THEY TOOK HIM FOR A FALL GUY… BUT HE THREW THEM FOR A HOOP.
In 1958, after the spectacular suicide of a Wall Street tycoon, a mailroom clerk (Tim Robbins) is hired as the new president of the company; there’s a sinister plan behind the appointment. The Coen brothers’ most ambitious film at the time was a flop, but stands the test of time. Along with Sam Raimi, the brothers were inspired by Preston Sturges and various 1950s movies, but it’s definitely a Coen experience. Gorgeously designed, funny satire with fantastical ingredients. Robbins and Paul Newman are ideal as the young innocent and the old pro with a devious plan; Jennifer Jason Leigh is also fun as a Katherine Hepburn-type reporter.
1994-U.S. 111 min. Color. Produced by Ethan Coen. Directed by Joel Coen. Screenplay: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen, Sam Raimi. Cinematography: Roger Deakins. Music: Carter Burwell. Production Design: Dennis Gassner. Cast: Tim Robbins (Norville Barnes), Jennifer Jason Leigh (Amy Archer), Paul Newman (Sidney J. Mussburger), Charles Durning, John Mahoney, Jim True… Bruce Campbell, Peter Gallagher, Steve Buscemi, Anna Nicole Smith, John Goodman.
Trivia: Clint Eastwood was reportedly offered the part of Mussburger. Later a stage play.
Last word: “I didn’t want it to sound artificial ‘cause it’s such a bizarre way of speaking, that Standard American. People just don’t do it anymore. But it was much harder to stand straight. The actresses during that period always had beautiful posture. They took elocution lessons, took posture classes, it was a completely different time. So standing up straight was something I had to learn how to do, it wasn’t in my repertoire. I learned how to type, too…“ (Leigh, Los Angeles Times)