Barton Fink

Barton Fink

4.0 5
Director: Joel Coen

Cast: Joel Coen, John Turturro, John Goodman, Judy Davis

     
 

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
Whether or not one likes the films of Joel and Ethan Coen, die-hard cinema aficionados have to appreciate the craftsmanship that goes into each one. From the script to the cinematography, the Coen films always have something that at least could be classified as interesting. While most of their films can be labeled as successes on these merits, the high point is clearly Barton Fink. The basic story elements and characterizations come together to produce a film that is greater than the sum of its individual parts. John Turturro is the title character, a 1940s socialist playwright brought to Hollywood to work inside the studio system. From the outset, it's obvious that this is going to be a fish-out-of-water story to the nth degree, and as Barton encounters others he reacts with the innocence of a schoolboy. John Goodman is a genial salesman who is Barton's neighbor in the seedy hotel he lives in, and his philosophy of life begins to take hold on Barton until his true colors come out. There is also a separate subplot with John Mahoney as a William Faulkner-inspired novelist and Judy Davis as his suffering secretary/mistress, which very nicely adds another layer to the assault that Hollywood is leveling on Barton's personality. The single best performance is by Michael Lerner as the studio boss who hires Barton to write a wrestling picture. The Coens juxtapose the beauty and sunshine of southern California with the darkness and despair of Barton's hotel room, which is more or less the world he is forced to inhabit when his talents desert him. Even that world is brought down through, let's say, unusual circumstances that serve to cement Barton's complete breakdown. Turturro is perfect in the role, his physical appearance perfectly complementing his personification of the blocked writer. The film overall makes the statement that one success doesn't necessarily translate into a career, which is a lesson that Barton learns the hard way. Dan Friedman
All Movie Guide - Dan Friedman
Whether or not one likes the films of Joel and Ethan Coen, die-hard cinema aficionados have to appreciate the craftsmanship that goes into each one. From the script to the cinematography, the Coen films always have something that at least could be classified as interesting. While most of their films can be labeled as successes on these merits, the high point is clearly Barton Fink. The basic story elements and characterizations come together to produce a film that is greater than the sum of its individual parts. John Turturro is the title character, a 1940s socialist playwright brought to Hollywood to work inside the studio system. From the outset, it's obvious that this is going to be a fish-out-of-water story to the nth degree, and as Barton encounters others he reacts with the innocence of a schoolboy. John Goodman is a genial salesman who is Barton's neighbor in the seedy hotel he lives in, and his philosophy of life begins to take hold on Barton until his true colors come out. There is also a separate subplot with John Mahoney as a William Faulkner-inspired novelist and Judy Davis as his suffering secretary/mistress, which very nicely adds another layer to the assault that Hollywood is leveling on Barton's personality. The single best performance is by Michael Lerner as the studio boss who hires Barton to write a wrestling picture. The Coens juxtapose the beauty and sunshine of southern California with the darkness and despair of Barton's hotel room, which is more or less the world he is forced to inhabit when his talents desert him. Even that world is brought down through, let's say, unusual circumstances that serve to cement Barton's complete breakdown. Turturro is perfect in the role, his physical appearance perfectly complementing his personification of the blocked writer. The film overall makes the statement that one success doesn't necessarily translate into a career, which is a lesson that Barton learns the hard way.

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Product Details

Release Date:
08/18/1993
UPC:
0086162190537
Original Release:
1991
Rating:
R
Source:
20th Century Fox

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
John Turturro Barton Fink
John Goodman Charlie Meadows
Judy Davis Audrey Taylor
Michael Lerner Jack Lipnick
John Mahoney W.P. Mayhew
Tony Shalhoub Ben Geisler
Jon Polito Lou Breeze
Steve Buscemi Chet
David Warrilow Garland Stanford
Richard Portnow Detective Mastrionotti
Christopher Murney Detective Deutsch
Donna Isaacson Actor
John Lyons Actor
I.M. Hobson Derek
Lance Davis Richard St. Clair
Harry Bugin Pete
Anthony Gordon Maitre d'
Jack Denbo Stagehand
Max Grodenchik Clapper Boy
Robert Beecher Referee
Darwyn Swalve Wrestler
Gayle Vance Geisler's Secretary
Johnny Judkins Sailor
Jana Marie Hupp USO Girl
Isabelle Townsend Beauty
William Preston Robertson Voice Only
Meagen Fay Pippy Carnahan

Technical Credits
Joel Coen Director,Screenwriter
Ben Barenholtz Producer
Michael Berenbaum Editor
Jean A. Black Makeup
Carter Burwell Score Composer
Joe Camp Asst. Director
Ethan Coen Producer,Screenwriter
Roger Deakins Cinematographer
Bill Durkin Producer
Richard Fernandez Set Decoration/Design
Dennis Gassner Production Designer
Robert C. Goldstein Art Director
Nancy Haigh Set Decoration/Design
Richard Hornung Costumes/Costume Designer
Roderick Jaynes Editor
Alma Kuttruff Production Manager
Jacqui Landrum Choreography
Bill Landrum Choreography
Rick Lazzarini Makeup
Leslie McDonald Art Director
Jim Pedas Producer
Ted Pedas Producer
Graham Place Co-producer

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