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RAISING ARIZONA

USA, 1986 (MIFF 1987)

Director: Joel Coen

Raising Arizona, the second feature from the Coen brothers, has some of the twisted humour of their debut feature, Blood Simple, though conducted at a more leisurely pace.

HI, a petty crook, marries Edwina, the police officer who has been checking him regularly into jail. When they find they cannot have children, they decide to steal one - from furniture magnate Nathan Arizona and his wife, who have just been blessed with well-publicised quintuplets. As they embrace family life, they encounter some strange variations on the family unit: these include Hi's escapee cellmates; a neighbourhood couple who are keen to start wifeswapping; the Arizonas themselves; and the mad motorcyclist of the apocalypse, Leonard Smalls, sworn enemy of all families. Variety singled out John Goodman (Louis in True Stones) for his performance as one of the prison escapees, calling him "a rarity on the screen, an actor who can communicate friendliness and goodwill in spite of his foolishness".

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