Fink Again

At the time of its release, Hail Caesar! was described as a sister film to Barton Fink, with both stories set at Capitol Pictures, roughly a decade apart; however, Hail Caesar! is a very different movie.

Lighter in mood and much shorter in duration than its “sister film”, this typewriter nerd also noted that Hail Caesar! is completely lacking in typewriter props; which is surprising when you consider (like Trumbo) it’s set in the McCarthy-era 1950s and centres around a group of  blacklisted “red” writers, who kidnap Hollywood star Baird Whitlock (George Clooney) and hold him for ransom, demanding that their writerly profession be given the respect and the remuneration it deserves.

Sadly, while the ransom note is typewritten, there is no “cry of the fishmongers” from the fingers of a Barton Fink …

George Clooney is, of course, a Coen Brothers favourite, having starred in several of their movies. Clooney also has numerous credits as a director on such films as the typewriter-rich Good Night and Good Luck …

… a movie I liked so much I bought the soundtrack!


An early Coen Brothers movie The Hudsucker Proxy (1994) provides the typewriter nerd with several circa 1958 Royal standard typewriter sightings. This typewriter thunder is stolen, however, by the clackety-click of a Teletype Model 33 ASR teleprinter (a teleprinter which was not commercially available until 1963).

The recently-released, Coen Brothers-written, George Clooney-directed, Suburbicon, is less typewriter-rich.

There’s one typewriter sighting in the whole movie; however it’s a typewriter that features prominently in the trailer of the movie.

Matt Damon and Julianne Moore return to the Coen fold in this one: Damon playing the lead role as businessman Gardner Lodge, and Moore playing his late wife’s sister Margaret. Their performances are good, as is the performance of the little boy, Nicky Lodge, played by Noah Jupe.

The highlight of the movie though, is a pivotal scene in which Margaret is visited by insurance investigator, Roger (Oscar Isaac).

Great dialog that deserved to be written on a great-looking typewriter like the one in the trailer …

… which is perhaps the same typewriter as this one?



4 thoughts on “Fink Again

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  2. Agreed, not one of their better movies, but I did enjoy Hail Caesar! more on a second viewing (the same for “A Serious Man”, which I now think IS one of their better movies). 😉


  3. Thanks for this review of Coen films. They are always rich in atmosphere, although I don’t always care for the plots. (I thought Hail, Caesar! was utterly forgettable.) More typewriters, Coens! More typewriters!


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