
David Schneider Arizona Quint
Michael Stewart Arizona Quint
William Preston Robertson Amazing Voice (voice
 

Plot

Recidivist hold-up man H.I. McDonnough and police woman Edwina marry, only to discover they are unable to conceive a child. Desperate for a baby, the pair decide to kidnap one of the quintuplets of furniture tycoon Nathan Arizona. The McDonnoughs try to keep their crime secret, while friends, co-workers and a feral bounty hunter look to use Nathan Jr. for their own purposes. Colourful and unconventional slapstick comedy. Ex-con Hi and ex-cop Ed meet, marry and long for a child in the wilds of Arizona. When Ed discovers she's barren the God-given solution is presented: to snatch a baby from a set of quins. Thus begins a series of kidnappings, capers and rum goings-on that revolve around the helpless yet universally-loveable child. Hi's convict friends, his boss, and even the Lone Biker Of The Apocalypse become involved in the ever-twisting plot in the quest to own the baby.
 

Comments

Esterhazy Haydn Clearly this is less well crafted than the Coen brothers' later work (and by "later work" I mean the amazing string of films that started with their very next, "Miller's Crossing") …, but does that mean it's not as good? You bet it does. This is the cinematic equivalent of Haydn's first Esterhazy symphonies. Those works are fresh, their quirkiness is charming, you're a mug if you don't like them, but they lack the polish of the later symphonies Haydn wrote for Paris and London –, and this seemingly inessential ingredient, "polish", turns out to be the difference between a pleasant trifle and a masterpiece. The analogy with Haydn runs deeper than this. Like an early Esterhazy symphony, "Raising Arizona" is all moment-to-moment brilliance, with little effect overall. The film has plenty of amusing one-liners, situations, sight gags, even (although these are more rare) whole episodes. These are "enough" in the sense that they're enough to make a good film, but later Coen works have so much more. When John Turturro's character in "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" (mild spoiler ahead) reveals to the audience that he was just a week away from having completed his sentence before he escaped, this is not just funny in itself, it makes the whole preceding narrative funny in retrospect. There's nothing like this in "Raising Arizona". But there ARE moments like it in Haydn's Paris and London symphonies. The more obvious point of comparison with "O Brother" is the intrusion of folkloric fantasy into a twentieth-century tall tale, there, it's integrated, here, it's not. When the Devil appears in the later film, he belongs, when the Apocalyptic Biker appears here, he does not. (This is besides the fact that he's not nearly as impressive a figure as he ought to be. There's something dead about his scenes, and he seems to mumble his lines.) In "Raising Arizona" the Coens shatter the coherence of their film in order to startle us. In their later films they startle us just as much, but they do so coherently. Not only is "Raising Arizona" as much inferior to "Barton Fink" or "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" as Haydn's first dozen symphonies are to his last dozen, it's inferior for much the same reasons. I like the early Haydn symphonies, too, but I realise that they grew into better and more fully realised versions of themselves. So it is with the Coens.
 
poster for "Raising Arizona"
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Raising Arizona (1987) - Joel Coen | Ethan Coen
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