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The Dudes Abide

29 Sep, 2007 By: Billy Gil

The Coen Brothers Gift Set

Few modern filmmakers match the voice of the Coen Brothers. Their black comedies stretch from settings as diverse as the 1930s Deep South (O Brother, Where Art Thou?) to snowy, small-town Minnesota (Fargo). But a line of insidiousness lurking just under the floorboards permeates nearly all of the writer-directors' films.

MGM and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment Nov. 20 (prebook Oct. 10) will release The Coen Brothers Gift Set, featuring five of the brothers' films, at $49.98. The set features Blood Simple, Raising Arizona, Miller's Crossing, Barton Fink and Fargo.

Blood Simple, released in 1984, was the Coens' first film, and their first time working with future Oscar winner Frances McDormand (who gave her winning performance in Fargo). The plot reads like the lyrics to a country-Western classic: A bar owner suspects his wife of cheating on him and hires a private investigator to kill her, starting off a chain of complications and deceit.

Raising Arizona (1987) stars Nicolas Cage, Holly Hunter, McDormand and John Goodman (another Coen Brothers favorite) and follows a couple who kidnap a baby from a set of quintuplets.

Miller's Crossing (1990), a 1930s gangster noir, stars Gabriel Byrne, Marcia Gay Harden and John Turturro, and the DVD includes interview clips with the three stars.

Barton Fink (1991), starring Turturro, Goodman and Judy Davis, was nominated for three Oscars and swept the 1991 Cannes Film Festival, winning the Palme d'Or for best director and best actor (Turturro). The DVD includes eight deleted scenes.

Fargo (1996) is perhaps the Coens' most successful film, with two Oscar wins out of seven nominations. The DVD has a “Minnesota Nice” documentary, an interview with the Coens and McDormand, a photo gallery, a trivia track, hidden menus and more.

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