10 Hidden Details You Missed In O Brother, Where Art Thou?
There are few directors that have a filmography that is as eclectic as that of the Coen Brothers. And O Brother, Where Art Thou? is yet another crowning achievement in their illustrious career. The film stars George Clooney, John Turturro, and Tim Blake Nelson as a trio of escaped prisoners on a quest to find a buried fortune across the Mississippi River during the Great Depression. The film is a humorous and one-of-a-kind journey that draws on a variety of sources to produce a wonderful comedy that only the Coen Brothers could have imagined.
is chock-full of little-noticed minutiae.
There is no narrative in this picture, which is unusual for a Coen Brothers film, although it does open with a quotation that says, “It’s a good day to be alive.” “O Muse, I beseech you! Make a song for me, and through me relate the narrative of that guy who was adept in the ways of battling, a traveler who had been tormented for years on end.” A passage from Homer’s Odyssey, which tells the narrative of a warrior’s lengthy trip home, serves as the inspiration for this quotation. The scenario of the epic tale served as the inspiration for the Coen Brothers’ film.
Even while Homer’s Odyssey served as the inspiration for the film’s general plot framework, the title was acquired from a different source entirely. The 1941 motion picture Following the journey of a filmmaker who wants to produce a film that tackles the misery of everyday life, and who seeks to live as if they were less fortunate in order to gather experience. “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” is the title of the film he intends to direct and co-produce. Sullivan’s Travels and the Coen Brothers’ film contain a few parallels, including a sequence in which inmates are carried into a movie theater to see a film, which is reminiscent of Sullivan’s Travels.
8Chain Gang Chant
The film is loaded with a wide variety of wonderful music from many eras of American history, which serves to bring the picture to life on the screen. The first song we hear over the opening titles is a chant from a chain gang as they are out working on the highways and roads. In an incredible twist, the chant heard is a genuine 1959 recording of a chain gang singing the song “Po Lazarus” on the radio. The Coen Brothers were able to locate down one member of the chain gang and compensated him with $20,000 for the use of the song in the film, which was even more remarkable.
7Characters From The Odyssey
Despite the fact that the Coen Brothers are having a little fun by claiming that the film is based on Homer’s Odyssey, they do incorporate a lot of references to the original narrative in the film. Those who are familiar with the epic poem will most certainly recognize some of the characters in the film. Ulysses Everett McGill is unmistakably Odysseus, the hero who seeks to return to his wife, who is being followed by a suitor, in this adaptation.
Others who appear in the film include Pappy O’Daniel, who stands in for Zeus, the one-eyed Big Dan Teague, who symbolizes the cyclops, and the three singing females who draw the heroes into their trap, who represent the Sirens.
O Brother, Where Art Thou? has the uncommon distinction of having a soundtrack that has grown even more popular than the film itself, which is rare in Hollywood. The most well-known song from this album is “Man of Constant Sorrow,” which is performed by the three main characters in the film. Clooney was offered the opportunity to sing the lead vocals on the song and afterwards underwent singing classes to increase his vocal range. In the end, he concedes that he was not the best candidate for the position and that he was dubbed.
5Baby Face Nelson
When the trio of heroes encounters George Nelson, a psychotic bank robber with the moniker “Baby Face Nelson,” they are in for a treat. Nelson, who is upset over not being taken seriously, is just one of the interesting individuals they encounter. A bank robber during this time period, Baby Face Nelson is credited with a series of daring bank robberies over his career. Nelson, on the other hand, was assassinated in 1935, two years before the events in this film. In addition, he was slain in a gunfight with police, rather than being executed while in jail, as shown in the documentary.
Despite having a very straightforward plot, the film was commended for its use of visual effects and computer-generated imagery (CGI). Despite the fact that they are not unduly exploited in the film, the few examples are realistically blended into the broader scene. It could have been a little too convincing in one occasion. The sequences in which a police car collides with a cow appeared to be so realistic that the American Humane Association wanted verification that no real animals were hurt in the production.
Tommy Johnson, who is played by Chris Thomas King, is another notable figure who the trio of escaped prisoners meets up with in the course of their journey. When the heroes first encounter Tommy, he is standing at a crossroads, where he claims to have seen the devil and exchanged his soul for the ability to play the guitar in exchange for his life. Apparently, there is some reality to the persona, or at the very least, some real-life influence for the creation of the character. It is said that a famous blues musician by the name of Tommy Johnson sold his soul to the devil in order to perform the blues, according to popular belief.
As a part of their mission to save their new buddy Tommy, the three heroes sneak into a Ku Klux Klan gathering, which proves to be one of the most memorable moments in the film. The spectacle, which includes a large burning cross and hundreds of dressed extras, is extremely extravagant.
Members of the Klan also take part in an odd ceremonial march, which is also seen in the image. Contrary to popular belief, the march is a military formation, and the military group hired to appear as Ku Klux Klan members and conduct the sequence was primarily composed of African-American soldiers.
When the three protagonists sneak into a Ku Klux Klan gathering in order to save their new friend Tommy, it becomes one of the most iconic sequences in the film. There are hundreds of dressed extras in this spectacular tableau, which includes a big burning cross. The Klan members also take part in an unique ceremonial march, which is included in the scene as a bonus. Although the march is a military formation, most of the African-American members of the military troupe who was recruited to dress up as Ku Klux Klan members and execute the sequence were members of the Klan.
O brother, art thou in Oz?
During one of the film’s most iconic sequences, the three protagonists sneak into a Ku Klux Klan gathering in order to save their new friend Tommy. The scenario, which includes a large burning cross and hundreds of dressed extras, is rather extravagant. In addition, the Klan members take part in an odd ceremonial march of sorts in the scenario. Contrary to popular belief, the march is a military formation, and the military company hired to appear as Ku Klux Klan members and conduct the sequence was overwhelmingly composed of African-Americans.
Filming Locations for O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000), in Mississippi and California.
HomeFilmsOO Brother, Where Art Thou? OO Brother, Where Art Thou? Wednesday, December 22nd, in the year 2021 The story of Homer’s Odyssey is set in the Depression-era Deep South, and the title is drawn from the socially concerned film of the same name. With Joel McCrea intending to make a cameo in Preston Sturges’ 1941Sullivan’s Travels and the appearance of JohnsGoodmanandTurturro, it can only be theCoenbrothers who will be in the film. With the use of a groundbreaking digital color modification method and a soundtrack that unexpectedly became a hit, the Coens’ picaresque narrative was filmed nearly completely in central Mississippi, in and around the Jackson region, by director Joel and Ethan Coen.
- Tilda Bogue, which translates as ‘rocky creek’ in the Choctaw language, is a cabin erected in the mid-1800s that was transported to its current location and meticulously renovated to become a private residence.
- (the cemetery was also built on the farmland here).
- The sequence was filmed in Leland, which is east of Greenville on theColumbus and Greenville Railway, which runs east-west across the heart of the state from Greenville to Columbus.
- They are aided in their escape by Wash’s young kid, but they show little appreciation for the youngster, seizing his car in their pursuit to collect Everett’s earnings from a bank heist.
- With the reasonable assumption that Mississippi will not accept Delmer’s repentance, Everett resumes his hunt for Delmer while stopping to pick up itinerant guitarist Tommy Johnson (Chris Thomas King).
- You’re probably thinking about Robert Johnson, who was subsequently credited with the narrative, despite the fact that he and the author are not related at all.
- Built specifically for the film and then deconstructed atValley Park, west of Highway 61, a few miles north of Alligator Lake, the radio station ‘WEZY’ serves as the inadvertent birthplace of the Soggy Bottom Boys before being deconstructed again.
- The oldBank of Yazoo City, which is located on South Main Street at the corner of West Commercial Street in Yazoo City, some 25 miles northwest of Canton, is the location where he makes his dramatic entrance.
- People aren’t entirely sure whence De l’Eau acquired its name – theories range from frustration with the river being “too damn low” to the French “De l’Eau,” which comes from “De l’eau sans potable” – “Not drinkable water,” to a combination of the two.
- Do not be alarmed if you believe you are hearing the alluring siren song — the melodious humming sound is generated by trapped air bubbles in the river as it rushes over the waterfall.
- BothA Time To Kill andA Time To Die My Canine Companion A number of scenes from Skip were shot in this magnificently preserved ancient town, which is home to not one, but twoMovie Museums.
Despite the fact that it appears to be nearby, the ‘Woolworth’ store, where Everett meets Penny (Holly Hunter) but is later barred from, is actually the old Saxton Hardware store, located at 128 South Main Streeton the northwest corner of West Jefferson Street, back in Yazoo City, just a block north of the ‘Itta Bena Bank’ location.
The beautiful plantation mansion has been converted into a guest house.
In 1988, portions for the filmMississippi Burning, directed by Alan Parker, were shot on location.
One sequence that was not filmed in the region was the creepily absurd Ku Klux Klan ceremonial, which was performed in California instead of here. In the words of filmmaker Joel Coen, “I didn’t want to film a Klan demonstration in Mississippi.” And you can’t disagree with the facts on the ground.
Fifteen Years Later, Bluegrass Is Still Reeling from O Brother, Where Art Thou?
At around 5 p.m. Friday, the International Bluegrass Music Association will be well into its fourth convocation in Raleigh, which will be its first in the state’s capital. The streets of downtown will be thronged with locals and visitors from across the world eager to take in as much live bluegrass as they can. Meanwhile, the band hitting the stage at Red Hat Amphitheater will be a work of fiction, according to the press release. To some extent, yes. The Soggy Bottom Boys are, without a doubt, a group of living, breathing, highly skilled individuals who play genuine instruments that they have learned to play themselves.
- The narrative of the film is partially based on Homer’s epic poem The Odyssey, and it takes place in Depression-era Mississippi.
- Music plays an important role in the tale, maybe more so than in any of the other films directed by the Coen brothers.
- When they have their money, they split up and go on the run from the cops once more.
- When Clooney opens his lips to sing, the voice that comes out belongs to Dan Tyminski, who plays the role of Clooney.
- Late Friday afternoon, Barry Bales, Ron Block, Pat Enright, Stuart Duncan, and Mike Compton gathered together once more.
- However, he was asked back for a solo audition.
- “The prospect of my own voice coming out made me feel a little strange.
is a strange and wonderful film to see.
Man of Constant Sorrow was apparently penned by Clooney’s beleaguered Everett, who played the role himself.
T Bone Burnett, a well-known music producer, worked closely with the Coens to choose songs that would match the mood of the picture, which alternated between melancholy and joyful optimism.
“What we discovered when we got in was that they had done an amazing amount of study, listening to all of the recorded music from that era that they could locate,” Tyminski explains.
He recalls stacks of box sets of recordings heaped up in the rehearsal space when he and Union Station went to audition for their respective roles in the play.
It need the type of artists who had spent their entire lives immersed in this stuff to bring the soundtrack to life.
as its musicologist, “He was able to find some of these old-timers who were still alive and still had a great voice as well as tremendous knowledge, such as Ralph Stanley and John Hartford, and bring in young outstanding singers and players who respected and loved this old music.” It was her responsibility to investigate the origins of each song in order to confirm that the picture was in possession of the rights to all of its music.
According to her, “I believe that mixture was the key element that offered both an authenticity and a modern sound that simply couldn’t be surpassed.” Gillian Welch, O Brother’s associate music producer, was one of the younger players that contributed to the soundtrack, singing the songs “I’ll Fly Away” and “Didn’t Leave Nobody But the Baby” on the album.
- She also released her seminal LP, Time (The Revelator), in the same year, so solidifying her position as one of the most prominent contemporary artists in the folk music world.
- Another benefactor was Ralph Stanley, who was a pioneering influence in bluegrass music with his brother Carter as The Stanley Brothers, and was one of the first to benefit from it.
- In June, he passed away at the age of 89.
- Their quarry consisted of CDs of music that had been wrongly labeled as “traditional” in the past.
- When Ethan first handed me the CD, he said, ‘Look, right here it says ‘Traditional.'” Wilbur recalls his first chat with Ethan, who was showing him the CD.
- Wilbur’s thorough investigation found a number of unexpected findings.
- “Big Rock Candy Mountain” required rigorous detangling as well, due to the fact that it existed in hundreds of different versions, each with a different set of lyrics and melodies.
- All of the hard effort paid out in the form of huge results.
- Since its release in 2001, it has sold approximately eight million copies worldwide.
- Ticket sales for bluegrass performances increased, venues grew in size, and a large tour involving all of the performers included on the soundtrack sold out venues throughout the country in a short period of time.
Suddenly, Tyminski adds, “we started seeing more varied audiences, more rock ‘n’ roll T-shirts, and spiked hairpeople from all types of music, which we weren’t used to seeing.” Even now, more than a decade and a half after O Brother’s breakthrough, the contemporary music business is still feeling the effects of his triumph.
- When Welch and partner Dave Rawlings first started out, they jokingly referred to themselves as “the banjo wave,” a prophecy that has come true as folk-inspired music has gotten more attention in recent years, according to the singer.
- “You could hear the change in music, post-O Brother, where people were seeking that stuff out, looking for that way to be as rootsy and real and pure and organic as possible,” Tyminski says of his return to the Top 40 in 2013.
- No one really paid attention to it the way they did with the music.” But how did the house band for a fifteen-year-old movie wind up as the main act at the world’s largest yearly bluegrass festival, the Bluegrass Music Festival?
- He’s also in charge of booking the Red Hat events in the IBMA, which are all bundled together as Wide Open Bluegrass shows.
- “What we do at Wide Open Bluegrass is attempt to sketch out a broad story of bluegrass music, which is both traditional and progressive in the sense that it can be both.
“It’s common for a hit album to be necessary for a band to break through into the public, and this was an extremely significant one.” Lewis recalls that when Tyminski, Bales, and Block all played with Union Station at Wide Open Bluegrass the previous year, organizers believed it was the ideal moment to get The Soggy Bottom Boys back together.
The band’s visit coincides, in spirit, with the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, who will perform as the Red Hat headliner on Friday evening.
The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s sprawling 1972 albumWill the Circle Be Unbroken, like theO Brothersoundtrack, brought legendary traditional performers like Doc Watson, the Carter Family, Earl Scruggs, Merle Travis, and Jimmy Martin back into the national limelight, much like theO Brother soundtrack did.
“These albums were vital in helping the band break into the mainstream, and I believe they serve as a reminder to people about how powerful and significant music can be,” Lewis adds.
In spite of all of the rhetoric about perpetual grief, O Brother, Where Art Thouplace ?’s as a historic high point for bluegrass music is wonderfully unassailably certain. When this item was first published in print, the headline read “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”
Indiana Daily Student
At around 5 p.m. Friday, the International Bluegrass Music Association will be well into its fourth convocation in Raleigh, which will be held in the state’s capital. Downtown will be packed with locals and visitors from across the world eager to suck up as much live bluegrass as they can get their teeth into. During this time period, the band performing at Red Hat Amphitheater will be a work of fiction. In a sense, yes. As it turns out, the Soggy Bottom Boys are a group of living, breathing, highly gifted individuals who play genuine instruments that they have learned to play themselves.
- Taking place in Depression-era Mississippi, the film’s narrative is partially based on Homer’s epic poemThe Odyssey.
- Unlike any of the Coen brothers’ other films, music plays an important role in this one.
- When they get their money, they split up and go on the run, this time from the cops.
- When Clooney opens his lips to sing, the voice that flows out belongs to Dan Tyminski, who plays Clooney’s character.
- Late Friday afternoon, Barry Bales, Ron Block, Pat Enright, Stuart Duncan, and Mike Compton reunited for a second time on stage.
- However, he was summoned back to perform a solo performance.
- It’s important to keep in mind that this was a Coen brothers film, so everything is a little off-kilter and a little odd.” A masterful blend of ancient mythology and the cultural oddities of the rural South results in the strangeness that is O Brother, Where Art Thou?
Man of Constant Sorrow was presumably penned by Clooney’s beleaguered Everett, who played him.
In close collaboration with the Coens, renowned producer T Bone Burnett scoured the world for musical selections that would complement both the film’s somber and hopeful tone.
Upon entering, “we discovered that they had done an incredible amount of study, listening to every recorded song from that era they could find,” Tyminski explains.
Burnett then put together a formidable group of industry experts and executives.
According to Sandy Wilbur, who worked on O Brother, Where Art Thou?
According to her, “I believe that mixture was the key element that brought both an authenticity and a modern sound that couldn’t be surpassed.” Gillian Welch, O Brother’s assistant music producer, was one of the younger players that contributed to the soundtrack, singing the songs “I’ll Fly Away” and “Didn’t Leave Nobody But the Baby.” Also onscreen, she plays a consumer who inquires about the Soggy Bottom Boys’ sold-out song, which she also appears in real life.
- She already had two albums under her belt when the time O Brotherwork was released in February 2001, but the film offered her a big boost in terms of her career.
- Others saw a surprising late-career comeback as a result of the soundtrack’s success.
- “O Death,” which he performs a cappella in a scene where Everett, Delmar, and Pete accidentally stumble upon a Ku Klux Klan gathering, became a mainstay of his live performances from that point on until his death in 2011.
- In spite of the fact that the soundtrack is mostly composed of traditional melodies, the Coen brothers and their collaborators were astonished to discover that several songs they had assumed were in the public domainand so free to be used in the filmwere really modern compositions.
- In Wilbur’s mind, it was impossible to get away with making poor attributions.
- Then I said to myself, ‘What does it matter?’ Because the music played such an essential role in the film’s overall structure, it became imperative for the Coen brothers to obtain permission to use the songs they picked in order to avoid being sued.
For the purpose of determining its creator and ensuring its appropriate usage, she had to navigate various distinct versions of “Man of Constant Sorrow.” There were many of variations of “Big Rock Candy Mountain,” each with a different set of lyrics and melodies, so it took some time to untangle them all.
It was all worth it since the results were significant.
To date, it has sold approximately eight million copies worldwide as of January 2015.
Bluegrass concert ticket sales have increased, venues have grown in size, and a large tour involving all of the performers from the album’s soundtrack has sold out venues around the country.
According to Tyminski, “we began to see more varied audiences, more rock ‘n’ roll T-shirts, spiked hairpeople from all kinds of music, and other things that we weren’t used to noticing.” Even now, more than a decade and a half after O Brother’s breakthrough, the present music business is still feeling the effects of the band.
Welch has stated that she and colleague Dave Rawlings joked at the time that they were at the head of the ” banjo wave,” a prophecy that has come true as folk-inspired music has gained an increasingly bigger share of the spotlight.
Tyminski was back on the Top 40 scene as recently as 2013, when he appeared on Avicii’s decidedly non-bluegrass single “Hey Brother.” “You could hear the shift in music after O Brother, where people were seeking that stuff out, looking for that way to be as rootsy and real and pure and organic as possible,” Tyminski says of the post-O Brother period.
- There was no serious consideration given to it, as there was for the music track.” The question is, how did the house band for a film that was released fifteen years ago land a headline position at the world’s largest yearly bluegrass festival?
- His responsibilities include booking the Red Hat events in IBMA, which are bundled together as Wide Open Bluegrass festivals.
- “Our goal at Wide Open Bluegrass is to create a wide story of bluegrass music, one that is both traditional and innovative in the sense that it can be both.
- This was a very significant release in that regard.” Lewis recalls that when Tyminski, Bales, and Block all played with Union Station at Wide Open Bluegrass the previous year, organizers decided it was the ideal moment to get The Soggy Bottom Boys back together.
- The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band has been commemorating its 50th anniversary throughout 2016, and their appearance on Friday coincides with their appearance on Friday.
- As a crossover album, it continues to be significant in that it spans the gap between venerated old-school figures and a youthful, new generation of listeners.
In a line of letters at the bottom of Will the Circle Be Unbroken’s front cover, it says, “Music creates a new Circle.” In the new millennium, a comedic soundtrack by the Coen brothers may seem like an unlikely link in the chain of American acoustic music, but it has helped to provide a space for old-time traditions.
In spite of all of the discourse of perpetual grief, O Brother, Where Art Thouplace ?’s as a historic high point in bluegrass history is wonderfully unassailably certain. Under the heading “O Brother, Where Have You Gone?” this piece appeared in the print edition.
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