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[[quoteright:287:https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/man-who-wasnt-5_403.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:287:I don't talk much, I just cut the hair.]]

->''"A movie about a barber who wants to be a dry cleaner"''
-->-- The pitch for the movie.

There is a totally emotionless barber named Ed Crane. It's 1949 and a bald man, Creighton Tolliver, has some sales pitch about "Dry Cleaning". Ed's wife, Doris, is having an affair with her boss, "Big" Dave Brewster. Ed decides to blackmail the pair to pay for a silent partnership. When Mr. Tolliver asks Mr. Brewster for the same amount of money for which he was being blackmailed, Mr. Brewster finds Mr. Tolliver and beats the whole story out of him. From there, [[BlackmailBackfire things spiral out of control]].

A FilmNoir from infamous oddballs Creator/TheCoenBrothers, played so straight that Creator/JamesMCain could have written it without any changes.
----
!!This film provides examples of:

* AmoralAttorney: The lawyer hired to defend [[spoiler:Doris]] is willing to spin ''any'' tale to get [[spoiler:her]] off the hook, so long as he thinks the jury might buy it. [[spoiler:When Ed makes a confession to him, he dismisses it out of hand, saying it's too cockamamie a story for anyone to believe.]]
* AlienAbduction: [[spoiler: According to his wife Big Dave was abducted; she thinks he was killed by TheGovernment to cover it up.]]
* ArcWords: "What kind of a man are you?"
* BigEater: Freddy Reidenschnieder.
* {{Blackmail}}
** BlackmailBackfire
* ContemplateOurNavels: "The hair. It keeps growing... It's part of us. And we cut it off."
* ChewbaccaDefense:
** Freddy Riedenschnieder's defense of Doris Crane involves a truly baffling spiel about the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle.
** And from the second trial where he spouts weird, vaguely existentialist drivel about Ed being a "New Man" in this morally ambiguous modern world who thus presumably is not responsible: "He told them to look, not at the facts, but at the meaning of the facts. Then he said the facts had no meaning."
* DownerEnding
* DeliberatelyMonochrome
* DeliberateValuesDissonance:
** Ed casually calls Mr. Tolliver, who is gay, "the pansy", not really as a slur so much as an appellation.
** In addition, there are plenty of references to "Japs" and "Wops".
* DrivenToSuicide: [[spoiler:Doris, because her affair with Big Dave will become public when her pregnancy is revealed.]]
* DullSurprise: Ed Crane, the character, has no emotions.
* FilmNoir: Played straight to the point it snaps.
* FilleFatale: Birdy. When driving back from visiting the teacher, Birdy makes a pass at Ed and attempts to perform oral sex on him, causing Ed to lose control of the car and crash.
* FlamboyantGay: Creator/JonPolito as Creighton Tolliver. He made a pass at Ed by sitting back on his bed, winking at him, and loosening his necktie. Most people today would consider that "relaxing," but apparently in 1940s America it was a blatant come-on. You couldn't be ''too'' flamboyant without getting arrested.
* FramingTheGuiltyParty: Category 2, in a way. [[spoiler:While Ed, Doris, and Riedenschneider are brainstorming Doris's defense, Ed states that he killed Big Dave. Riedenschneider doesn't notice (or doesn't care) that he just confessed to the crime, and mulls over how well accusing Ed of murdering Big Dave in a jealous rage would hold up in court. He rules it out for being too implausible.]]
* TheNounWhoVerbed: The title.
* IllNeverTellYouWhatImTellingYou: Ridenschneider comes up with a theory about Big Dave being blackmailed to get Doris acquitted, but needs her to corroborate the story. Legally, he can't suborn perjury, so he insists that he's ''not'' telling her what to say.
-->"They called, they demanded money. Did Big Dave mention that it was something about his war service? I don't know, I wasn't there, ''you'll'' have to tell ''us''. Maybe he specified, maybe he didn't; I'm not putting words in your mouth..."
* IShouldWriteABookAboutThis: [[spoiler:Just before his execution, Ed writes his life story for publication in a pulp men's magazine. He apologizes to the audience for the unnecessary digressions in the story we have just heard narrated, explaining he was paid by the word.]]
* ItWillNeverCatchOn: "Dry" Cleaning. [[spoiler:Subverted in that it doesn't, instead the salesman is murdered!]]
* LiteraryAllusionTitle: Taken from the poem "Antagonish" by William Hughes Mearns.
* PhonyVeteran: "Big" Dave Brewster boasts about his heroic exploits in the Pacific theater of UsefulNotes/WorldWarII while it turns out he in fact served throughout the war in a administrative capacity in the San Francisco naval yard.
* ThePollyanna: Ed is perhaps the oddest version in film history, mixed with enormous amounts of apathy and stoicism. Even with all the bad things that happen, he never holds anyone up for blame and is unresentful of even the worst that fate hands him. Even at the end, he holds no ill will against the world.
* {{Narrator}}: Ed Crane. Oddly enough, the least [[FirstPersonSmartass smart ass]] person in the world.
* ShoutOut: A notable one to ''Film/TheNightOfTheHunter''.
* SmokingIsCool: Seriously, don't watch this movie if you've recently quit smoking.
* TheStoic: Ed Crane.
* TwiceToldTale: The similarities to Creator/AlbertCamus' ''[[Literature/TheStranger L'Étranger]]'' are undeniable.
----

to:

[[quoteright:287:https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/man-who-wasnt-5_403.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:287:I don't talk much, I just cut the hair.]]

->''"A movie about
''The Man Who Wasn't There'' may refer to:

* ''Film/TheManWhoWasntThere1983'',
a barber who wants to be a dry cleaner"''
-->-- The pitch for the movie.

There is a totally emotionless barber named Ed Crane. It's 1949 and a bald man, Creighton Tolliver, has some sales pitch about "Dry Cleaning". Ed's wife, Doris, is having an affair with her boss, "Big" Dave Brewster. Ed decides to blackmail the pair to pay for a silent partnership. When Mr. Tolliver asks Mr. Brewster for the same amount of money for which he was being blackmailed, Mr. Brewster finds Mr. Tolliver and beats the whole story out of him. From there, [[BlackmailBackfire things spiral out of control]].

A FilmNoir from infamous oddballs Creator/TheCoenBrothers, played so straight that Creator/JamesMCain could have written it without any changes.
----
!!This
1983 comedy film provides examples of:

starring Creator/SteveGuttenberg.
* AmoralAttorney: The lawyer hired to defend [[spoiler:Doris]] is willing to spin ''any'' tale to get [[spoiler:her]] off ''Film/TheManWhoWasntThere2001'', a 2001 neo-noir film directed by Creator/TheCoenBrothers and starring Creator/BillyBobThornton.

If an internal link led you here, please correct
the hook, so long as he thinks the jury might buy it. [[spoiler:When Ed makes a confession link to him, he dismisses it out of hand, saying it's too cockamamie a story for anyone to believe.]]
* AlienAbduction: [[spoiler: According to his wife Big Dave was abducted; she thinks he was killed by TheGovernment to cover it up.]]
* ArcWords: "What kind of a man are you?"
* BigEater: Freddy Reidenschnieder.
* {{Blackmail}}
** BlackmailBackfire
* ContemplateOurNavels: "The hair. It keeps growing... It's part of us. And we cut it off."
* ChewbaccaDefense:
** Freddy Riedenschnieder's defense of Doris Crane involves a truly baffling spiel about the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle.
** And from the second trial where he spouts weird, vaguely existentialist drivel about Ed being a "New Man" in this morally ambiguous modern world who thus presumably is not responsible: "He told them to look, not at the facts, but at the meaning of the facts. Then he said the facts had no meaning."
* DownerEnding
* DeliberatelyMonochrome
* DeliberateValuesDissonance:
** Ed casually calls Mr. Tolliver, who is gay, "the pansy", not really as a slur so much as an appellation.
** In addition, there are plenty of references to "Japs" and "Wops".
* DrivenToSuicide: [[spoiler:Doris, because her affair with Big Dave will become public when her pregnancy is revealed.]]
* DullSurprise: Ed Crane, the character, has no emotions.
* FilmNoir: Played straight
point to the point it snaps.
* FilleFatale: Birdy. When driving back from visiting the teacher, Birdy makes a pass at Ed and attempts to perform oral sex on him, causing Ed to lose control of the car and crash.
* FlamboyantGay: Creator/JonPolito as Creighton Tolliver. He made a pass at Ed by sitting back on his bed, winking at him, and loosening his necktie. Most people today would consider that "relaxing," but apparently in 1940s America it was a blatant come-on. You couldn't be ''too'' flamboyant without getting arrested.
* FramingTheGuiltyParty: Category 2, in a way. [[spoiler:While Ed, Doris, and Riedenschneider are brainstorming Doris's defense, Ed states that he killed Big Dave. Riedenschneider doesn't notice (or doesn't care) that he just confessed to the crime, and mulls over how well accusing Ed of murdering Big Dave in a jealous rage would hold up in court. He rules it out for being too implausible.]]
* TheNounWhoVerbed: The title.
* IllNeverTellYouWhatImTellingYou: Ridenschneider comes up with a theory about Big Dave being blackmailed to get Doris acquitted, but needs her to corroborate the story. Legally, he can't suborn perjury, so he insists that he's ''not'' telling her what to say.
-->"They called, they demanded money. Did Big Dave mention that it was something about his war service? I don't know, I wasn't there, ''you'll'' have to tell ''us''. Maybe he specified, maybe he didn't; I'm not putting words in your mouth..."
* IShouldWriteABookAboutThis: [[spoiler:Just before his execution, Ed writes his life story for publication in a pulp men's magazine. He apologizes to the audience for the unnecessary digressions in the story we have just heard narrated, explaining he was paid by the word.]]
* ItWillNeverCatchOn: "Dry" Cleaning. [[spoiler:Subverted in that it doesn't, instead the salesman is murdered!]]
* LiteraryAllusionTitle: Taken from the poem "Antagonish" by William Hughes Mearns.
* PhonyVeteran: "Big" Dave Brewster boasts about his heroic exploits in the Pacific theater of UsefulNotes/WorldWarII while it turns out he in fact served throughout the war in a administrative capacity in the San Francisco naval yard.
* ThePollyanna: Ed is perhaps the oddest version in film history, mixed with enormous amounts of apathy and stoicism. Even with all the bad things that happen, he never holds anyone up for blame and is unresentful of even the worst that fate hands him. Even at the end, he holds no ill will against the world.
* {{Narrator}}: Ed Crane. Oddly enough, the least [[FirstPersonSmartass smart ass]] person in the world.
* ShoutOut: A notable one to ''Film/TheNightOfTheHunter''.
* SmokingIsCool: Seriously, don't watch this movie if you've recently quit smoking.
* TheStoic: Ed Crane.
* TwiceToldTale: The similarities to Creator/AlbertCamus' ''[[Literature/TheStranger L'Étranger]]'' are undeniable.
----
right page.

Added DiffLines:

* DeliberateValuesDissonance:
** Ed casually calls Mr. Tolliver, who is gay, "the pansy", not really as a slur so much as an appellation.
** In addition, there are plenty of references to "Japs" and "Wops".


Added DiffLines:

* FilleFatale: Birdy. When driving back from visiting the teacher, Birdy makes a pass at Ed and attempts to perform oral sex on him, causing Ed to lose control of the car and crash.


* PhonyVeteran: "Big" Dave Brewster boasts about his heroic exploits in the Pacific theater of WorldWarII while it turns out he in fact served throughout the war in a administrative capacity in the San Francisco naval yard.

to:

* PhonyVeteran: "Big" Dave Brewster boasts about his heroic exploits in the Pacific theater of WorldWarII UsefulNotes/WorldWarII while it turns out he in fact served throughout the war in a administrative capacity in the San Francisco naval yard.


There is a totally emotionless barber named Ed Crane. It's 1949 and a bald man, Creighton Tolliver, has some sales pitch about "Dry Cleaning". Ed's wife, Doris, is having an affair with her boss, "Big" Dave Brewster. Ed decides to blackmail the pair to pay for a silent partnership. When Mr. Tolliver asks Mr. Brewster for the same amount of money for which he was being blackmailed, Mr. Brewster finds Mr. Tolliver and beats the whole story out of him. From there, [[BlackmailBlackfire things spiral out of control]].

to:

There is a totally emotionless barber named Ed Crane. It's 1949 and a bald man, Creighton Tolliver, has some sales pitch about "Dry Cleaning". Ed's wife, Doris, is having an affair with her boss, "Big" Dave Brewster. Ed decides to blackmail the pair to pay for a silent partnership. When Mr. Tolliver asks Mr. Brewster for the same amount of money for which he was being blackmailed, Mr. Brewster finds Mr. Tolliver and beats the whole story out of him. From there, [[BlackmailBlackfire [[BlackmailBackfire things spiral out of control]].



** BlackmailBlackfire

to:

** BlackmailBlackfireBlackmailBackfire


There is a totally emotionless barber named Ed Crane. It's 1949 and a bald man, Creighton Tolliver, has some sales pitch about "Dry Cleaning". Ed's wife, Doris, is having an affair with her boss, "Big" Dave Brewster. Ed decides to blackmail the pair to pay for a silent partnership. When Mr. Tolliver asks Mr. Brewster for the same amount of money for which he was being blackmailed, Mr. Brewster finds Mr. Tolliver and beats the whole story out of him. From there, things spiral out of control.

to:

There is a totally emotionless barber named Ed Crane. It's 1949 and a bald man, Creighton Tolliver, has some sales pitch about "Dry Cleaning". Ed's wife, Doris, is having an affair with her boss, "Big" Dave Brewster. Ed decides to blackmail the pair to pay for a silent partnership. When Mr. Tolliver asks Mr. Brewster for the same amount of money for which he was being blackmailed, Mr. Brewster finds Mr. Tolliver and beats the whole story out of him. From there, [[BlackmailBlackfire things spiral out of control.
control]].


Added DiffLines:

** BlackmailBlackfire


* AlienAbduction: [[spoiler: According to his wife Big Dave was abducted; she thinks he was killed by TheGovernment to cover it up]]

to:

* AlienAbduction: [[spoiler: According to his wife Big Dave was abducted; she thinks he was killed by TheGovernment to cover it up]]up.]]



* BigEater: Freddy Reidenschnieder

to:

* BigEater: Freddy ReidenschniederReidenschnieder.



* FlamboyantGay: Creator/JonPolito as Creighton Tolliver. He made a pass at Ed by sitting back on his bed, winking at him and loosening his necktie. Most people today would consider that "relaxing," but apparently in 1940s America it was a blatant come-on. You couldn't be ''too'' flamboyant without getting arrested.
* FramingTheGuiltyParty: Category 2, in a way. [[spoiler: While Ed, Doris, and Riedenschneider are brainstorming Doris's defense, Ed states that he killed Big Dave. Riedenschneider doesn't notice (or doesn't care) that he just confessed to the crime, and mulls over how well accusing Ed of murdering Big Dave in a jealous rage would hold up in court. He rules it out for being too implausible.]]

to:

* FlamboyantGay: Creator/JonPolito as Creighton Tolliver. He made a pass at Ed by sitting back on his bed, winking at him him, and loosening his necktie. Most people today would consider that "relaxing," but apparently in 1940s America it was a blatant come-on. You couldn't be ''too'' flamboyant without getting arrested.
* FramingTheGuiltyParty: Category 2, in a way. [[spoiler: While [[spoiler:While Ed, Doris, and Riedenschneider are brainstorming Doris's defense, Ed states that he killed Big Dave. Riedenschneider doesn't notice (or doesn't care) that he just confessed to the crime, and mulls over how well accusing Ed of murdering Big Dave in a jealous rage would hold up in court. He rules it out for being too implausible.]]



* IShouldWriteABookAboutThis: [[spoiler: Just before his execution Ed writes his life story for publication in a pulp men's magazine. He apologizes to the audience for the unnecessary digressions in the story we have just heard narrated, explaining he was paid by the word.]]

to:

* IShouldWriteABookAboutThis: [[spoiler: Just [[spoiler:Just before his execution execution, Ed writes his life story for publication in a pulp men's magazine. He apologizes to the audience for the unnecessary digressions in the story we have just heard narrated, explaining he was paid by the word.]]


* PhonyVeteran: "Big" Dave Brewster boast about his heroic exploits in the pacific theater of world war II while it turns out he in fact served throughout the war in a administrative capacity in the San Franciso naval yard.

to:

* PhonyVeteran: "Big" Dave Brewster boast boasts about his heroic exploits in the pacific Pacific theater of world war II WorldWarII while it turns out he in fact served throughout the war in a administrative capacity in the San Franciso Francisco naval yard.

Added DiffLines:

* LiteraryAllusionTitle: Taken from the poem "Antagonish" by William Hughes Mearns.


-->"They called, they demanded money. Did Big Dave mention that it was something about his war service? I don't know, I wasn't there, ''you'll'' have to tell *us*. Maybe he specified, maybe he didn't; I'm not putting words in your mouth..."

to:

-->"They called, they demanded money. Did Big Dave mention that it was something about his war service? I don't know, I wasn't there, ''you'll'' have to tell *us*.''us''. Maybe he specified, maybe he didn't; I'm not putting words in your mouth..."

Added DiffLines:

* IllNeverTellYouWhatImTellingYou: Ridenschneider comes up with a theory about Big Dave being blackmailed to get Doris acquitted, but needs her to corroborate the story. Legally, he can't suborn perjury, so he insists that he's ''not'' telling her what to say.
-->"They called, they demanded money. Did Big Dave mention that it was something about his war service? I don't know, I wasn't there, ''you'll'' have to tell *us*. Maybe he specified, maybe he didn't; I'm not putting words in your mouth..."


* SmokingIsCool:

to:

* SmokingIsCool:SmokingIsCool: Seriously, don't watch this movie if you've recently quit smoking.


* FlamboyantGay: Jon Polito as Creighton Tolliver. He made a pass at Ed by sitting back on his bed, winking at him and loosening his necktie. Most people today would consider that "relaxing," but apparently in 1940s America it was a blatant come-on. You couldn't be ''too'' flamboyant without getting arrested.

to:

* FlamboyantGay: Jon Polito Creator/JonPolito as Creighton Tolliver. He made a pass at Ed by sitting back on his bed, winking at him and loosening his necktie. Most people today would consider that "relaxing," but apparently in 1940s America it was a blatant come-on. You couldn't be ''too'' flamboyant without getting arrested.


* DVDCommentary: The only one Creator/TheCoenBrothers have done.

Added DiffLines:

* ArcWords: "What kind of a man are you?"


* TwiceToldTale: The similarities to Creator/AlbertCamus' ''[[TheStranger L'Étranger]]'' are undeniable.

to:

* TwiceToldTale: The similarities to Creator/AlbertCamus' ''[[TheStranger ''[[Literature/TheStranger L'Étranger]]'' are undeniable.

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