The Coen brothers, Joel and Ethan, are off-beat filmmakers, but their latest movie, O Brother, Where Art Thou?, is the best film released in 2000. O Brother is a tall tale of three 1930s convicts who escape from a Mississippi prison road gang and begin a journey that the film claims is loosely based on Homer’s Odyssey. George Clooney’s portrayal of Ulysses Everett McGill will evoke memories of Clark Gable. McGill, the leader of the escapees, is determined to get back home to his wife, Penny. He leads because, as he points out, he is the only one in the group “capable of abstract thought.”
A. M. Stroud III, a former prosecutor in Louisiana, expresses regret for the role he played in sending Glenn Ford to death row in 1984. “I was 33 years old. I was arrogant, judgmental, narcissistic and very full of myself. I was not as interested in justice as I was in winning.” Stroud says he presented dubious evidence from a forensic pathologist, precluded black jurors from the trial (Ford, since exonerated, is black), and ignored the fact that the appointed defense attorney had never before tried a criminal or capital case. “I . . . hope that providence will have more mercy for me than I showed Glenn Ford,” Stroud said in a letter to the editor of the Times of Shreveport. “But, I’m also sobered by the realization that I certainly am not deserving of it” (ABA Journal, March 25).