This is another movie that made it hard to pick between the songs that were featured on the soundtrack since there are just so many that are fun to listen to and really fit with the story. O Brother Where Art Thou is a story based very loosely on Homer’s epic story, The Odyssey, and is one of the better films of its era as well as a very fun and engaging film that offers plenty of laughter and irony aplenty. The whole idea of three men escaping a chain gang and going cross country while meeting so many influential characters and getting themselves into so many different jams is just hilarious since a lot of the time it’s George Clooney’s character that ends up making things worse or getting them into the jams in the first place. But when all is said and done there is a happy ending to the story, kind of.
Here are some of the best songs from the movie.
5. O Death
Upon breaking Pete out of prison again and finding out that Everett was lying about the treasure they were headed off to find, the three men eventually come upon a Klan meeting in which a young black man named Tommy, whom they had already met, is about to be hanged. Seeing as how they’re all three appalled to even think of such a thing they manage to subdue the color guard of the Klan and pose as members shortly before another familiar face, Big Dan Teague, smells Everett’s pomade and reveals the men as impostors. Thankfully they escape and even manage to send a fiery cross falling straight onto Big Dan.
4. Didn’t Leave Nobody but the Baby
It is kind of funny how accurate some of the scenes were, in a certain way. The sirens that lured the men to their doom in The Odyssey were indeed attempting to get them to crash on the rocks with their beautiful song and appearance, as were the women in this film, in a way. Pete was the first to hear them and upon getting Everett to stop the car he bolted into the woods until he found the clearing, followed by his two companions as all three were slowly but surely bewitched by the lovely and seductive women that continued singing even as the men tried to introduce themselves. And yes, the look on Delmar’s face is just priceless.
3. Po Lazarus
How anyone escaped a chain gang is kind of hard to imagine, but the three main characters in this story did it and were seen making their way across a field towards the nearest cover when the movie opened. From there it was a continual run from one hiding place to another, doing what they could and finding whatever they could to survive. Their flight would eventually take them to the train tracks where they would attempt to board a freight train, only to be flung off when Everett failed to help his companions aboard and was dragged off. Eventually though they did meet an old blind man making his way along on a handcar that would give them a prophecy that had to do with where they were bound to end up.
2. Down to the River to Pray
When the guys are stuck in the woods without the necessary parts for the car they took from Pete’s cousin Everett reveals that he stole a pocket watch from the same cousin, which causes Pete to get understandably upset. The irony of this is the fact that Pete’s cousin had already turned them over to the law in order to earn the bounty that was on their heads, so it seems a fair tit for tat kind of deal to Everett. But as they’re arguing about this they hear and then see a procession of singers that are headed to the nearby river to be baptized in the name of the lord. When Delmar and then Pete both take their turns Everett remains dubious.
1. I Am A Man of Constant Sorrows
A lot of people were thinking that George Clooney was doing the actual singing during this song, and it would have seemed like it but for the fact that he admitted that his voice as dubbed. He did practice for weeks to make it sound good but by the time he got in the booth he just couldn’t hit the notes that they needed him to and it seems that bringing in another singer was the best option. But he did make it look real enough to the point that a lot of people were fooled and it was a great moment in the movie that gave people the idea that Clooney was a great singer. Ah movie magic.
As Stephen Root’s character would say, “That was some mighty fine pickin’ and a diggin’!”