The film is loosely based on the story of Homer`s ``Odyssey``cite web|last=Lafrance|first=J.D.| title=The Coen Brothers FAQ|date=2004-04-05|url=http://www.youknow-forkids.com/coenbrothersfaq.pdf|accessdate=2007-11-08| pages=p33-35 and the 1989 novella ``A Dozen Tough Jobs`` by Howard Waldrop, which sets the labors of Hercules in July 1937 in Mississippi.cite web|last=Long|first=Roger J|title="O Brother, Where Art Thou?" entry page|date=2006-04-09|url=http://home1.gte.net/longrj2/fluff/o_brother.html|accessdate=2007-11-09
By its very title, the film displays a sly reference to another type of mythmaking: filmmaking, specifically the 1941 satire ``Sullivan`s Travels`` by Preston Sturges, in which the title character sets out to make a socially conscious documentary to be called ``O Brother, Where Art Thou?`` The character Sullivan, a film director, declares that he wants to make "a commentary on modern conditions, stark realism, the problems that confront the average man"-an initially overblown goal, but his movie does get made. Similarly, the Coen brothers` movie also has the tone and imagery of Depression-era realism, and it too is undermined through a satirical point of view.
The film stars George Clooney, John Turturro, Tim Blake Nelson, John Goodman, Holly Hunter, and Charles Durning. The American roots soundtrack won a Grammy for Album of the Year in 2001.cite web|title=2001 Grammy Awards - Infoplease.com|work=2001 Grammy Award Winners|publisher= Infoplease.com|date=2001-02-27|url=http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0886880.html|accessdate=2007-11-08
Plot``O Brother, Where Art Thou?`` tells the story of a trio of escaped convicts. Ulysses Everett McGill (George Clooney), known as Everett, Pete Hogwallop (John Turturro) and Delmar O`Donnel (Tim Blake Nelson) escape from a chain gang and set out to retrieve the $1.2 million in treasure that Everett claims to have stolen and buried before his incarceration.
The group sets out for the treasure again, and when they pass a congregation on the banks of a river, Pete and Delmar are enticed by the idea of baptism. As the journey continues, they travel briefly with a young guitarist (real-life blues musician Chris Thomas King). He introduces himself as Tommy Johnson and, when asked, reveals that he sold his soul to the devil in exchange for being able to play guitar. Tommy describes the devil as being ``
The four of them record "Man of Constant Sorrow" at a radio broadcast station, calling themselves the Soggy Bottom Boys. While they initially record the song for some easy money, it later becomes famous around the state. The trio parts ways with Tommy after their car is discovered by police, and they continue their adventures on their own. Among the many encounters they have, the most notable are a car trip and bank robbery with one George Nelson (who hates being called Baby Face Nelson), a run-in with three sirens who seduce the group and lull them to sleep (using a similar technique to those in the Odysseycite web|author=Homer| authorlink=Homer|title=The Internet Classics Archive - The Odyssey by Homer|work=The Odyssey, Book XII|date=c. 800 B.C.|url= http://classics.mit.edu/Homer/odyssey.12.xii.html|accessdate=2007-11-08) before turning Pete in for the bounty and a mugging by a cyclopean Bible salesman named Big Dan. After all this, Everett and Delmar arrive in Everett`s home town only to find that his wife, Penny, is engaged to Vernon T. Waldrip, and refuses to take Everett back. When in a cinema, they discover that Pete is still alive, and when they later rescue him he tells them that he gave up the location of the treasure. Everett reveals that there was never any treasure. He only mentioned it to persuade the other men (to whom he was chained) to escape so he could reconcile with his estranged wife. Pete is outraged at this news, not least because he only had 12 days of his sentence left to serve when he escaped. Instead, he has now been given a sentence which will keep him behind bars until 1987. Although he`s escaped a second time, he`ll be forced to live as a fugitive for the rest of his life - with no treasure to compensate for it. Pete is so angry with Everett that the two men get into a fight.
During the scuffle they stumble upon a Ku Klux Klan lynch mob that is about to hang Tommy. They disguise themselves and attempt a rescue. Big Dan, a Klansman, reveals their identities and chaos ensues. The `Grand Wizard` reveals himself as Homer Stokes, a candidate in the upcoming election. The trio flees the scene with Tommy and they cut the supports of a large burning cross, which falls on a group of Klansmen, including Big Dan.
Everett convinces Pete, Delmar, and Tommy to help him win his wife back. They sneak into a dinner that she is attending, disguised as musicians. Everett tries to convince his wife that he is `bona fide`, but she brushes him off. The group begins a performance of "Man of Constant Sorrow." The crowd recognizes them as the Soggy Bottom Boys and goes wild. Homer Stokes, on the other hand, recognizes them as the group who disgraced his mob. He shouts for the music to stop, angering the crowd. After he reveals his white supremacist views, the crowd runs him out of town on a rail. Pappy O`Daniel, the incumbent candidate, seizes the opportunity and endorses the Soggy Bottom Boys. He then asks the men if it is trouble with the law that inspires their music, and when Everett answers yes, Pappy awards them all full pardons, while the entire event is being recorded and played on the radio. Penny accepts Everett back, but she demands that he find her original ring if they are to be married. This series of events is similar to the return of Odysseus to Ithaca and his task of winning his wife Penelope from her suitors.cite web|author=Homer|authorlink=Homer|title=The Internet Classics Archive - The Odyssey by Homer|work=The Odyssey, Book I|date=c. 800 B.C.|url=http://classics.mit.edu/Homer/odyssey.1.i.html|accessdate=2007-11-08
The group sets out to retrieve the ring, which is at a cabin in the valley that Everett originally claimed to have hidden the treasure in. When they arrive the police order their arrest and hanging. Everett protests that they had been pardoned on the radio, but the leader of the police force tells them that it is of no consequence. He claims that whether or not they`ve been pardoned, their actions are now above the law, which is a human creation. Suddenly, the valley is flooded and they are saved from hanging. Tommy finds the ring in a desk that is floating on the new lake, and they return to town. However, when Everett presents the ring to his wife she tells him it`s the wrong one, and demands that he get her ring back. The film closes with a shot of the blind prophet the trio met at the beginning of the film, still on the railway handcar.
- George Clooney as Ulysses Everett McGill. A dapper, fast-talking man, Everett was imprisoned for practicing law without a license. He escapes from prison so that he can stop his wife from marrying another man and preventing him from seeing his children. Ulysses is the Latin language form of the name of Odysseus,cite web|title=Ulysses - Definitions from Dictionary.com|work=Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1)|publisher=Lexico Publishing Group|date=2007|url= http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/Ulysses|format=Dictionary|accessdate=2007-11-08 the hero of Homer`s ``Odyssey``.
- Tim Blake Nelson as Delmar O`Donnell. Delmar is good-natured but simple-minded. He was imprisoned for robbing a Piggly Wiggly supermarket in Yazoo City; he claims at first that he is innocent, but later admits to the crime. Delmar says that he will spend his share of Everett`s non-existent $1.2 million buying back his family farm, believing that "you ain`t no kind of man if you ain`t got land."
- John Turturro as Pete Hogwallop. A crude, brutish criminal, Pete reveals little about his past. He believes in being true to your "kin", even when his cousin Wash betrays the group. He dreams of moving out west and opening a fine restaurant, where he will be the maitre d`.
- John Goodman as Daniel `Big Dan` Teague. Big Dan is one of the main enemies of the trio in the film. Masquerading as a Bible salesman, he cons Everett, then robs him. Later, he reveals the true identity of the trio when they are in disguise at a Ku Klux Klan rally. Big Dan has one eye, just as Polyphemus the Cyclops does in the Odyssey. It has been suggested that the character is based on the itinerant bible salesman who exploits a naive woman in the short story ``Good Country People`` by Flannery O`Connor.cite web|last=Schaap|first=David|title=Review: O Brother, Where Art Thou?|work=Nothing More, and Nothing Less|publisher=Mars Hill Review|url= http://www.marshillreview.com/reviews/brother.shtm|accessdate=2007-11-08
- Holly Hunter as Penny McGill ``ní©e`` Wharvey. A demanding woman, Penny Wharvey is fed up with Everett`s previous behavior and divorces him while he is in prison, telling their children that he was hit by a train. She is engaged to Vernon T. Waldrip until Everett wins her back. Her name is believed to be taken from Odyseus`s wife, Penelope.
- Charles Durning as Governor Menelaus "Pappy" O`Daniel. Pappy O`Daniel is the incumbent Governor of Mississippi. He is frequently seen berating his son and his campaign managers, who are depicted as simpletons. Pappy O`Daniel`s first name, Menelaus, is the name of the king of Sparta who fought alongside Odysseus in the Trojan War.
- Chris Thomas King as Tommy Johnson. Tommy Johnson is a very skilled blues musician. He is the accompanying guitarist in the band that Everett unwittingly forms, the Soggy Bottom Boys. He claims that he sold his soul to the devil in exchange for his skill on guitar. He seems to be based on the actual blues guitarist of the same name.
- Daniel von Bargen as Sheriff Cooley. The sheriff pursues the trio for the duration of the film. He eventually captures them after they have been pardoned on the radio; he proposes to hang them regardless of this. He fits Tommy Johnson`s description of the devil in that his sunglasses look like "big empty eyes" and he travels with a bloodhound. He further indicates his otherwordliness when, advised that it would be illegal to hang the pardoned fugitives, he sneeringly opines that "the law is a human institution."
- Wayne Duvall as Homer Stokes. Homer Stokes is the reform candidate in the upcoming election for the position of Governor of Mississippi. His travels the countryside with a midget mascot, who depicts the "little man," and with a broom, with which he promises to "sweep this state clean." He is also the Grand Wizard in the Ku Klux Klan.
- Ray McKinnon as Vernon T. Waldrip. Vernon T. Waldrip is Penny Wharvey`s `bona fide` suitor. He is a weaselly campaign manager, working for Homer Stokes in his campaign against Pappy O`Daniel. It has been suggested that the character`s name is a subtle nod to novelist Howard Waldrop whose novella ``A Dozen Tough Jobs`` is one of the inspirations behind the film.cite web|last=Datlow|first=Ellen|coauthors=Howard Waldrop|title=Howard Waldrop Interviewed|work=Readercon 15|date=2003|url=http://fanac.org/Other_Cons/ReaderCon/r15-rpt.html|accessdate=2007-11-09
- Michael Badalucco as George Nelson. He dislikes being called Baby Face Nelson (Who was a real-life bank robber in the 1930s.) His character is depicted as being manic-depressive.
- Stephen Root as Radio Station Man. He is the blind radio station manager that originally records the Soggy Bottom Boys` hit, "Man of Constant Sorrow".
- Lee Weaver as the Blind Seer. An important character in the film, the Blind Seer accurately predicts the outcome of the trio`s adventure, as well as several other happenings. In the Odyssey, a similar role in the story is played by the shade of Tiresias.cite web|last=Skidmore|first=Joel|title=The Odyssey - Book Ten - Detailed Version|work= Odysseus-Based on the Odyssey, Homer`s epic from Greek mythology.|publisher=Mythweb|date=1997|url= http://www.mythweb.com/odyssey/book10.html#notes4back|accessdate=2007-11-08
Güney Politikalarıana konusu, eski zaman müziği ile Amerika Birleşik Devletleri-Güney Eyaletlerinde yürütülen politik kampanya arasındaki bağlantıdır. Gelenekler, kurumlar ve yirminci yüzyılın ilk yarısında, Güney politikası tarafından tanımlanmış olan biçimlendirme ve reform hareketi (politik reform)ne ait kampanya çalışmalarına işaret etmektedir.
Beyazın politik bir güce sahip olduğu dönemde, Ku Klux Klan, haçları yakarken ve törensel dans yaparken gösterilmektedir. --Seyyare 08:59, 5 Nisan 2008 (UTC) The character of Menelaus "Pappy" O`Daniel, the Governor of Mississippi and host of the radio show `The Flour Hour`, is similar in name and demeanor to W. Lee "Pappy" O`Daniel,cite book|last=Crawford| first=Bill|authorlink=Bill Crawford (cartoonist)|title=Please Pass the Biscuits, Pappy: Pictures of Governor W. Lee "Pappy" O`Daniel|publisher=University of Texas Press|date=2004|page=19|isbn=978-0-292-70575-3 one-time Governor of Texas and later U.S. Senator from that state.cite web|title=Pappy O`Daniel|work=Texas Treasures| publisher=Texas State Library|date=2003-03-11|url=http://www.tsl.state.tx.us/treasures/characters/pappy.html|accessdate= 2007-11-02 W. Lee O`Daniel was in the flour business, and used a backing band called the Light Crust Doughboys on his radio show.cite web|last=Walker|first=Jesse|title=Reason Magazine - Pass the Biscuits|work=Pass the Biscuits - We`re living in Pappy O`Daniel`s world|publisher=Reason Magazine|date=2003-08-19|url= http://www.reason.com/news/show/33735.html|accessdate=2007-11-02 In one campaign, W. Lee O`Daniel carried a broom,fact|date=November 2007 an oft used campaign device in the reform era, promising to sweep away patronage and corruption.cite web|last=Boulard|first=Garry|title=Gambit Weekly - Following the Leaders|work=Following the Leaders |publisher=Gambit Communications Ltd|date=2002-02-05|url=http://www.bestofneworleans.com/dispatch/2002-02-05/news_feat.html| accessdate=2007-11-09|pages=1 His theme song had the hook, "Please pass the biscuits, Pappy", emphasizing his connection with flour. In a scene reminiscent of the film, during his 2003 campaign to win the Governorship of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger held up a broom and promised to sweep insiders and special-interest manipulators out of office.cite web|last=Nichols|first=John|title=Arnold Could Frustrate Dems, GOP| work=Arnold Could Frustrate Dems, GOP|publisher=Madison Capital Times|date=2003-10-09|url= http://www.commondreams.org/scriptfiles/views03/1009-05.htm|accessdate=2007-11-08
While the film borrows from real-life politics, there are obvious differences between the characters in the film and historical political figures. The O`Daniel of the movie used "You Are My Sunshine" as his theme song (which was originally recorded by real-life Governor of Louisiana, Jimmie Daviscite web|title=River of Song: The Artists |work=Louisiana - Where Music Is King|publisher=The Filmmakers Collaborative & The Smithsonian Institution|date=1998| url=http://www.pbs.org/riverofsong/artists/e4-jimmie.html|accessdate=2007-11-02) and Homer Stokes, as the challenger to the incumbent O`Daniel, portrays himself as the "reform candidate", using a broom as a prop.
MusicMuch of the music used in the film is folk music from the period the film is set in or earlier, cite web|last=Menaker|first=Daniel|title=A Film Score Odyssey Down A Quirky Country Road|publisher=The New York Times|date= 2000-11-30|url=http://obrothersoundtrack.com/reviews/review1.htm|accessdate=2007-11-08 including that of Virginia folk/bluegrass singer Ralph Stanley.cite web|title=NPR: Pioneering Bluegrass Musician Ralph Stanley |publisher=National Public Radio|url=http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=892951|accessdate=2007-11-02 The music selection is drawn from spiritual music of this regionfact|date=November 2007 (including that of the Primitive Baptist Church) and other popular religious music. There is a notable use of dirges and other macabre songs, a theme which often recurs in Appalachian musiccite web| last=McClatchy|first=Debbie|title=A Short History of Appalachian Traditional Music|work=Appalachian Traditional Music - A Short History|date=2000-06-27|url=http://www.mustrad.org.uk/articles/appalach.htm|accessdate=2007-11-08 ("Oh Death", "Lonesome Valley", "Angel Band") in contrast to bright or corrective songs ("Keep On the Sunnyside", "You Are My Sunshine") in other parts of the movie.
The lead guitarist character of the Soggy Bottom Boys is an intended reference to the Delta Blues artist Tommy Johnson, who is known to have claimed that he sold his soul to the devil in return for being able to play the guitar.cite web|title=The Mudcat`s Robert Johnson Room|publisher=The Mudcat Cafe|url= http://www.mudcat.org/rj.cfm|accessdate=2007-11-08 To many viewers, Robert Johnson would be a more familiar name, and a similar soul-selling story has been attached to him (though not promulgated by himself), but T-Bone Burnett has explained that the character was not meant to represent Robert Johnson.
Soggy Bottom BoysSee also|O Brother, Where Art Thou? (soundtrack)|Down from the Mountain ] The Soggy Bottom Boys are the fictitious Depression-era `old-timey music` quartet and accompaniment from the movie ``O Brother, Where Art Thou?``. The name Soggy Bottom Boys is possibly a reference to the famous Foggy Mountain Boys bluegrass band of the 1940s with Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggscite book|last=Temple Kirby|first=Jack|authorlink=Jack Temple Kirby|title=Mockingbird Song: Ecological Landscapes of the South|publisher=UNC Press|date=2006|page=314|isbn=978-0-8078-3057-4 but also a humorous name given the two backup singers who were wet from being baptized earlier in the film. The Soggy Bottom Boys` hit single is Dick Burnett`s "Man of Constant Sorrow", a song which had already enjoyed much success in real life.cite web|title=Man Of Constant Sorrow (trad./The Stanley Brothers/Bob Dylan)|work=Man Of Constant Sorrow|url=http://www.bobdylanroots.com/sorrow.html|accessdate=2007-11-02
After the film`s release, the fictional band became so popular that the actual talents behind the music (who were dubbed into the movie) Ralph Stanley, John Hartford, Alison Krauss, Emmylou Harris, Gillian Welch, Dan Tyminski and others, performed music from ``O Brother, Where Art Thou?`` in a Down from the Mountain concert tour and film.cite web|url=http://youtube.com/watch?v=p8LCYS_85Dk|title= Video of the performance|accessdate=2007-11-02
The voices behind the Soggy Bottom Boys are well-known bluegrass musicians: Union Station`s Dan Tyminski (lead on "Man of Constant Sorrow"), Nashville songwriter Harley Allen, and the Nashville Bluegrass Band`s Pat Enrightcite web|url=http://www.bmi.com/news/entry/233045|title=Soggy Bottom Boys Hit the Top at 35th CMA Awards|accessdate=2007-11-08 The three won a CMA Award for Single of the Year and a Grammy Award for Best Country Collaboration with Vocals, both for the song "Man of Constant Sorrow." Tim Blake Nelson, playing Delmar O`Donnell in the movie (one of the Soggy Bottom Boys) sang the lead vocal himself for the song "In the Jailhouse Now."
"Man of Constant Sorrow" has five variations: two are used in the movie, one in the music video and two in the soundtrack. Two of the variations feature the verses being sung back-to-back, and the other three variations feature additional music between each verse. Despite its subsequent success "Man of Constant Sorrow" received little significant radio airplay,cite web|url= http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/music/1845962.stm|title=O Brother, why art thou so popular|accessdate=2007-11-08|pages =1 and only charted at #35 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks charts in 2002.cite web|url=http://www.billboard.com/bbcom/esearch/chart_display.jsp?cfi=357&cfgn=Singles&cfn=Hot+Country+Songs&ci=3045248&cdi=7847789&cid=04%2F27%2F2002|title=Top Music Charts-Hot 100-Billboard 200-Music Genre Sales|accessdate=2007-11-02|pages=1
In 2003, the band Skeewiff remixed "Man of Constant Sorrow."cite web|url= http://www.boingboing.net/2004/04/08/electronic-man-of-co.html|title=Electronic Man of Constant Sorrow|accessdate=2007-11-08| pages=1 The song was so popular in Australia that it featured at number 96 on the Triple J Hottest 100 in 2003.cite web|url=http://www.abc.net.au/triplej/hottest100/2003-4/history/2003.htm|title=Hottest 100 - History - 2003|accessdate=2007-11-02|pages=1
The scene in which the Soggy Bottom Boys receive a full pardon from the governor seems to be loosely based on true events involving the convicted musical group The Prisonaires.fact|date=November 2007 They recorded their hit, "Just Walkin` in the Rain", in Sun Studios chained together and under the watchful eye of an armed guard.cite book|last=Larkin|first=Colin|authorlink=Colin Larkin (author)|title=The Encyclopedia of Popular Music|publisher=Grove`s Dictionaries|date=1998|pages=6653|isbn=1561592374cite web|url=http://www.oldies.com/artist-biography/The-Prisonaires.html|title=The Prisonaires Biography : OLDIES.com|accessdate=2007-11-02|pages=1
Similarities between the film and the OdysseyThe similarities between ``O Brother, Where Art Thou?`` and Homer`s Odyssey are numerous, ranging from the obvious to the obscure. While the Coens did not originally intend to base the film on Homer`s epic, Joel Coen has been quoted as saying: cquote|It just sort of occurred to us after we`d gotten into it somewhat that it was a story about someone going home, and sort of episodic in nature and it kind of evolved into that. It`s very loosely and very sort of unseriously based on ``The Odyssey``. While the overall plot is only vaguely similar to that of the Odyssey, there are certain "episodes" which closely mirror the film`s classical influence.
ReferencesThe only direct reference is the line of text shown at the beginning of the film, "O Muse! Sing in me, and through me tell the story...", which is one translation of the first line of the Odyssey. In addition to this, there are a few characters in the film that share names with similar characters in the Odyssey:
- Ulysses, the Latin form of the Greek name Odysseus, is the first name of the film`s protagonist, Ulysses Everett McGill.
- Menelaus `Pappy` O`Daniel, who pardons the Soggy Bottom Boys at the end of the film, shares his first name with the King of Sparta who fought alongside Odysseus at Troy.
- Pappy O`Daniel`s challenger in the election is Homer Stokes, who shares his first name with the author of the classical text.
- Odysseus` wife was named Penelope. Penny, a shortened version of Penelope, is the name of Everett`s wife.
- The soundtrack song of the Soggy Bottom Boys is named `Man of Constant Sorrow.` Homer described Odysseus through epithets as the man of many sorrows.
References to Homer
- When we see Pappy O`Daniel discussing the upcoming campaign in the restaurant, over his shoulder we can see a bust of Homer.
Many other characters are related without literal translation. The Sirens (washing women) that seduce the Heros are the Sirens that attempt to seduce Odysseus and his crew. Vernon symbolizes the suitors waiting to marry Penelope. The Blind Seer (railroad hobo) is Tiresius, the blind ghost prophet. There are many other character relations.
Parallels between Odysseus and EverettOdysseus is an expert dissembler and loquacious talker, as is Everett. Everett uses his cleverness to escape situations, similar to Odysseus. Odysseus frequently suffers misfortune when he falls asleep on his journeys, as does Everett.
Parallels between Penelope and Penny
- Odysseus tested Penelope`s faith by first appearing before her in disguise, and Penelope does not recognize him, until he later reveals himself. Everett appears in disguise on stage when they sing "Man of Constant Sorrow." Penny likewise does not recognize him until he reveals himself to her. Also, suitors come to try to marry Penelope and a "suitor" comes to try and marry Penny.
Parallels with monsters and others met by Odysseus
- Big Dan Teague (with an eye patch) corresponds to Polyphemus the Cyclops. In the Odyssey, the cyclops falls asleep and has his eye put out by Odysseus and his crew with a sharpened smoldering log. In the film, Big Dan is almost blinded by the sharpened stake of the Confederate flag but catches it, only to be crushed underneath the flaming cross that Everett cuts loose. It appears that falling burning cross then drives the pointed stake into Teague`s only good eye, thus completing the parallel to the Cyclops.
- Sirens lure Odysseus and his men with their singing. In the film, they do the same, and hypnotize Everett, Delmar and Pete, and compel them to drink corn liquor until they pass out. These women also correspond to Nausicaa, a young princess to whom Odysseus makes love after encountering her as she does her laundry at the shore; the women in O Brother are doing laundry in the stream. They also correspond to the witch Circe, who turned some of Odysseus`s men into animals; Delmar thinks the women are witches who have turned Pete into a toad after he sees a toad emerge from Pete`s abandoned clothes.
- The blind radio station owner who records "Man of Constant Sorrow" corresponds to Aeolus.
- George Nelson, the manic-depressive bank robber, corresponds to the shape-changing Proteus.
Parallels with the journey of Odysseus
- The black man on the railroad handcar may be a parallel to Nestor, oldest of the Trojan War heroes, who is consulted by Odysseus` son Telemachus. He is repeatedly and formally described by Homer as the `Gerenian charioteer`: the railroad handcar may represent Nestor`s chariot. As another parallel Homer himself was according to tradition blind and bearded. However, it is more likely an allusion to Tiresias, who prophesied the trials and tribulations of Odysseus` route home when Odysseus visited him in the underworld.
- The merciless sheriff is perhaps analogous to Hades and his hound echoes Cerberus. A link between Satan and Poseidon may be being made when Everett mentions that Satan carries "a giant hay fork" (a trident); both figures are often depicted with just such an instrument.
- The travelers` siege in the Hogwallop barn parallels Odysseus`s dangerous course between Scylla and Charybdis when Everett helplessly cries "Damn! We`re in a tight spot!" several times.
- There is a trance-like progression of worshippers seeking to be baptised. Their glassy eyed placidity draws a parallel with the Lotus-Eaters of the Odyssey.
- At one point George Nelson shoots at a herd of cattle. Odysseus and his fellow travelers slaughter the cows of the sun god Helios. Odysseus warns his men against killing the sacred oxen. Delmar warns Nelson, "Oh, George, not the livestock!" In addition to this, in the Odyssey, Odysseus` ship is struck by a thunderbolt - killing all but him. In the film, George is sent to be executed in the electric chair. During the parade to the execution, someone leading a cow behind the mob yells, "Cow killer!!!"
- When the guys sneak into the city hall towards the end of the movie, they disguise themselves by wearing beards. This could reference how Odysseus sneaks into his hometown dressed as a beggar with long hair and a beard.
Parallels with the underworld
- The scene in the theater, when Pete tries to warn Everett and Delmar, parallels Odysseus` descent into the underworld, Hades. Delmar, believing that Pete had died, mistakes him (and thus also the other people in the theater) for a ghost. In this scene Pete parallels Tiresias in the underworld.
- Following Everett`s beating by Waldrip, Everett warns Delmar of the treachery of women. This is much like how Agamemnon, who had been betrayed by his wife and killed by her new husband, warns Odysseus not to trust women.
- The dialogue in a scene between Everett and his daughters also gives a nod to its ancient influence. Using Latin terms, one of the girls says that Waldrip is ``bona fide``, and Everett responds that he is the ``pater familias``. The girls also use the word "suitor" at least twice.
- In the scene where the trio and George Nelson are sitting around the fire after the robbery at Itta Bena, there are Greek columns in the background.
- Everett also comes back to stop the marriage and fight Vernon, much as Odysseus comes back to kill the suitors. Everett, however, is badly beaten by Vernon.
Other allusionsThe title of the film is a reference to the 1941 Preston Sturges film, ``Sullivan`s Travels``, in which the protagonist (a director) wants to direct a film about the Great Depression called ``O Brother, Where Art Thou?`` that will be a "commentary on modern conditions, stark realism, the problems that confront the average man." Lacking any experience in this area, the director sets out on a journey to experience the human suffering of the average man but is sabotaged by his anxious studio. The film has some similarity in tone to Sturges` film, including scenes with prison gangs and a black church choir.cite web|url=http://www.filmsite.org/sull.html|title=Sullivan`s Travels (1941)| accessdate=2007-11-08
The scene in which Everett, Pete and Delmar have to infiltrate a Ku Klux Klan rally to save Tommy is strongly reminiscent of the scene in ``The Wizard of Oz`` in which the Tin Woodman, the Cowardly Lion and the Scarecrow arrive at the Wicked Witch of the West`s castle and have to infiltrate the Winkie Army in order to enter the castle and save Dorothy. The KKK members march in the same formation as the Winkies and chant the same "oh-we-oh" battle chant, while Everett, Pete and Delmar infiltrate the group by luring three members out of the formation, knocking them out and donning their hoods.
Look of the filmOne of the notable features of the film is its use of digital color correction to give the film a sepia tinted look.cite web|last=Robertson|first=Barbara|title=CGSociety - The Colorists|work=The Colorists|publisher=The CGSociety| date=2006-05-01|url=http://features.cgsociety.org/story_custom.php?story_id=3549|accessdate=2007-10-24| pages=3 cquote|Ethan and Joel favored a dry, dusty Delta look with golden sunsets. They wanted it to look like an old, hand-tinted picture with the intensity of colors dictated by the scene, and natural skin tones that were all shades of the rainbow.|30px|30px|cinematographer Roger Deakins|cite web|url= http://www.cameraguild.com/technology/digital_history.htm|title=Digital Domain|work=The Digital Domain: A brief history of digital film mastering - a glance at the future|accessdate=2007-05-14|last=Allen|first=Robert
This was the fifth film on which the Coen Brothers had worked that was slated to be shot in Mississippi at a time of year when the foliage, grass, trees and bushes would be lush green. After shooting tests, including film by-pack and bleach bypass techniques, Deakins suggested digital mastering be used. The cinematographer subsequently spent eight weeks fine tuning the look, mainly de-saturating green and timing the digital files. This made it the first feature film to be entirely color corrected by digital means, narrowly beating Nick Park`s Chicken Run.
Deakins was recognized with both Oscar and ASC Outstanding Achievement Award nominations for his work on the film.
References in popular culture
- One episode of the Cartoon Network TV show Baby Looney Tunes is named, "O Brother, Warehouse Art Thou?"
- One episode of the sitcom Scrubs is named, "My Brother, Where Art Thou?"
- Southern Rapper Bubba Sparxxx released his music video for ``Deliverance`` which mimics the movie throughout its major plot arcs, including the escape and the encounter with sirens.
- imdb title|id=0190590|title=O Brother, Where Art Thou?
- Coenesque: The Films of the Coen Brothers
- You Know, For Kids! O Brother, Where Art Thou? page
- rotten-tomatoes|id=o_brother_where_art_thou|title=O Brother, Where Art Thou?
- mojo title|id=obrotherwhereartthou|title=O Brother, Where Art Thou?
- ``O Brother, Where Art Thou?`` at Video.com
- Summary of ``The Odyssey``, book by book, at mythweb.com
- Summary of ``The Odyssey`` at bookrags.com
- Official website for the soundtrack
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