Loosely based on Homer's "Odyssey," the movie deals with the picaresque adventures of Ulysses Everett McGill and his companions Delmar and Pete in 1930s Mississipi. Sprung from a chain gang and trying to reach Everett's home to recover the buried loot of a bank heist they are confronted by a series of strange characters--among them sirens, a cyclops, bank robber George "Baby Face" Nelson (very annoyed by that nickname), a campaigning governor and his opponent, a KKK lynch mob, and a blind prophet who warns the trio that "the treasure you seek shall not be the treasure you find." Written by
Armin Ortmann <firstname.lastname@example.org>
one-eyed Big Dan as the Cyclops (blinded with a burning pole)
the three girls by the river as the Sirens
Ulysses' wife marrying someone else when he comes home
the old-man disguise
the changing of one of Ulysses' companions into an animal
the Baptists as the Lotus-eaters
the Ku Klux Klan has a rank of Grand (or Exalted) Cyclops
they catch a ride on a hand-pumped railway that is being operated by a blind prophet, who tells them that they will not find the treasure they seek. The prophet character in the Odyssey was Teiresias, whom Odysseus consulted in the underworld when he needed information on how to get home again
the movie theater scene as the trip through the Underworld.
Odysseus nearly drowned, but clings to a piece of wood.
Odysseus and Everett both reveal themselves by performing an act no one else could: Odysseus strings a special bow and fires it through seven rings; Everett sings "Man of Constant Sorrow" as only the leader of the Soggy Bottom Boys can.
"Pappy's" given name, Menelaus, is the same as the king who declared war on Troy in the first place.
the Latin equivalent of the Greek name Odysseus is Ulysses.
"Sing in me O Muse...", the line at the beginning of the film, is the first line of the Odyssey.
the killing of the cattle of Helios by the "fools" in the Odyssey is mirrored by Baby Face Nelson shooting the cows.
every time Ulysses falls asleep something bad happens.
the song which plays throughout the movie is called "Man of Constant Sorrow," Odysseus means "man who is in constant pain and sorrow."
a man of constant sorrow is also a description of Odysseus.
Pappy's opposition for Governorship has the first name Homer.
when Ulysses first meets Big Dan in the restaurant there is a statue of Homer in the background.
There is a "Blind Bard" who pays the boys to "sing into his can." Homer was often (and probably erroneously) thought to be a blind bard who told his stories verbally to his students.
Much like the KKK scene, Odysseus and his men hide from the Cyclops by dressing as sheep.
A visual connection to the Odyssey appears during the evening following George Nelson's third bank robbery, when Ulysses is seen sitting on a destroyed Greek column, the bottom of which is still upright besides Ulysses.
During the café scene, Big Dan's lips don't match his words when he's talking about how he sells Bibles. You can see this clearly when the camera faces Everett, just as Big Dan says, "From Genesis on down to the book of Revelation." See more »
Ulysses Everett McGill:
Say, any of you boys smithies? Or, if not smithies per se, were you otherwise trained in the metallurgic arts before straitened circumstances forced you into a life of aimless wanderin'?
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Title Design and Other Cool Stuff Balsmeyer & Everett, Inc. See more »
This was the best film I saw in the year 2000. The Cohen brothers have never let me down before, and they certainly didn't this time either.
It's one of those rare movies these days - it's witty, intelligent and vastly entertaining. I left the cinema with a warmth in my heart. Of course, there's lot of Cohen stuff in there - odd characters and peculiar gadgets, well-developed plot and magic camerawork. But no Cohen film is resembling any other Cohen film, if you overlook the general quality of them, of course.
The big surprise for me was that Clooney is so good. But the true master performance in this movie comes from Tim Blake-Nelson. But the rest of the cast is superb too.
A film that is lightweight comedy with a musical touch that evolve it's story round rednecks and old time country music - dripping with wit and intelligence. Thats a very unlikely combination. But it's exactly what this picture is.
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