Raising Arizona

Synopsis: Raising Arizona is a 1987 American crime comedy film directed, written, and produced by the Coen brothers, and starring Nicolas Cage, Holly Hunter, William Forsythe, John Goodman, Frances McDormand, and Randall "Tex" Cobb. Not a blockbuster at the time of its release, it has since achieved cult status. In a manner typical of Coen Brothers fare, the movie is replete with symbolism, visual gags, unconventional characters, flamboyant camera work, biblical references, pathos, and idiosyncratic dialogue. The film ranked 31st on the American Film Institute's 100 Years...100 Laughs list, and 45th on Bravo's "100 Funniest Movies" list.
Genre: Comedy, Crime
Production: 20th Century Fox
  4 nominations.
 
IMDB:
7.4
Metacritic:
68
Rotten Tomatoes:
91%
PG-13
Year:
1987
94 min
1,372 Views


OVER BLACK:

VOICE OVER:

My name is H. I. McDunnough...

A WALL:

With horizontal hatch lines.

VOICE OVER:

...Call me Hi.

A disheveled young man in a gaily colored Hawaiian shirt is

launched into frame by someone offscreen.

He holds a printed paddle that reads "NO. 1468-6 NOV. 29

79."

The hatch marks on the wall behind him are apparently height

markers.

VOICE OVER:

...The first time I met Ed was in

the county lock-up in Tempe,

Arizona...

FLASH:

As his picture is taken.

CLOSEUP:

On the paddle:
"NOV. 29 79."

VOICE OVER:

...a day I'll never forget.

A bellowing male voice from offscreen:

SHERIFF:

Don't forget the profile, Ed!

ANGLE ON THE STILL CAMERA

It is mounted on a tripod. A pretty young woman in a severe

police uniform peers out from behind it.

WOMAN:

Turn to the right.

HI:

What kind of name is Ed for a pretty

thing like you?

ED:

Short for Edwinna. Turn to the right!

HI obliges, but still looks at Ed out of the corner of his

eye.

HI:

You're a flower, you are. Just a

little desert flower.

FLASH:

On his eye-skewed profile.

HI:

Lemme know how those come out.

LOW ANGLE CELL BLOCK CORRIDOR

As Hi is escorted away from the camera toward his cell.

At the far end of the corridor a huge con is sluggishly

mopping the floor.

VOICE OVER:

I was in for writing hot checks which,

when businessmen do it, is called an

overdraft. I'm not complainin', mind

you; just sayin' there ain't no

pancake so thin it ain't got two

sides. Now prison life is very

structured - more than most people

care for...

INTERCUTTING:

HI'S POV of the MOPPING CON, tracking as he approaches, and

the Mopping Con's POV of Hi as Hi approaches.

VOICE OVER:

...But there's a spirit of camaraderie

that exists between the men, like

you find only in combat maybe...

The Mopping Con snarls as Hi passes:

CON:

Grrrr...

VOICE OVER:

...or on a pro ball club in the heat

of a pennant drive.

NEWSREEL FOOTAGE

A ballplayer connects - THWOCK - for a home run and the crowd

roars.

PRISON HALL:

Panning a circle of men who sit facing each other in folding

chairs. The pan starts on Hi.

VOICE OVER:

In an effort to better ourselves we

were forced to meet with a counselor

who tried to help us figure out why

we were the way we were...

At this point the pan has reached the COUNSELOR, an earnest,

bearded young man who straddles a folding chair with his

arms folded over its back.

He is addressing one of the Cons:

COUNSELOR:

Why do you use the word "trapped"?

CLOSEUP BLACK CON

The huge muscle-bound black man with a shaved head is knitting

his brow in consternation.

CON:

Huh?

COUNSELOR:

Why do you say you feel "trapped" in

a man's body?

CON:

Oh...

He bites his lip, thinking; then, in a resonant bass voice:

CON:

...Well, sometimes I get the menstrual

cramps real hard.

PAROLE MEETING ROOM

Three PAROLE OFFICERS - two men and a woman - face Hi across

a table.

CHAIRMAN:

Have you learned anything, Hi?

HI:

Yessir, you bet.

WOMAN:

You wouldn't lie to us, would you

Hi?

HI:

No ma'am, hope to say.

CHAIRMAN:

Okay then.

EXT. 7-ELEVEN NIGHT

A beat-up Chevy pulls into the all-night store's empty parking

lot.

VOICE OVER:

I tried to stand up and fly straight,

but it wasn't easy with that sumbitch

Reagan in the White House...

Hi is getting out of the Chevy in a Hawaiian shirt, holding

a pump-action shotgun.

VOICE OVER:

...I dunno, they say he's a decent

man, so...

He primes the shotgun - WHOOSH - CLACK - and heads for the

store.

VOICE OVER:

...maybe his advisers are confused.

FLASH:

Full-face exposure of Hi once again in front of the mug-shot

wall.

ED:

Turn to the right!

Hi obliges but shoots sympathetic glances at Ed who is

obviously upset, wiping away tears and snuffling behind the

camera.

HI:

What's the matter, Ed?

ED:

My fai-ants left me.

VOICE OVER:

She said her fiancée had run off

with a student cosmetologist who

knew how to ply her feminine wiles.

FLASH:

On Hi's profile. He turns back to Ed.

HI:

That sumbitch.

SHERIFF (O.S.)

Don't forget his phone call, Ed!

HI:

You tell him I think he's a damn

fool, Ed. You tell him I said so -

H.I. McDunnough. And if he wants to

discuss it he knows where to find

me...

As another police officer starts to lead him away:

HI:

...in the Maricopa County Maximum

Security Correctional Facility for

Men...

CLOSE ON ED:

Looking up through her tears as Hi is led away.

HI (O.S.)

...State Farm Road Number Thirty-

one; Tempe, Arizona...

BACK TO HI:

Struggling to call back over his shoulder as he is firmly

led out the door.

HI:

...I'll be waiting!

The door slams.

LOW ANGLE CELL BLOCK CORRIDOR

As Hi is once again escorted toward his cell.

The Mopping Con is now in the middle-background, having worked

his way about halfway up the corridor since last time we saw

him.

VOICE OVER:

I can't say I was happy to be back

inside, but the flood of familiar

sights, sounds and faces almost made

it feel like a homecoming.

CLOSE ON MOPPING CON

As Hi passes.

CON:

Grrrr...

PRISON HALL:

Group is meeting again.

COUNSELOR:

Most men your age, Hi, are getting

married and raising up a family.

They wouldn't accept prison as a

substitute.

Hi looks sheepish.

COUNSELOR:

...Would any of you men care to

comment?

Two convicts sitting next to each other, GALE and EVELLE,

appear to be friends.

GALE:

But sometimes your career gotta come

before family.

EVELLE:

Work is what's kept us happy.

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Joel Coen

Joel Coen was born on November 29, 1954 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA as Joel Daniel Coen. He is a producer and writer, known for No Country for Old Men (2007), The Big Lebowski (1998) and Fargo (1996). He has been married to Frances McDormand since April 1, 1984. They have one child. more…

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