The Song of A Rambling Man
In the film “O Brother Where Art Thou”, the song “Man of Constant Sorrow” sung by the Soggy Bottom Boys themselves plays a large role throughout and adds an upbeat understanding of the lives of these wandering men. The song, written by Rod Stewart completes the film through the affects that it has on the overall movie as well as a few key scenes and without the song, the storyline would be confusing to many.
The song “Man of Constant Sorrow” is brought up many times throughout the movie and through the lyrics, depicts the lives of Everett, Pete, and Delmar as they run from their prison past and run toward an uncertain future. In the scene where the song first emerges in the film, the men sing this soon to be famous song “into a can” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YZtgZ5fHOuU) . The way the director chose to incorporate this song is important to this scene as well as to the movie as a whole because he has the main characters singing the song instead of leaving it as background music. This is of importance because through doing this, the director brings more attention to the song being sung rather than the actual events being taken place. The director chose to have the main characters sing the song in order to create a strong connection between the characters and the song itself, bringing a fuller understanding of the movies plot. This factor also brings credibility to the characters themselves and the song in which they sing.
The director also chose this song because of the emotional appeal that it would have on the film’s viewers. Through the lyrics, the song depicts a sad and lonesome life but the upbeat guitar playing and tunes show otherwise. The fast pace of the song is meant contradict the lyrics and show hope of a brighter future. To add, by being sung through the mouths of the characters themselves, the director aims at showing the audience that it is Everett, Pete, and Delmar’s futures that still hold hope. Typically, a movie based on three runaway criminals in which their futures hold very little certainty maintains a somber mood throughout the film. But, by having an upbeat song such as this one, the director and characters provide the audience with something to hold onto as they watch the their stories unfold.
“Man of Constant Sorrow” is sung again toward the end of the movie after Everett finds his wife and attempts to re-kindle the spark that has been blown out through time (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ivzVgsR2yEc) . The purpose of this song and audiences reaction to it in the movie show another key factor in why the director chose to incorporate this song so much in the film. As they sing, the audience begins to cheer and sing along to the Soggy Bottom Boys and their signature song. This was to show that even though the character’s pasts were full of sin and evil, God is merciful and forgives his children that may have strayed from their path. The concept of God, the Devil, and religion itself is a major theme throughout the movie and through the song and the scenes that it affects, the director, by the end of the film, aims at showing that even through a life full of crime and evil, one can still change for the better.
The movie “O Brother Where Art Though” would not be complete without this signature song and the director understood the role that this song played in the film. This film is put together very well and does a wonderful job at utilizing every aspect of both song choice and scenes in order to show the audience the director’s vision of the movie. I enjoyed this film and give it a rating of 5 out of 5.
“Man of Constant Sorrow” Lyrics: