Dead Man (1995)

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    • Dead Man (1995)

      DEAD MAN



      Plot Summary
      Dead Man is the story of a young man's journey, both physically and spiritually, into very unfamiliar terrain. William Blake travels to the extreme western frontiers of America sometime in the 2nd half of the 19th century. Lost and badly wounded, he encounters a very odd, outcast Native American, named "Nobody", who believes Blake is actually the dead English poet of the same name. The story, with Nobody's help, leads William Blake through situations that are in turn comical and violent. Contrary to his nature, circumstances transform Blake into a hunted outlaw, a killer, and a man whose physical existence is slowly slipping away. Thrown into a world that is cruel and chaotic, his eyes are opened to the fragility that defines the realm of the living. It is as though he passes through the surface of a mirror, and emerges into a previously-unknown world that exists on the other side.
      Written by Anonymous

      Johnny Depp ... William Blake
      Gary Farmer ... Nobody
      Crispin Glover ... Train Fireman
      Lance Henriksen ... Cole Wilson
      Michael Wincott ... Conway Twill
      Eugene Byrd ... Johnny 'The Kid' Pickett
      John Hurt ... John Scholfield
      Robert Mitchum ... John Dickinson
      Iggy Pop ... Salvatore 'Sally' Jenko
      Gabriel Byrne ... Charlie Dickinson
      Jared Harris ... Benmont Tench
      Mili Avital ... Thel Russell
      Jimmie Ray Weeks ... Marvin, Older Marshal
      Mark Bringelson ... Lee, Younger Marshal
      Mike Dawson ... Old Man with 'Wanted' Posters
      Billy Bob Thornton ... Big George Drakoulious
      Michelle Thrush ... Nobody's Girlfriend
      Gibby Haynes ... Man with Gun in Alley (as Gibby Haines)
      Richard Boes ... Man with Wrench
      George Duckworth ... Man at End of Street
      Thomas Bettles ... Young Nobody #1
      Alfred Molina ... Trading Post Missionary
      Daniel Chas Stacy ... Young Nobody #2
      Todd Pfeiffer ... Man #2 at Trading Post
      Leonard Bowechop ... Makah Villager #1
      Cecil Cheeka ... Makah Villager #2
      Michael McCarty ... Makah Villager #3
      Steve Buscemi ... Bartender (uncredited)

      Jim Jarmusch

      Writing Credits
      Jim Jarmusch ... (written by)

      Karen Koch ... co-producer
      Demetra J. MacBride ... producer

      Neil Young

      Robby Müller

      Gary Farmer would reprise his role as Nobody in the later Jim Jarmusch film Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (1999).

      Robert Mitchum's final big screen appearance.

      Nobody (Gary Farmer) can be heard several times to exclaim, "Hootka!" or "Huht-kah!" According to Farmer, it's not an actual word but slang for, "What the fuck?!" or simply, "Fuck!"

      Nobody tells William Blake, "Drag your wagon and plow over the bones of the dead." This is a passage from William Blake's "Proverbs of Hell". It is also a lyric from Tom Waits song "How's It Gonna End," who stars in several of Jim Jarmusch's films.

      Robby Müller's black and white cinematography was influenced by the work of photographer Ansel Adams.

      The names of the two marshals that Blake (Johnny Depp) kills are Lee and Marvin, an homage to Lee Marvin.

      This is the third time Johnny Depp and Iggy Pop are involved in the same movie after Cry-Baby (1990) and Arizona Dream (1992). Iggy Pop wrote and performed 3 songs with Goran Bregovic for Emir Kusturica's Arizona Dream.

      The lines "The vision of Christ that thou dost see / Is my vision's greatest enemy" that Nobody says to the trading post missionary are from William Blake's "The Everlasting Gospel".

      The lines "Some are born to sweet delight and some born to the endless night" are also lyric of a song entitled "End of the Night" by The Doors.

      The lines "Every night and every morn / Some to misery are born / Every morn and every night / Some are born to sweet delight" are from William Blake's poem "Auguries of Innocence".

      The hat that Johnny Depp wears in the movie is a John Bull Topper.

      The line said by Nobody, "The eagle never lost so much time as when he submitted to learn from the Crow," is also a William Blake quote, from the proverbs of Hell in "The Marriage of Heaven and Hell".

      Billy Bob Thornton's character is named Big George Drakoulious. George Drakoulias is a musician and has produced music for The Black Crowes and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Jared Harris' character is named Benmont Tench. Benmont Tench is a member of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.

      The character Thel is also taken from a William Blake poem called "The Book of Thel".

      The passage Salvatore Jenko reads from the Bible is from 1 Samuel 17:46, "This day will the LORD deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee ...".

      Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.

      Crazy Credits
      At the end of the credits, "Whahappan?" appears just before the soundtrack information.

      In between the Set Production Assistants and First Assistant Editor is the "Hangin'-out Guy," Nemo Labrizzi.

      This Film is Dedicated to the Memory of Dick Peiffer and Paul D. O'Brien

      While the three bounty hunters are waiting in the office, Conway asks Johnny for tobacco, then dismissively says that Johnny isn't even old enough to smoke. There would have been no laws governing tobacco use by minors at the time this movie was set, and persons as young as nine or ten might have smoked or chewed tobacco without raising much comment other than that tobacco was considered a bad habit in the young. The thought that Johnny was too young to smoke should not have even crossed Conway's mind. (It is also possible that Conway was simply commenting on how extremely young Johnny is in general--that he's too young even to have picked up such a habit.)

      When Thel is shot, her head changes position in William Blake's arms between shots.

      When William and Nobody are riding horses, William's jacket is hanging off his shoulders, in the next shot, his arms are in the sleeves, and a few shots later, his jacket is once again on his shoulders.

      The straps on Thel's dress while she's talking to Charlie.

      Blake buys a half-empty bottle in the bar. Minutes later, when he offers Thel a drink outside, the bottle is filled almost to the neck.

      After William Blake and Nobody walk down to the trading post tent, William takes off his hat and is holding it in his right hand. When the camera angle changes, he is holding it in his left hand.

      William Blake and Nobody come upon a trading post tent. When Nobody walks down the hill towards the tent, smoke from the chimney is blowing towards him, but when the camera angle changes, it's blowing away from him.

      Crew or equipment visible
      As Blake follows Nobody through a canyon, both on horseback, a crewmember is briefly but clearly seen crouched and walking between the two horses.

      Factual errors
      In the opening titles, after the train ride, Billy Bob Thornton's last name is incorrectly spelled "Thorton".

      Memorable Quotes

      Filming Locations
      Flagstaff, Arizona, USA
      Camp Verde, Arizona, USA
      Virginia City, Nevada, USA
      Hoover Dam, Arizona-Nevada Border, USA
      Applegate River, Oregon, USA
      Cave Creek, Arizona, USA
      Coast, Oregon, USA
      Coconino National Forest, Arizona, USA
      Grants Pass, Oregon, USA
      Peaks Ranger District, Flagstaff, Arizona, USA
      Peoria, Arizona, USA
      Phoenix, Arizona, USA
      Rogue River, Oregon, USA
      Sedona Ranger District, Sedona, Arizona, USA
      Sedona, Arizona, USA
      Takilma, Oregon, USA
      Beacon Rock, Columbia River Gorge, Washington, USA
      Boulder Dam, Nevada, USA
      Columbia River Gorge, Washington, USA
      Los Angeles, California, USA
      Neah Bay, Washington, USA
      Niagara Falls, New York, USA
      Venice Canals, Venice, Los Angeles, California, USA
      New York, USA
      Best Wishes
      London- England

      The post was edited 2 times, last by ethanedwards ().

    • Dead Man is a 1995 American Western film written and directed by
      Jim Jarmusch. It stars Johnny Depp, Gary Farmer, Billy Bob Thornton,
      Iggy Pop, Crispin Glover, John Hurt, Michael Wincott, Lance Henriksen,
      Gabriel Byrne, and Robert Mitchum (in his final film role).

      The film, dubbed a "Psychedelic Western" by its director,
      includes twisted and surreal elements of the Western genre.
      The film is shot entirely in black-and-white.
      Neil Young composed the guitar-seeped soundtrack with portions
      he improvised while watching the movie footage.
      It has been considered by many to be a premier postmodern Western,
      and related to postmodern literature such as Cormac McCarthy's novel Blood Meridian.
      Like much of Jarmusch's work, it has acquired status as a cult film.

      Cultural allusion
      There are multiple references in the film to the poetry of William Blake. Exaybachay aka Nobody recites from several Blake poems, including Auguries of Innocence, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, and The Everlasting Gospel. When bounty hunter Cole warns his companions against drinking from standing water, it references the Proverb of Hell (from the aforementioned Marriage), "Expect poison from standing water". Thel's name is also a reference to Blake's The Book of Thel. The scenes with Thel culminating in the bedroom murder scene visually enact Blake's poem, "The Sick Rose: "O rose, thou art sick!/ The invisible worm/ That flies in the night,/ In the howling storm,/ Has found out thy bed,/ Of crimson joy,/ And his dark secret love/ Does thy life destroy." The film's soundtrack album and promotional music video also features Depp reciting passages from Blake's poetry to the music composed by Neil Young for the film.

      Although the film is set in the 19th century, Jarmusch included a number of references to 20th century American culture. Benmont Tench, the man at the campsite played by Jared Harris, is named after Benmont Tench, keyboardist for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Billy Bob Thornton's character, Big George Drakoulias, is named for record producer George Drakoulias. The marshals chasing Blake are named Lee Hazlewood and Marvin Throne-berry, after Lee Hazlewood and Marv Throneberry, and it is also an allusion to the American actor Lee Marvin.Nobody's name ("He Who Talks Loud, Saying Nothing") is a reference to the James Brown song Talkin' Loud and Sayin' Nothing. Michael Wincott's character is shown in possession of a Teddy bear. Also, when asked his name, Exaybachay states, "My Name is Nobody." My Name is Nobody was an Italian Western film from 1973 starring Henry Fonda and Terence Hill.

      Portrayal of Native Americans
      Dead Man is generally regarded as being extremely well researched in regard to Native American culture.

      The film is also notable as one of the rather few films about Native Americans to be directed by a non-native and offer nuanced and considerate details of the individual differences between Native American tribes free of common stereotypes. The film contains conversations in the Cree and Blackfoot languages, which were intentionally not translated or subtitled, for the exclusive understanding of members of those nations, including several in-jokes aimed at Native American viewers. The Native character was also played by an Indigenous American actor, Gary Farmer, who is a Cayuga.

      Johnny Depp and Jim Jarmusch at the 1995 Cannes Film Festival.
      The film was entered into the 1995 Cannes Film Festival.

      Neil Young recorded the soundtrack by improvising (mostly on his electric guitar, with some acoustic guitar, piano and organ) as he watched the newly edited film alone in a recording studio. The soundtrack album consists of seven instrumental tracks by Young, with dialog excerpts from the film and Johnny Depp reading the poetry of William Blake interspersed between the music.

      User Review

      plot lacks meaning?
      21 November 2007 | by jeffreytaos (Korea (Republic of)

      Please...if you think there is no plot and no meaning....visit a few Indian Pueblos, study some American history, read more William Blake. This journey into the fire of hell has the most beautiful and moving ending ever filmed. A train to hell...Have you ever had a dead end job? What is the connection to Nobody? Why is his name Nobody? What happened at the General Store? Why wouldn't the guy sell the Indian (Native American) tobacco? Please reconsider. This movie is not the best ever made, but it doe's have a powerful meaning as it looks into the hell that Native American's were put through. Depp is a messenger. I saw the film six months ago and felt that Depp's performance was superb. I felt that there was a powerful symbolism in the film related to our concepts of life, death, and dying. The ending is the journey into the other world. The questions the film brings up relate to our concepts on premonitions, rebirth, death, life, and dying. Isn't it amazing that a fellow was named William Blake only to be discovered by a man named Nobody? And, after all we put Native American people through, isn't it amazing that someone with the name of Nobody would venture to help a Dead Man, that is one who is sure to become dead. And what of the prophecy, when bullets become words....oh, the meanings may not be clear, but the provocation to thought is at a very extreme level. Joy to all. Live this life and remember, this is a sacred journey. Every step counts!

      In its theatrical release, Dead Man earned $1,037,847on a budget of $9 million. Then, it was the most expensive of Jarmusch's films, due, in part, to the costs of ensuring accurate period detail.

      Critical responses were mixed to positive. Roger Ebert gave the film one-and-a-half stars (out of four stars maximum), noting "Jim Jarmusch is trying to get at something here, and I don't have a clue what it is". Desson Howe and Rita Kempley, both writing for the Washington Post, offered largely negative appraisals.
      Greil Marcus, however, mounted a spirited defense of the film, titling his review "Dead Again: Here are 10 reasons why 'Dead Man' is the best movie of the end of the 20th century." Film critic Jonathan Rosenbaum dubbed the film an acid western, calling it "as exciting and as important as any new American movie I've seen in the 90s"[16] and went on to write a book on the film, entitled Dead Man (ISBN 0-85170-806-4) published by the British Film Institute. The film scored a 'Fresh' 71% rating on website Rotten Tomatoes.

      In July 2010, New York Times chief film critic A. O. Scott capped a laudatory "Critics' Picks" video review of the film by calling it "One of the very best movies of the 1990s."
      Best Wishes
      London- England

      The post was edited 2 times, last by ethanedwards ().