Blood Simple. 1984. USA. Directed by Joel Coen. Screenplay by Joel Coen, Ethan Coen. With John Getz, Frances McDormand, Dan Hedaya, Samm-Art Williams, M. Emmet Walsh. 35mm. 99 min.
Initially released in January 1985, Blood Simple was more of a hit with critics than with audiences. The Coen Brothers’ Texas tale of adultery and double crosses displays many of the hallmarks of their early work: the roving camera (courtesy of DP Barry Sonnenfeld), a noir plot stacked with complications, and a protagonist who takes his lumps again and again. Raising Arizona, the brothers’ next film, was deliberately sunnier, and it garnered a major studio release and earned over $20 million at the box office.