Blood Simple


1h 35m 1984
Blood Simple

Brief Synopsis

A Texas bar owner hires a private eye to kill his cheating wife and her boyfriend.

Film Details

MPAA Rating
Genre
Drama
Crime
Thriller
Film Noir
Release Date
1984
Distribution Company
Circle Releasing Corporation/USA Films; USA FilmsCircle Releasing Corporation
Location
Austin, Texas, USA; Hutto, Texas, USA

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 35m

Synopsis

A classic modern noir on Blu-ray, Joel and Ethan Coen's debut feature "Blood Simple" (1984) tells the story of the owner of a seedy small-town Texas bar who discovers that one of his employees is having an affair with his wife. A chaotic chain of misunderstandings, lies and mischief ensues after he devises a plot to have them murdered. Dan Hedaya, Frances McDormand, John Getz and M. Emmett Walsh star in the low-budget masterpiece that is a must-see.

Crew

Jeff Adams

Art Assistant

Audrey Allison

Song

Joe Allison

Song

Daniel F Bacaner

Executive Producer

Kathy Baker

Art Assistant

Murri Barber

Song

Murri Barber

Music Coordinator

Shirley Belwood

Property Master

Richard Berry

Song

Ivan Bigley

Special Thanks To

Loren Bivens

Special Effects Coordinator

Jean Black

Makeup

Joan Black

Song Performer

Lizanne Brazell

Dialogue Coach

Van Brooks

Production Assistant

Carter Burwell

Music

Edith M Clark

Casting

Edith M Clark

Location Manager

Ethan Coen

Editor

Ethan Coen

Producer

Ethan Coen

Screenplay

Joel Coen

Screenplay

Joel Coen

Editor

Chelle Coleman

Wardrobe Assistant

Victor Concepcion

Negative Cutting

Peggy Connolly

Editor

Richard Creasy

Best Boy

David Diliberto

Consultant

Phil Dimaggio

Casting Associate

M Dixon

Song

Lamont Dozier

Song

Joey Forsyte

Gaffer

David J Frederick

Other

Julie Gant

Other

Peter Golden

Casting Associate

Lewis Goldstein

Sound Effects

Marcos E Gonzalez

Props Assistant

Nancy Griffith

On-Set Dresser

Don Hartack

Location Coordinator

Melanie Hecht

Production Assistant

Frederick Hibbert

Song Performer

Bradford L Hohle

Consultant

Brian Holland

Song

Eddie Holland

Song

Julie Hughes

Casting

Roderick Jaynes

Producer

Roderick Jaynes

Screenplay

Roderick Jaynes

Editor

Todd Kasow

Music Editor

Don Kirk

Other

Darell Kreitz

Production Assistant

Peter Kurland

Boom Operator

Alma Kuttruff

Production Coordinator

Andreas Laven

Script Supervisor

Webster Lewin

Production Assistant

Blake Leyh

Sound Effects

Skip Lievsay

Sound Mixer

Skip Lievsay

Sound Editor

Skip Lievsay

Other

Steve Love

Assistant Director

Marty Mahoney

Animal Trainer

George Majesski

Special Thanks To

Shawn Malone

Production Assistant

Tom Martin

Production Assistant

Dave Mcgill

Production Assistant

Sara Medina-pape

Wardrobe

Earl Miller

Special Thanks To

Michael R Miller

Sound Editor

Jun Mizumachi

Sound Effects

Barry Moss

Casting

Jane Musky

Production Designer

Camilo Namen

Song

Hilary Ney

Special Thanks To

Michael K O'sullivan

Mechanical Special Effects

Lee Orloff

Sound Mixer

Edna Ruth Paul

Editorial Assistant

Michael Peal

Art Assistant

Dave Pearce

Art Assistant

Blaine Penninton

Other

Dan Perri

Titles

Beth Perry

Graphics

Tom Prophet

Key Grip

Deborah Reinisch

Assistant Director

Jim Roberge

Song

Stephen Roll

Assistant

Ron Seres

Special Thanks To

John Shaw

Electrician

Mark Silverman

Associate Producer

Adam Smith

Production Assistant

Paul R Smith

Prosthetic Makeup

Barry Sonnenfeld

Director Of Photography

Bob Sturtevant

Art Assistant

Angelo L. Suasnovar

Grip

Fred Szymanski

Sound Effects

Dave Wander

Photography

Ingrid Weigand

Production Assistant

Don Wiegmann

Electrician

Don Wiegmann

Editor

H Harris Willcockson

Auditor

Shannon Wood

Assistant Director

John Woodward

Production Assistant

Richard Woolsey

Production Assistant

Allie Wrubel

Song

Mel Zelnike

Rerecording

Film Details

MPAA Rating
Genre
Drama
Crime
Thriller
Film Noir
Release Date
1984
Distribution Company
Circle Releasing Corporation/USA Films; USA FilmsCircle Releasing Corporation
Location
Austin, Texas, USA; Hutto, Texas, USA

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 35m

Articles

Blood Simple


Blood Simple hit the screens in 1984 in a big way that insured the Coen Brothers would never have to beg for money again. They could write their own tickets, starting with their first movie out of the gate. Of course, a lot of hard work went into getting that movie made in the first place, including making a trailer for a movie that didn't yet exist.

The two Coen brothers, Ethan and Joel, put together a trailer for a movie idea they had in 1982. It involved murder and blackmail and deception but since they weren't sure who would be in it, what it would look like, or how it would be cut, they made the trailer as simple as possible. They showed a man dragging a shovel alongside a car stopped in the middle of the road, back towards another man he was going to kill. There was a shot of backlit gun holes in a wall and, well, that's about it. But it was enough to get them financing and some high quality actors to star, including Dan Hedaya and M. Emmet Walsh, two of the best character actors in the business. For other parts, they weren't above using significant others and that's where things fell into place like no one expected. It just so happens that Joel Coen's wife, Frances McDormand, was not only an actress but, as it turns out, one of the best actresses to emerge in the eighties. McDormand made her film debut in Blood Simple and the rest, as they say, is history.

The Coen Brothers and their cinematographer, Barry Sonnenfeld, set out to make Blood Simple with almost no experience in the movie making world. As a result, they've become their own harshest critics and in a discussion of the film years later, the three consistently criticized the look and feel of the film as amateurish. That's taking it a bit too far as the film works as well today as it did the day it opened.

The movie begins with an interior shot of an automobile in the pouring rain. As it is passed by cars in the opposite lanes, the headlights reveal a new line of credits. This shot was done in Sonnenfeld's garage while they had a hose with a sprinkler attachment soak the windshield and a spotlight rigged to swing past every few seconds. Inside the car, John Getz and Frances McDormand discuss how much they hate the bar owner played by Dan Hedaya. Getz is employed by him as a bartender and McDormand is married to him. If they can get of rid of him, they'll be free to be together. Problem is, Hedaya is already having them followed by private eye Walsh, who either gets the goods, or if that proves impossible, creates them.

In the case of getting the goods on their affair, it's easy. In the case of what Hedaya wants him to do next, kill them, it's not. Of course, that doesn't stop Walsh who figures he'll just doctor a photo to look like he killed them, get his money and hit the road before he's discovered. As with any film noir, this gets complicated. Far more complicated than any of the characters ever expected. Everyone in the film does an excellent job but it must be noted that M. Emmet Walsh not only steals the show but gives one of the best performances of the entire decade. It is, quite simply, a marvel of acting to behold and without his presence, the movie wouldn't have been half as good. Dan Hedaya, Frances McDormand, and John Getz all turn in terrific work too but it's Walsh's center that holds the whole thing together. While McDormand would get her just due, eventually winning an Oscar for her superb work in another Coen brothers' movie, Fargo (1996), Walsh never really got his. He should have and whatever else may happen, at least there will always be this movie as a testament to his incredible skills.

The cinematographer, Barry Sonnenfeld, went on to a rather successful career of his own. After doing the cinematography for a couple more Coen Brothers movies, he became a director himself, directing The Addams Family (1991) and Get Shorty (1995) among others.

As their careers have developed, the Coen Brothers have shown themselves to be jacks of all trades when it comes to genre. They've done film noir, western, comedy, drama, gangster, and a few more, rarely returning for a second take. They've probably returned to crime and noir more than anything else (Miller's Crossing (1990), Fargo, and No Country for Old Men (2007) being standouts) and maybe that makes sense since that's where they started.

Blood Simple offers an early look at the careers of Joel and Ethan Coen. It may not be the polished noir they wanted it to be but it's far better than they give it credit for. And it got them noticed, allowing them to produce some of the best films of the eighties, nineties, and beyond. For a career so varied and successful, it's kind of amazing that it started off with a trailer for an unmade movie. And for once, the movie that got made was far better than the trailer, plain and simple.

Directed by Joel and Ethan Coen
Written by Joel and Ethan Coen
Cinematography by Barry Sonnenfeld
Edited by Joel and Ethan Coen (as Roderick Jaynes)
Music by Carter Burwell
Produced by Daniel F. Bacaner, Mark Silverman, Joel and Ethan Coen
Cast: John Getz (Ray), Frances McDormand (Abby Marty), Dan Hedaya (Julian Marty), M. Emmet Walsh (Loren Visser), Samm-Art Williams (Meurice), Deborah Neumann (Debra), Holly Hunter (voice of Helene Trend, uncredited).

By Greg Ferrara
Blood Simple

Blood Simple

Blood Simple hit the screens in 1984 in a big way that insured the Coen Brothers would never have to beg for money again. They could write their own tickets, starting with their first movie out of the gate. Of course, a lot of hard work went into getting that movie made in the first place, including making a trailer for a movie that didn't yet exist. The two Coen brothers, Ethan and Joel, put together a trailer for a movie idea they had in 1982. It involved murder and blackmail and deception but since they weren't sure who would be in it, what it would look like, or how it would be cut, they made the trailer as simple as possible. They showed a man dragging a shovel alongside a car stopped in the middle of the road, back towards another man he was going to kill. There was a shot of backlit gun holes in a wall and, well, that's about it. But it was enough to get them financing and some high quality actors to star, including Dan Hedaya and M. Emmet Walsh, two of the best character actors in the business. For other parts, they weren't above using significant others and that's where things fell into place like no one expected. It just so happens that Joel Coen's wife, Frances McDormand, was not only an actress but, as it turns out, one of the best actresses to emerge in the eighties. McDormand made her film debut in Blood Simple and the rest, as they say, is history. The Coen Brothers and their cinematographer, Barry Sonnenfeld, set out to make Blood Simple with almost no experience in the movie making world. As a result, they've become their own harshest critics and in a discussion of the film years later, the three consistently criticized the look and feel of the film as amateurish. That's taking it a bit too far as the film works as well today as it did the day it opened. The movie begins with an interior shot of an automobile in the pouring rain. As it is passed by cars in the opposite lanes, the headlights reveal a new line of credits. This shot was done in Sonnenfeld's garage while they had a hose with a sprinkler attachment soak the windshield and a spotlight rigged to swing past every few seconds. Inside the car, John Getz and Frances McDormand discuss how much they hate the bar owner played by Dan Hedaya. Getz is employed by him as a bartender and McDormand is married to him. If they can get of rid of him, they'll be free to be together. Problem is, Hedaya is already having them followed by private eye Walsh, who either gets the goods, or if that proves impossible, creates them. In the case of getting the goods on their affair, it's easy. In the case of what Hedaya wants him to do next, kill them, it's not. Of course, that doesn't stop Walsh who figures he'll just doctor a photo to look like he killed them, get his money and hit the road before he's discovered. As with any film noir, this gets complicated. Far more complicated than any of the characters ever expected. Everyone in the film does an excellent job but it must be noted that M. Emmet Walsh not only steals the show but gives one of the best performances of the entire decade. It is, quite simply, a marvel of acting to behold and without his presence, the movie wouldn't have been half as good. Dan Hedaya, Frances McDormand, and John Getz all turn in terrific work too but it's Walsh's center that holds the whole thing together. While McDormand would get her just due, eventually winning an Oscar for her superb work in another Coen brothers' movie, Fargo (1996), Walsh never really got his. He should have and whatever else may happen, at least there will always be this movie as a testament to his incredible skills. The cinematographer, Barry Sonnenfeld, went on to a rather successful career of his own. After doing the cinematography for a couple more Coen Brothers movies, he became a director himself, directing The Addams Family (1991) and Get Shorty (1995) among others. As their careers have developed, the Coen Brothers have shown themselves to be jacks of all trades when it comes to genre. They've done film noir, western, comedy, drama, gangster, and a few more, rarely returning for a second take. They've probably returned to crime and noir more than anything else (Miller's Crossing (1990), Fargo, and No Country for Old Men (2007) being standouts) and maybe that makes sense since that's where they started. Blood Simple offers an early look at the careers of Joel and Ethan Coen. It may not be the polished noir they wanted it to be but it's far better than they give it credit for. And it got them noticed, allowing them to produce some of the best films of the eighties, nineties, and beyond. For a career so varied and successful, it's kind of amazing that it started off with a trailer for an unmade movie. And for once, the movie that got made was far better than the trailer, plain and simple. Directed by Joel and Ethan Coen Written by Joel and Ethan Coen Cinematography by Barry Sonnenfeld Edited by Joel and Ethan Coen (as Roderick Jaynes) Music by Carter Burwell Produced by Daniel F. Bacaner, Mark Silverman, Joel and Ethan Coen Cast: John Getz (Ray), Frances McDormand (Abby Marty), Dan Hedaya (Julian Marty), M. Emmet Walsh (Loren Visser), Samm-Art Williams (Meurice), Deborah Neumann (Debra), Holly Hunter (voice of Helene Trend, uncredited). By Greg Ferrara

Quotes

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Winter January 18, 1985

Re-released in United States July 7, 2000

Expanded re-release in United States July 14, 2000

Re-released in United States on Video January 17, 1995

Released in United States 1984

Released in United States July 1984

Released in United States 1985

Released in United States 1998

Released in United States October 1998

Released in United States August 1999

Released in United States 2000

Released in United States January 2000

Released in United States February 2000

Released in United States July 2000

Shown at the 1984 US Film Festival (in competition).

Shown at 1984 Independent Feature Film Market (IFFM) in New York City.

Shown at 1984 New York Film Festival.

Screened at the 1998 Austin Film Festival as a salute to the screenwriting careers of Joel and Ethan Cohen.

Shown at Austin Film Festival October 1-8, 1998.

Shown at Gen Art Summer Arts Festival in New York City August 5-9, 1999.

Shown at American Film Market (AFM) in Santa Monica, California February 23 - March 1, 2000.

Shown at the European Film Market, February 9-20, 2000.

Shown at Karlovy Vary International Film Festival July 5-15, 2000.

Feature debut for writer-director Joel Coen and writer-producer Ethan Coen. Widely considered a landmark of the American "indie" film movement, this stylish thriller premiered at film festivals in 1984. Following its theatrical release in early 1985, "Blood Simple" was named one of the year's ten best films by, among others, the National Board of Review, USA Today, Time Magazine and The Washington Post. For their updated Directors Cut, filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen made editing changes, including cutting 4 minutes while adding additional footage and music to the film.

Released in United States Winter January 18, 1985

Re-released in United States July 7, 2000 (Director's Cut; New York City and Los Angeles)

Expanded re-release in United States July 14, 2000

Re-released in United States on Video January 17, 1995

Released in United States 1984 (Shown at the 1984 US Film Festival (in competition).)

Released in United States 1984 (Shown at 1984 Independent Feature Film Market (IFFM) in New York City.)

Expanded re-relese in USA JUly 21, 2000.

Released in United States 1984 (Shown at 1984 New York Film Festival.)

Released in United States July 1984 (Shown at FILMEX: Los Angeles International Film Exposition (American Independents) July 5¿20, 1984.)

Released in United States 1985 (From the Collection)

Released in United States 1998 (Screened at the 1998 Austin Film Festival as a salute to the screenwriting careers of Joel and Ethan Cohen.)

Released in United States October 1998 (Shown at Austin Film Festival October 1-8, 1998.)

Released in United States August 1999 (Shown at Gen Art Summer Arts Festival in New York City August 5-9, 1999.)

Released in United States 2000 (Shown at American Film Market (AFM) in Santa Monica, California February 23 - March 1, 2000.)

Released in United States January 2000 (Shown at Sundance Film Festival (Sundance Collection) January 20-30, 2000.)

Released in United States February 2000 (Shown at the European Film Market, February 9-20, 2000.)

Released in United States July 2000 (Shown at Karlovy Vary International Film Festival July 5-15, 2000.)

Winner of the Grand Jury Prize for Best Film at the 1984 US Film Festival, later renamed the Sundance Film Festival.