Hail, Caesar! is a love letter to Hollywood in the 50s, as they moved from the studio system and were forced to divest themselves from owning their own movie theaters and selling films in blocks. It’s a unique time for movies. The film follows a day in the life of Eddie Mannix a Hollywood “Fixer”, based on real life MGM “fixer” of the same name. Spoilers to follow.
In the latest film from the Coen Brothers, we have a comedic look into classic Hollywood. I am a big fan of this time period of film. It’s 1951 and Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin) is the head of physical production at Capitol Pictures, his job is to make sure that scandalous stories about the stars don’t get into the newspapers. The Studio is working on a major production called Hail Caesar! A tale of Christ with Baird Whitlock (George Clooney) as a roman who at the death of Christ is convinced that Jesus is the Son of God. While filming Baird is drugged by an extra and kidnapped by “The Future”. Eddie also has to deal with the star of aqua-musicals, DeeAnna Moran (Scarlett Johansson) who is pregnant and unmarried. As well as turning a singing cowboy, Hobie Doyle (Alden Ehrenreich), into a big name movie star. We also run across Burt Gurney (Channing Tatum), the song and dance guy. Mannix is also being recruited by Lockheed Corporation to take a high-level executive position. All these problems are complex but we know that Mannix will find a way to get through them all as well as fend off eager Hollywood gossip columnists roosting for a story. Will Mannix be able to find Baird Whitlock so they can complete filming of Hail, Caesar!, how will they get around DeeAnna Moran’s pregnancy and will Hobie turn out to be a decent actor?
The film gives us a interesting look at the world of film, especially for those who a huge fans of Turner Classic Movies. The Coen Brothers always tell such unique stories, remember these are the guys who made Fargo and Raising Arizona. If you can just turn on TCM and enjoy what ever is showing this is a film for you. The film also works a a decent comedy even if you aren’t a fan of Classic Hollywood. Clooney does a great job embodying someone like a Robert Taylor and Johansson does her best Esther Williams. There is fun to have while watching, even in the ridiculous acting and a concepts that the film they are making are about. Although we hold films from this era in high regard some of them are real stinkers.