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The Big Lebowski Raises a Glass to Classic Film Noir

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The Big Lebowski Raises a Glass to Classic Film Noir
On the surface, The Big Lebowski might look like a simple stoner comedy, but with closer inspection the film possess sharp undertones of film noir. The Coen Brothers were inspired by film noir when making their movie, The Big Lebowski. Their main inspiration came from Raymond Chandler’s, The Big Sleep, with mix-match patches of other classic film noirs. The Big Lebowski is a playful, modernized, and loose form of noir film. With that said, The Big Lebowski, is a tribute to the themes of classic film noirs.
The inspiration of other classic noir films is apparent in the Big Lebowski. The Big Lebowski doesn’t only parallel The Big Sleep but other classic film noirs. For example, a classic film by Alfred Hitchcock is reflected in the themes of the movie. The beginning plot of The Big Lebowski is inspired by Hitchcock’s North by Northwest, “in which the wrong man is involved in intrigue through a case of mistaken identity and must rise to the task.”(Tyree, Walters 46) The Big Lebowski also mocks, “the technique used in Hitchcock’s film to expose impressions of previous writing on pads of paper.”(Tyree, Walters 46) This mocks Hitchcock, because what appears is not a clue but a pornographic doodle. There are patches of other films implanted in Lebowski, “like Ivan Passer’s nouveau noir Cutter’s Way (1981), in which a young, svelte, muscular Jeff Bridges plays a beach bum gigolo with an angry and abusive Vietnam vet pal.”(Tyree, Walters 47). This parallels The Big Lebowski, due to the fact that the Dude’s best friend is an angry and abusive Vietnam vet, and both protagonists are played by Jeff Bridges. Another example appears in a scene of The Maltese Falcon. In The Maltese Falcon, Sa...

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...rature could flourish…” (Tyree, Walters 44). The Coen brothers and Chandler are similar in their groundbreaking styles and tendencies go a bit off the regular film templates.

Works Cited

Coen, Ethan, and Joel Coen. The Big Lebowski. London: Faber and Faber Limited, 1998. Print.
Rabinowitz, Paula. Black & White & Noir. New York: Columbia University Press, 2002. Print.
Selby, Spencer. Dark City: The Film Noir. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, Inc., 1984.
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Stephens, Michael L.. Film Noir: A Comprehensive, Illustrated Reference to Movies, Terms and
Persons. 1961. Reprint. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, Inc., 1995. Print.
The Big Sleep. Dir. Howard Hawks. Perf. Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall. Warner Bros., 1946.
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Tyree, J.M., and Ben Walters. BFI Film Classic: The Big Lebowski. 2007. Reprint. London:
British Film Institute, 2012. Print.
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