BARTON FINK premiered at the Cannes Film Festival on May 20, 1991.
Estimated budget: $10 million.
The film won an unprecedented three awards at the 1991 Cannes Film Festival--the Palme D'Or, Best Director (Joel and Ethan Coen), and Best Actor (John Turturro); the jury was headed by Roman Polanski, whose THE TENANT and REPULSION are echoed in BARTON FINK. Ethan Coen said, "If you had to describe [BARTON FINK] generically, you couldn't do better--not that this is a genre--but it's kind of a Polanski movie. It's closer to that than anything else." Brother Joel added, "It's true. And THE TENANT is a movie that we're both familiar with and like....There are definitely influences [in BARTON FINK] from Polanski, I'm sure."
Michael Lerner was named Best Supporting Actor by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association.
Judy Davis was named Best Actress of the Year by the London Film Critics Circle for her performances in BARTON FINK, NAKED LUNCH, and HUSBANDS AND WIVES. She was also designated Best Supporting Actress of 1991 by the New York Film Critics Circle for her work in BARTON FINK and NAKED LUNCH.
The film's director of photography, Roger Deakins, was cited for Best Cinematography of 1991 by the National Society of Film Critics, the New York Film Critics Circle, and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association for his work on BARTON FINK and HOMICIDE.
The ominous motto of the Hotel Earle is A Day or a Lifetime.
In MILLER'S CROSSING, stars Gabriel Byrne and John Turturro meet at the Barton Arms.
Tony Shalhoub, who plays Ben Geisler, is listed as Tony Shaloub in the opening credits.
"Barton is based on Clifford Odets," Joel said, "from the point of view of his background, but it's not really supposed to be....Odets had a much more successful career in Hollywood than Barton."
The name of Barton's play at the beginning of the film is BARE RUINED CHOIRS.
The name of Bill Mayhew's latest book is NEBUCHADNEZZAR; the name of the picture he is trying to write is SLAVE SHIP.
The Wallace Beery wrestling picture the Coens dreamed up for Barton to write was a random choice. "We thought it was like a joke," Ethan said. But it turned out that Wallace Beery did indeed play a wrestler in John Ford's 1932 film FLESH. "We were sort of disappointed that there actually was such a thing," Ethan continued. "It makes it a little more pedestrian that it really exists."
Summing up the picture, Ethan Coen called it a "buddy movie."
Cannes Palme d'Or 1991
Cannes Best Actor 1991 John Turturro American Actor/Director, BARTON FINK (1991)
Cannes Best Director 1991 Joel Coen American director/screenwriter/producer