Catholic Culture Resources
Catholic Culture Resources

Hail, Caesar! (2016) w/ T. C. Merrill

By Criteria: The Catholic Film Podcast ( bio - articles - email ) | May 24, 2022 | In Criteria: The Catholic Film Podcast

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Novelist and critic Trevor Cribben Merrill joins the podcast to discuss one of his favorite recent films, the Coen brothers’ Hail, Caesar!

This is one of the Coens’ most warm-hearted films, and certainly their most Catholic one. It deals with the problem of vocation and the spiritual value of art, although intriguingly, from the point of view of a non-artist: movie producer Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin), who must often serve as a “fixer” getting his stars out of personal scrapes and scandals.

Hail, Caesar! is set in a production studio during the Golden Age of Hollywood, giving the Coens a chance to reproduce many classic genres of the period, from the western to the water ballet.

The film’s detailed portrayal of the old Hollywood studio system in the time of the Catholic Legion of Decency and the Hayes Production Code also provides an opportunity to discuss the pros and cons of the scandal-averse culture of Hollywood in the 30s-50s. How much of it was real concern for morality vs. fear for the studios’ bottom line?

Links

T. C. Merrill’s novel Minor Indignities https://tcmerrill.com/minor-indignities

Catholic Culture Podcast interview with T. C. Merrill https://www.catholicculture.org/commentary/122-minor-indignities-tc-merrill/

T. C. Merrill is presenting in a Collegium Institute seminar on Bernanos’s Diary of a Country Priest on June 20. More info here: https://www.collegiuminstitute.org/calendar/all-is-grace-global-catholic-literature-2022

Music is The Duskwhales, “Take It Back”, used with permission. https://theduskwhales.bandcamp.com/

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Thomas is a pianist living in New York City. He is Director of Podcasts for CatholicCulture.org and hosts the Catholic Culture Podcast. See full bio.

James is the Director of Customer Relations for CatholicCulture.org. A stage, film, and voice actor based in New York City, he is the host and narrator for Catholic Culture Audiobooks. See full bio.

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