Thursday, January 29, 2009
Greatest Movie Opening Sequences: Raising Arizona
They say that, in film, the voice over is a tool of the lazy storyteller. I believe that the opening 12 minutes of the Coen Brothers caper farce Raising Arizona is the exception, and that it may even prove the rule. Watch it and pay close attention to the rhythm of the narration weaving in and out of the bluegrass banjo and whistling, the images and the action, the spoken dialogue delivered at least at 3 different sound levels, even the flashbulbs and sirens. It all combines in a visual and sonic symphony done in half time, just under 100bpm.
And that's not even to mention the words themselves, as delivered by H.I. Listen to some of these tidbits: "at first I did not believe it; that this woman who looked as fert-tile as the Tennessee valley could bear no children. But the doctor explained that her insides were a rocky place were my seed could find no purchase. ... Biology and the prejudices of others conspired to keep us childless. Our love for each other was stronger than ever. But I preminisced no return of the Salad Days."
It's virtuoso film making really.
It is like the guitar intro to the Jimi Hendrix masterpiece, Little Wing. A little bit of genius introducing more genius.