Buy the CD soundtrack or VHS video tape of the movie Raising Arizona starring Nicholas Cage and Holly Hunter written and directed by Joel Coen written and produced by Ethan Coen cinematography by Barry Sonnenfeld original music by Carter Burwell

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Raising Arizona (1987)

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Blood Simple made it clear that the cinematically precocious Coen brothers (writer-director Joel and writer-producer Ethan) were gifted filmmakers to watch out for. But it was the outrageously farcical Raising Arizona that announced the Coens' darkly comedic audacity to the world. It wasn't widely seen when released in 1987, but its modest audience was vocally supportive, and this hyperactive comedy has since developed a large and loyal following. It's the story of "Ed" (for Edwina, played by Holly Hunter), a policewoman who falls in love with "Hi" (for H.I. McDonnough, played by Nicolas Cage) while she's taking his mug shots. She's infertile and he's a habitual robber of convenience stores, and their folksy marital bliss depends on settling down with a rug rat. Unable to conceive, they kidnap one of the newsworthy quintuplets born to an unpainted-furniture huckster named Nathan Arizona (Trey Wilson), who quickly hires a Harley-riding mercenary (Randall "Tex" Cobb) to track the baby's whereabouts [actually, he doesn't hire him and Smalls vows to get what the market will allow]. What follows is a full-throttle comedy that defies description, fueled by the Coens' lyrical redneck dialogue, the manic camerawork of future director Barry Sonnenfeld [Men In Black], and some of the most inventively comedic chase scenes ever filmed. Some will dismiss the comedy for being recklessly over-the-top; others will love it for its clever mix of slapstick action, surreal fantasy, and homespun family values. One thing's for sure--this is a Coen movie from start to finish, and that makes it undeniably unique. --Jeff Shannon, Amazon

This movie has the longest cold opening in the history of film, that I know of.  The first 20 minutes (before the titles) grabs you like a harpoon and you're off on the wild ride!  This film has some of the best camera work and editing you'll ever see, evidenced by similar long, wild tracking shots in Sonnenfeld's directorial work.  While working at LA's Mark Taper Forum doing Putting It Together (by Stephen Sondheim) with actress Susan Egan, she told me (during a discussion about plays that were made into movies) that Raising Arizona had been made into a stage musical featuring a song "Gotta get his Dip-tet!"  Wow.  Note: these songs are not in the movie, just a play by some students; the Raising Arizona movie soundtrack by Carter Burwell is fantastic.  If you know of other movies that were made into plays (other than the obvious Disney stuff) let me know! -- Scott Supak, BMP

Parole Officer: "Recidivism. REPEAT-OFFENDER. Not a pretty name is it, Hi?"
Hi: "No sir, that's one bonehead name, but that ain't me any more"
Parole Officer: "You're not just telling us what we want to hear, are you?"
Hi: "No sir, no way"
Parole Officer: "Because we just want to hear the truth . . ."
Hi: "Well, then I guess I AM telling you what you want to hear"
Hi: "Yessir!"
Parole Officer: "OK, then."

Cast overview, first billed only:
Nicolas Cage .... H.I.
Holly Hunter .... Ed
Trey Wilson .... Nathan Arizona Sr.
John Goodman .... Gale
William Forsythe .... Evelle
Sam McMurray .... Glen
Frances McDormand .... Dot
Randall 'Tex' Cobb .... Leonard Smalls
T.J. Kuhn .... Nathan Junior
Lynne Dumin Kitei .... Florence Arizona
Peter Benedek .... Prison Counsellor
Charles 'Lew' Smith .... Nice Old Grocery Man
Warren Keith .... Younger FBI Agent
Henry Kendrick .... Older FBI Agent
Sidney Dawson .... Ear-Bending Cellmate


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