The Big Lebowski: genre pastiche

Page 1: the production
Page 2: genre pastiche
Page 3: politics

The movie is a postmodern pastiche of film genres, including film noir, the western, the musical, and screwball romantic comedy.

The opening music (based on "Tumbling Tumbleweed"), the tumbleweed, the voice-over, and the font of the title (widely used in the 1950s) evoke the Hollywood western.

The Coen brothers have acknowledged that The Big Lebowski is based in part on The Big Sleep, a detective novel written by Raymond Chandler and made into a film noir, directed by Howard Hawks, in 1946. Below, some parallels: The Big Lebowski and General Sternwood (with Bogart as Marlowe); Tara Reid as Bunny Lebowski and Martha Vickers as Carmen Sternwood; Lauren Bacall as Vivian Sternwood and Julianne Moore as Maude Lebowski.
The Dude is greeted by the detective Delfino as "a brother shamus--like you, man, a dick, man." "I dig your work: playing one against the other, in bed with everybody, fabulous stuff, man."

One of The Dude's detective tricks is to trace out the outline of something on a writing pad - an allusion to Hitchcock's North by Northwest - although what appears is not a clue but a pornographic doodle.

Beaten up by a corrupt police chief, another staple of film noir detective movies.

The romance of The Dude and Maude has much in common with screwball comedy, though its purpose and conclusion is not marriage but "a little Lebowski on the way."

The Los Angeles location includes references to television series and the pornography industry, with glimpses of Bunny Lebowski in Logjammin' and a scene featuring a wild beach party given by porn producer Jackie Treehorn.

Below: these references are folded into a parody of the 1930s Hollywood musical, called Gutterballs and featuring The Dude and Maude.

Parodies of performance art: The Dude's landlord left and Maude's naked body drip painting.

Page 1: the production
Page 3: politics