The sound of Coen comedy: music, dialogue and sound effects in Raising Arizona | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 1, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 1751-4193
  • E-ISSN: 1751-4207


The Coen brothers' approach to film-making places them among a minority of film-makers that integrate aural ingredients from the beginning of the film-making process. The Coens established this mode of production as standard practice in their second film, (1987), a comedy told primarily through repetition and cartoon-like exaggeration. To help communicate these basic elements, the Coens asked their regular sound personnel to construct a soundtrack that emphasized them. As a result, many of the aural ingredients recur throughout the film, reinforcing events or a sense of place. Music and effects also strengthen the rapid, and often chaotic, pace of events. Moreover, the dialogue accentuates the larger-than-life characters and helps situate their rustic nature. Through the Coens not only demonstrate how sound can be integral to the film-making process, but they also show how another mode of production can challenge the long-standing dominance of image as the primary storyteller.


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  • Article Type: Article
Keyword(s): Coen brothers; comedy; production practices; sound
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