Filmsite Movie Review
The Big Lebowski (1998)
Pages: (1) (2) (3) (4)
Plot Synopsis (continued)

A Violent Altercation at the Bowling Alley - "You Were Over the Line":

Walter arrived 20 minutes late for a bowling match, and cheered on Donny who had just bowled a strike: "If you will it, it is no dream."

[Note: This referred to an Hasidic truth and slogan that was quoted in Old New Land by the 19th century founder of Zionism, author Theodore Herzl, who was urging for the Jewish state of Israel.]

He was holding a pet carrier - he was pet-sitting a Pomeranian owned by Hawaii-vacationing Cynthia and Marty Ackerman, his ex-wife and her boyfriend - and he responded to the Dude's complaints about kowtowing to his ex-wife: ("What do you mean brought it bowling? I didn't rent it shoes. I'm not buying it a f--kin' beer. He's not taking your f--kin' turn, Dude!"). Walter had remained loyal to his ex-wife and was sympathetic to her spoiled "show-dog" that hadn't been boarded because of its sensitive nature: ("This is a f--king show dog with f--kin' papers. You can't board it. It gets upset, its hair falls out").

[Note: In point of fact, the dog, named Thurston (acc. to the plaque on the carrier) was inaccurately identified as a Pomeranian. It was actually a Yorkshire terrier.]

Their team of three was competing against black-shirted Cavaliers in a shared lane - and an argument erupted when Walter accused long gray-haired hippie bowler Smokey (Jimmie Dale Gilmore) on the rival team of committing a minor foul infraction by crossing over the line. He insisted on scoring it properly with a zero rather than an 8:

"I'm sorry, Smokey, You were over the line, that's a foul...Excuse me! Mark it zero. Next frame...Smokey, this is not Nam. This is bowling. There are rules....This is a league game. This determines who enters the next round-robin, am I wrong?...Smokey my friend. You're entering a world of pain."

In a scary scene, the extremist Walter removed a gun from his satchel, brandished it and screamed out: "HAS THE WHOLE WORLD GONE CRAZY? AM I THE ONLY ONE AROUND HERE WHO GIVES A S--T ABOUT THE RULES? MARK IT ZERO!" The Dude attempted to calm Walter when the gun was pointed at Smokey's head, claiming it was only a game, and that the cops had been called. Walter's lunatic, violent and hot-tempered episode resulted in Smokey backing down: "All right!! It's f--king zero! You happy, you crazy f--k?" Walter again insisted: "It's a league game, Smoke."

Afterwards as they walked to the parking lot and sat in the Dude's car, a 1973 Ford Gran Torino (4-door), the Dude explained that even though Walter had been technically right, he was an "asshole" for treating the pacifistic and "fragile" Smokey so viciously, since he had "emotional problems": "You can't do that man. These guys, you know, they're like me, they're pacifists. Smokey was a conscientious objector." The Dude promoted being laid-back and not so trigger-happy: "Man, will ya just, just take it easy, man." Behind them, a police squad car (with siren) pulled up and two officers rushed inside with guns drawn. Walter objected to using pacifism as an excuse for not being aggressive: ("Pacifism is not somethin' to hide behind"). Clearly misguided, he believed that his own behavior was rational and "perfectly calm."

Multiple Answering Machine Phone Messages, and the Dude's Neighbor Marty:

In the Dude's bungalow, Lebowski's beautiful replacement Persian rug now decorated his floor - a close-up of its center detailed a blue diamond within an oval-shaped center. The Dude (wearing a brown robe) was fixing himself a White Russian at his tiki-bar as he listened to the 1972 tune: "Her Eyes Are a Blue Million Miles" - a reference to the rug's design - by Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band. He stood balancing on one foot in front of a framed 1970 picture of his bowling aficionado hero - President Richard Nixon rolling a game in the White House in a bowling alley installed in 1969. There were a number of messages on the Dude's answering-machine that he played as he fixed and drank his favorite libation:

  • a message from Smokey gave him "fair warning" that a complaint was going to be submitted to the league regarding Walter - he threatened to set aside or even forfeit the next round of the Dude's team during match play
  • the first of two messages from a very impatient Brandt: (1) a request to return a call to Mr. Lebowski's office
  • a message from Bill Selliger, a representative in the Southern California Bowling League, who explained how Walter's brandishing of a firearm during league play broke the league's bylaws and was a serious infraction
  • Brandt's second call: (2) to arrange for the Dude's pickup by a limousine, and an urgent request for help (while acknowledging that he wasn't calling about the misappropriated rug)

The Dude was interrupted by a knock on his door - chubby landlord Martin 'Marty' Randall (Jack Kehler) invited him to an amateur theatre performance (at Crane Jackson's "Fountain Street Theater" venue) of his dance quintet "cycle" on Tuesday night. As he was about to leave, Marty turned back to remark: "Tomorrow's already the 10th" - (a hint about the rent payment) - but the Dude misunderstood and thought he was speaking about the quick passage of time. He responded with only a smile: "Far out!" but suddenly it clicked in his head, and was reinforced when Marty added: "Just slip the rent under my door." As the Dude listened to the second Brandt message, he practiced some slow-motion Tai-Chi moves on his new rug.

A Second Visit with Mr. Lebowski - Bunny's Kidnapping and Her Ransom Note:

When the Dude returned to Mr. Lebowski's manor, Brandt told him that his boss was in seclusion in the West Wing. With a plaid blanket thrown over his knees as he stared into a fireplace while listening to Mozart's Requiem in D Minor, Lebowski was deep in thought. He was contemplating his own fateful "life of achievement," his accomplishments despite his loss of legs, and his impotence:

"I can look back on a life of achievement, on challenges met, competitors bested, obstacles overcome. I've accomplished more than most men, and without the use of my legs. What makes a man, Mr. Lebowski?...Is it being prepared to do the right thing? Whatever the cost? Isn't that what makes a man?"

The Dude agreed but added sexual impotence to the qualifications for manliness: "That and a pair of testicles" - and then asked permission to smoke a joint. The distraught, teary-eyed Lebowski spoke about his beloved wife Bunny, calling her "the light of my life," and confessing: "Strong men also cry."

Lebowski had received a fax that morning - a ransom note regarding his kidnapped wife - the extortionist message was composed of clipped-together cut-outs from magazines:


Lebowski could be heard blaming the low-lifes of society for her abduction: "Cowards! Weaklings. Bums" - ironically, these were same insinuations that he had earlier made to characterize the Dude, but now he was calling on the Dude for help! In the hallway, Brandt explained how the Dude was being recruited (in exchange for "a generous offer") to serve as a "courier" to deliver a ransom sum of $1 million dollars to free the young, allegedly kidnapped wife Bunny - and in the process, to identify Bunny's kidnappers:

Dude: "Why me, man?"
Brandt: "He believes that the culprits might be the very people who, uh, soiled your rug, and you're in a unique position to confirm or, disconfirm that suspicion."
Dude: "He thinks the carpet-pissers did this?"
Brandt: "Well, Dude, we just don't know."

It was suspected that the Dude's "carpet-pissers" were also the extortionists - hired by porn king Treehorn as a means to pressure Mr. Lebowski to pay off his wife's indebtedness.

The Introduction of 'Jesus' Quintana at the Bowling Alley:

To the Spanish-tinged tune of "Hotel California" (performed by the Gipsy Kings) on the bowling alley's sound system, slick long-haired (tied back with a black hair-net) Hispanic bowler 'Jesus' Quintana (John Turturro) was introduced in slow-motion as he prepared to bowl. He was a formidable rival opponent of The Dude's bowling team. Close-ups of his purple bowling outfit (shoes, stretch socks, polyester pants and jump-suit with a red racing stripe down each leg), with a large black leather finger-brace, also showcased a long painted pinky fingernail on one of the ring-laden fingers of his left hand. (The rings were awarded for three 'perfect-games'.) As he stood ready to roll his pink bowling ball down the alley, the flamboyant 'Jesus' erotically and seductively licked his bowling ball. His left breast pocket was emblazoned with his embroidery-stitched first name - "Jesus."

[Note: The character of 'Jesus' Quintana became the writer, star and director of a 'Lebowski' spin-off, The Jesus Rolls (2020). It served as a partial remake of Bertrand Blier's Going Places (1974, Fr.), the film’s original title, co-starring Audrey Tatou, Bobby Cannavale, Jon Hamm, and Susan Sarandon.]

After he smoothly rolled a strike, he performed a strange victory dance to the Gipsy Kings' song, in which he jumped backwards from one foot to the other (in an imitation of Muhammad Ali?), and then strutted back to his seat. The Dude's team observed him from afar at the next lane over, lounging back in colorful molded plastic chairs, and saw him thrust his black-gloved right-hand fist into the air. The Dude and Walter exchanged conversation about him. Walter had nothing but bad things to say about 'Jesus' - he was a convicted child-molester:

Dude: "F--kin' Quintana - That creep can roll, man."
Walter: "Yeah, but he's a pervert, Dude....He's a sex offender with a record. He did six months in Chino for exposin' himself to an eight year old...When he moved to Hollywood, he had to go door to door to tell everyone he was a pederast."

[Note: A brief flashback showed registered sex offender Quintana during a 'walk of shame' down his residential street to inform the neighbors of his presence. At one home after ringing the door-bell, an intimidating, beer-swigging red-necked repairman answered the door. The brief scene was filmed on the 900-1000 block of N. Kenmore Ave. in East Hollywood, about 5 blocks east from the bowling alley. However, Megan's Law requiring notification of neighbors about sex offenders in their presence was not instituted until 1996.]

Of course, Donny asked: "What's a pederast, Walter?" and was rebuked as usual for his lack of awareness: "Shut the f--k up, Donny."

The Dude was pleased with Lebowski's generous offer of $20,000 dollars for the 'hand-off' of ransom money to release his trophy wife Bunny, and showed off his personal beeper: "Twenty grand, man. And of course I still keep the rug." Walter was dismissive of Donny's continual interruptions and lack of understanding: "Life does not stop and start at your miserable piece of s--t."

The Dude, assuming an investigator's stance, proposed a "Look Who It Benefits" theory (Who had the most to gain?) about the kidnapping to postulate and identify who (or what) might be the most probable suspect (or scenario) - he theorized that those who defiled his rug were blameless. He hypothesized that the abduction had been faked by the gold-digging Bunny:

"I figure it's easy money, ya know, it's all pretty harmless. She probably kidnapped herself...Rug-pee-ers did not do this. Look at it. A young trophy wife marries this guy for his money. She figures he isn't givin' her enough, ya know. She owes money all over town -- uhh....It's all a God-damn fake, man. It's like Lenin said, you look for the person who will benefit....Uh, you know what I'm tryin' to say."

[Note: The Dude was referencing Lenin's "Who Benefits?" quote - actually derived from Roman author Cicero's "Cui bono?" (literally, 'To whom is it a benefit?') that was attributed to Lucius Cassius.]

Buying into the theory entirely as fact (for the remainder of the film), Walter commented twice: "That f--kin' bitch!", and Donny interjected three times (vainly trying to be helpful with a non sequitur): "I am the walrus." Walter finally had enough of Donny: "Shut the f--k up, Donny! V.I. Lenin! Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov!"

[Note: The Dude's mention of the Russian politician 'Lenin' was misinterpreted by Donny, who mistakenly thought he was speaking about John Lennon (sounds like Lenin), the writer of the Beatles' song "I am the Walrus" - a non-sensical song appearing on 1967's Magical Mystery Tour album. The idea for the Walrus came from Lewis Carroll's sequel poem The Walrus and The Carpenter.]

Meanwhile nearby, the exhibitionist, competitive bowler 'Jesus' (with his short, fat Irish partner Liam O'Brien (James G. Hoosier)) was polishing his bowling ball by suspending it in a cloth and vigorously rubbing it. Walter expressed deep-seated misogynistic attitudes - tangentially connected to his post-Vietnam PTSD - and was extremely bitter about the opportunistic lives of the rich and famous:

"Those rich f--ks! This whole f--kin' thing -- I did not watch my buddies die face down in the muck so that this f--kin' strumpet....This f--kin' whore can waltz around town..."

'Jesus' approached and threatened the Dude and Walter with a taunting challenge about their semi-final match:

"Are you ready to be f--ked, man? I see you rolled your way into the semis. Dios mio, man. Liam and me, we're gonna f--k you up....Let me tell you something, pendejo. You pull any of your crazy s--t with us, you flash a piece out on the lanes, I'll take it away from you, and stick it up your ass and pull the f--kin' trigger 'til it goes click....Nobody f--ks with the Jesus..."

[Note: Throughout the entire film, the Dude was never seen actually bowling. And Donny wore many personalized bowling shirts (second-hand?), but never one with his own name embroidered onto it.]

Another Rug-Theft in the Dude's Bungalow - First Dream Sequence:

An overhead shot looked down on the Dude lying on his rug in his bungalow, engaged in one of his favorite past-times - listening to his Sony Walkman headset to a cassette recording of a bowling tournament - the VENICE BEACH LEAGUE PLAYOFFS 1987 - bowling pins were heard being struck on a lane. He looked up and saw three individuals (later known as Maude's thugs, her studio assistants) peering down at him (l to r):

  • Thug # 1 (Carlos Leon) - a curly-haired, bearded white man, with jean shirt and shorts
  • Maude (Julianne Moore) - a red-headed white woman with bangs, wearing a full-length, high-collared dark brown robe
  • Thug # 2 (Terrence Burton) - a bald black man , with an earring in his left ear, also with jean shirt and pants

Thug # 1 stooped down and punched the Dude - fireworks-sparks flew (with the sound of bowling pins being struck) at the start of a dream sequence, as Dylan's "The Man in Me" played on the soundtrack ("La, la, la, la, la...").

With his arms stretched out in front of him, the Dude flew over a nightscape of the city of Los Angeles (at sunset) like Superman. Ahead of him, the red-haired female rode away atop his rug - sailing along as if she was on a magic carpet. As the Dude did some breast-strokes to keep up with her, a bowling ball was attached to his right hand. Its gravitational weight abruptly propelled and pulled him downward, and he precipitously fell from the sky toward the city lights below.

The next image was a gigantic close-up of an oncoming, shiny black bowling ball being regurgitated from the ball-retrieval system on a bowling alley, and from the return, it surged forward threatening to roll over a miniaturized version of the Dude standing in its guide-path. [Note: Homage was being paid to the opening sequence in Spielberg's film Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) when Indy Jones was in the path of a giant boulder.]

A disorienting shot assumed the POV of the rolling bowling ball (with three finger holes) - the camera (or the Dude himself) had become trapped INSIDE the ball - as it spun down the bowling lane after being rolled by the red-haired woman. After many rotations, the ball struck the pins at the end of the alley, sending them flying into pitch blackness. The last words of the lyrics played: "But oh-oh, what a wonderful feeling." The disoriented Dude awoke (returned to consciousness) on his bare hardwood floor (the rug had disappeared) when his beeper-pager began to flash a red alert with a beeping noise.

The Ransom Pay-Off With a "Ringer":

In the next scene later that evening, the Dude was accompanied by Brandt and walking down the hallway in Lebowski's manor, where he was informed about the details of the ransom payoff. The Dude was handed a large cellular phone and a hard-case metal case (presumably with the money inside) from a locked safe (next to a full-sized state of a female with a trident):

"They called about eighty minutes ago. They want you to take the money, drive north on the 405. They will call you on the portable phone with instructions in about forty minutes. One person only, they were very clear on that, or I'd go with you. One person only....Here's the money and the phone. Please, Dude, follow whatever instructions they give....Her life is in your hands."

The Dude was in his 1973 Ford Torino - and from his POV, he drove up to a small strip-mall storefront with bars on the window - labeled SOBCHAK SECURITY (with SS initials atop a lock - the business' logo) (with three phrases: STRENGTH, SECURITY, PEACE OF MIND).

[Note: The filming location was a tiny strip-mall at 6757 Santa Monica Blvd. at North McCadden Place in Hollywood. The initials for Jewish Walter's business, Sobchak Security, were "SS" - the same as Nazi Germany's infamous Schutzstaffel, the black-uniformed elite corps and self-described 'political soldiers' of the Nazi Party and the Third Reich.]

Walter was awaiting being picked up outside his business, wearing green combat fatigues and a bandana (from his Vietnam War days) - and carrying a worn leather briefcase and a brown paper-wrapped and duct-taped bundle (suspiciously shaped like a weapon). Walter insisted on driving the Dude's car, as the Dude inspected the contents of Walter's briefcase: it held his underwear ("My dirty undies, Dude. Laundry, the whites") - the case was to be used as a "ringer" (or decoy ransom payment). Walter had taken it upon himself to direct their operation and abscond with the $1 million in ransom money:

"I got to thinking - why should we settle for a measly f--kin' twenty grand -- ...when we can keep the entire million. Am I wrong?...Oh, but it is a game. You said so yourself. She kidnapped herself."

En route, they were interrupted by a call on the cellphone - the caller was a German-accented thug who became nervous when the Dude (calling himself the 'Bagman') said he had a driver, and he instantly hung up. The Dude repeated Brandt's concern to Walter and blamed him for the screw-up:

Dude: "He hung up, man! You f--ked it up! You f--ked it up! Her life was in our hands, man!...We're screwed now! We don't get s--t, they're gonna kill her! We're f--ked, Walter!"
Walter: "Nothing is f--ked, Dude. Come on. You're being very un-Dude. They'll call back. Look, she kidnapped herself - (the phone rang) You see? Nothin's f--ked here, Dude. Nothing is f--ked. They're a bunch of f--kin' amateurs."

As they bickered with each other, the German individual called back and allowed the pay-off to proceed: "OK, we proceed. But only if there's no funny stuff." Driving onward toward Simi Valley Road (with a cassette tape playing of Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Run Through the Jungle"), Walter hypothesized how they would double-cross the kidnappers:

Walter: "So, all we gotta do is get her back, no one's in a position to complain, and we keep the baksheesh....:We make the handoff, I grab one of 'em, beat it out of him."
Dude (incredulous and sarcastic): "Yeah. That's a great plan, Walter, that's f--kin' ingenious, if I understand it correctly. That's a Swiss f--kin' watch." [Note: Swiss watches were known for being well-crafted, but in this situation, Walter's plan was maybe not so well thought-out.]
Walter: "That's right, Dude. The beauty of this is its simplicity. Once a plan gets too complex, everything can go wrong. If there's one thing I learned in 'Nam --"

The phone rang again and they were directed in the hand-off to throw the satchel off a 'wooden bridge' from the left window as they drove over.

[Note: The drop-off for the ransom money was filmed at 196 Torrey Road, close to the Santa Clara River on Hwy. 126 and near the tiny towns of Piru and Buckhorn. This was about 45 miles away - in a northwesterly direction - from Sobchak Security in Hollywood. At the site, the set decorators made it appear to look like a 'wooden bridge,' but no such bridge actually existed.]

Walter complained that the kidnappers' demands wrecked his simple plan: "No, we can't do that, Dude. That f--ks up our plan." The Dude insisted they must follow through on their original plan and do whatever the kidnappers said: "I love ya, but sooner or later, you're gonna have to face the fact that you're a god-damn moron." At the bridge, Walter tossed out "the ringer" - the bag with his undies, and then carried through with his plan to double back (with the Dude holding the wheel and going 15 mph), while Walter wielded his high-powered Uzi automatic weapon - as if he was on the 'Nam battlefield:

"At fifteen mph, I roll out! I double back, I grab one of 'em and beat it out of him! The Uzi!...You didn't think I was rolling out of here naked, did ya!...Let's take that hill!"

As Walter rolled out of the slow-moving vehicle, he lost control and dropped the unwrapped Uzi - the weapon misfired when it struck the pavement and hit the back of the car (and blew one of the rear tires) and the left tail-light. The Dude had grabbed the wheel, but the car crashed into a telephone pole. Remarkably, the plan succeeded when the kidnappers (three thugs on motorcross bikes who had emerged from under the bridge) were seen speeding off in the opposite direction. Initially thinking that their plan had failed, the Dude frantically ran to try and catch up with the bikers, while waving the real metal case (with the alleged $1 million) in the air:

"WE HAVE IT! WE HAVE IT!! WE HAVE IT!... WE have it."

There was a double-meaning to the Dude's shouts - he was offering the kidnappers the real ransom case, while also realizing that their plan had succeeded. Walter decided to top off the night at the bowling alley: "Aw, f--k it, Dude, let's go bowling."

Back at the Bowling Alley After the Failed Drop-Off - The Dude's Stolen Car:

While Walter was bowling on Lane 24 with the Dude sitting in deep contemplation (or despondency), the portable phone rang again and again, but the Dude neglected to answer it. Walter approached after rolling, and used a Jewish expression to metaphorically describe life: "'It's Etz Hayim', Dude, as the ex used to say."

[Note: Also, "Eitz Chaim" - translated "Tree of Life," was taken from the verse in the Old Testament, Genesis 2:9. It was also a reference to the Torah, the first five books of the Bible.]

The Dude was worried about how they would escape retribution after their botched hand-off, and save the kidnapping victim: "What the f--k are we gonna tell Lebowski?...They're gonna kill that poor woman, man." Walter was "100% certain" and kept reassuring the Dude that Bunny hadn't really been kidnapped: "That poor woman - that poor slut - kidnapped herself. Come on, Dude. You said so yourself.." At the same time, Donny interjected himself into the conversation (and for once was listened to by Walter), with a brief announcement that it was posted that they were scheduled to play in the next round of the bowling tournament against Quintana, scheduled for Saturday. Walter calmly responded: "Well, they'll have to reschedule." He also name-called Burkhalter - the "kraut" at the league office in charge of scheduling, that there were prohibitions against his playing on the Sabbath ("I DON'T ROLL ON SHABBAS!") - and that they never honored his faith's restrictions ("They can f--kin' unpost it!").

But the Dude continued to be very upset:

Dude: "They're gonna kill that poor woman, man. What am I gonna tell Lebowski?"
Walter: "Come on, Dude, uh, eventually she'll get sick of her little game and, you know, wander on back...."

In the midst of Walter's conversation with the Dude, Donny was also asking about Walter's prohibitions on the Sabbath. A devout Jew, Walter reacted with a staunch refusal to play on his Sabbath day. He raised his voice and responded to Donny:

Donny: How come you don't roll on Saturday, Walter?"
Walter: "I'm Shomer Shabbas....Saturday, Donny, is Shabbas. The Jewish day of rest. That means I don't work. I don't drive a car, I don't f--kin' ride in a car, I don't handle money, I don't turn on the oven. And I sure as s--t DON'T F--KIN' ROLL!...SHOMER SHABBAS!"

Feeling neglected in the midst of Walter's furious rants, the Dude began to storm out of the bowling alley, followed by his two buddies. Walter wanted to gloss over their failed drop-off, but the Dude refused to lie about it. He was most upset that as a result, Bunny would be killed by the kidnappers:

Dude: "Walter, we didn't make the f--kin' hand-off, man! They didn't get the f--kin' money! And they're gonna, they're gonna..."
Walter: "They're gonna kill that poor woman. They're gonna kill that poor woman!"

Still absorbed about Walter's refused to play on Saturday, Donny asked an innocent and common-sense question (but Walter ignored and didn't answer):

"Hey Walter, if you can't ride in a car, then how do you get around on Shammas - ?"

[Note: Donny mistakenly used the word "Shammas" instead of "Shabbas" - a deliberate play on words in the Coen's script. "Shammas" referred to the caretaker of a synagogue. A second meaning was that it was the 9th candle in a menora candelabra used for Hanukkah candles.]

Walter ignored Donny's question, as usual, and didn't answer. He was gloating that they had come out of the situation rich:

Walter: "Really, Dude, you surprise me. They're not gonna kill s--t. They're not gonna do s--t. What can they do to her? They're a bunch of f--kin' amateurs, and meanwhile, look at the bottom line. Who's sittin' on a million f--kin' dollars? Am I wrong?...Who's got a f--kin' million f--kin' dollars sittin' in the trunk of our car?" [Note: Actually, the briefcase was in the backseat of the car, NOT the trunk.]
Dude: "Our car, Walter?"
Walter: "And what do they got? My dirty undies. My f--kin' whites."

Out in the parking lot (as the phone continued to ring but went unanswered), they stopped cold at an empty parking space where it was discovered that the Dude's car was missing and presumably stolen - with the $1 million dollars of ransom money (in Lebowski's metal case):

Walter: "Say, Dude, where is your car?"
Donny: "Who's got your undies, Walter?"
Walter: "Where's your car, Dude?"
Dude: "You don't know, Walter?"
Walter: "Hmm. It was parked in a handicap zone. Perhaps they towed it."
Dude: "You f--kin' know it's been stolen!"
Walter: "Well, certainly that's a possibility, Dude."

Fed up, the Dude walked home by himself.

The Dude's Report of The Car Theft to Two Cops:

In his living room, the Dude still grasped the unanswered ringing mobile phone - the sound bridge transition. The unemployed Dude reported the theft of his vehicle to two uniformed police officers:

  • Older Black Cop (Richard Gant), quiet and experienced
  • Younger White Cop (Christian Clemenson), an earnest rookie

On the Dude's coffee table, there was a book on Japanese Cooking, a Magic 8-Ball, a single slip-on casual soft-sided sneaker, a few burnt candles, a styrofoam take-out drinking cup with lid and straw, and a large clay ash-tray with a bowling pin-shaped pipe and marijuana ashes. He described his car as green with some rusted brown coloration areas. Valuables included a cassette tape deck, some Creedence Clearwater Revival tapes, and a briefcase with business papers inside. He also mentioned an unrelated theft - a stolen rug.

The Dude listened to his home phone's answering machine as a call came in from Maude Lebowski - the woman involved in the rug theft during the second assault on his bungalow:

"Mr. Lebowski, I'd like to see you. Call when you get home and I'll send a car for you. My name is Maude Lebowski. I'm the one who took your rug."

The young cop noted: "Well, guess we can close the file on that one."

The Introduction of Maude Lebowski:

The Dude entered Maude Lebowski's LA loft or warehouse - first glimpsing down at fresh and splotchy lines of paint on the concrete tiled floor.

[Note: The location of the loft-warehouse was in downtown Los Angeles on the 5th floor of the multi-leveled Palace Theatre (built in 1911, originally known as "The Orpheum" but renamed in 1926 when it became a silent movie house), at 630 S. Broadway, conspicuously across the street from the Los Angeles Theatre.]

He found himself in a long, shadowy dark tunnel with echoing sounds of weird, heavy wordless chanting and nonsensical syllabic vocalizing that reverberated in the cavernous studio space.

[Note: Before Maude appeared, the soundtrack was playing minimalist, avant-garde vocalist Meredith Monk's "Walking Song."]

He walked toward a gigantic slanted ramp at the end of the hallway. Propped up on the ramp was an art canvas, where an unfinished, crude image of a naked woman with splayed legs, similar to the shape of a snow angel enclosed in a circle, was illuminated by four spotlights on tripods at each corner.

[Note: The canvas artwork resembled Leonardo Da Vinci's drawing The Vitruvian Man (from the late 15th century), although it was a female figure. On the wall to the Dude's right was a very large painting (or wall hanging) of a giant pair of scissors - pointed upward - on a red background. Later, it would become the trigger stimulus for the Dude's "Gutterballs" hallucination of castration by the three threatening, red-suited nihilists with oversized scissors.]

From behind, he heard a rumbling noise - he turned, ducked and looked overhead to view a nude female body in a flying trapeze harness coming towards him on a zip-line, with a dripping paint brush in each hand, aiming to splatter or fling paint onto the canvas on the floor.

[Note: Maude's feminist artwork (self-described as "strongly vaginal") was in itself created by splattered dabs of paint onto a human figure, similar to the ejaculation of semen after masturbation. Some of the paint actually sprinkled onto the Dude's face.]

It was an example of theatrical, living erotic art, exhibited by Mr. Lebowski's estranged, sophisticated and idiosyncratic daughter - an eccentric, free-thinking, super-stoic, avante-garde feminist artist.

[Note: The character of Maude Lebowski was based upon two real-life performance artists, John Lennon's partner Yoko Ono, and visual experimental artist and exhibitionist Carolee Schneemann, who was known in the mid-1970s for suspending herself naked on a harness attached to the ceiling from which she was able to paint a canvas.]

The two thugs, who had accompanied Maude to steal the Dude's replacement rug, stood by to help her out of the harness and cover up her naked body (except for boots) with a dark-green robe.

When she spoke to the Dude about the subject of her art work, she delivered domineering statements and humorless questions with a rapid-fire, elevated, British-accented monotone voice (a "vagina monologue" of sorts, that directly influenced the creation of the off-Broadway play The Vagina Monologues in the mid-1990s):

"Does the female form make you uncomfortable, Mr. Lebowski?...My art has been commended as being strongly vaginal, which bothers some men. The word itself makes some men uncomfortable. Vagina....Yes, they don't like hearing it and find it difficult to say, whereas without batting an eye, a man will refer to his dick or his rod or his Johnson."

She then explained why she had stolen the rug: "My father told me he's agreed to let you have the rug, but it was a gift from me to my late mother, and so was not his to give." At her wet bar, Maude reached for a towel to wipe her hands, and then handed it to the Dude (who had paint dabs on his forehead): "Now, your face." She also knew all about the kidnapping and that he had acted as a courier for her father - she was disgusted by him and the entire situation: "The whole thing stinks to high heaven."

And then she fearlessly and confidently asked his opinion about sex (she thought of it as a "zesty enterprise"), thinking that he might react with shock or accept her signal to have sex, but he was not at all phased, uncomfortable, or intrigued. While the Dude was more focused on his missing rug, she accused her 'stepmother' of being a nymphomaniac:

"Do you like sex, Mr. Lebowski?...Sex. The physical act of love. Coitus. Do you like it?...You're not interested in sex?...I like it too. It's a male myth about feminists that we hate sex. It can be a natural, zesty enterprise. However, there are some people - it is called satyriasis in men, nymphomania in women - who engage in it compulsively and without joy....Oh yes, Mr. Lebowski, these unfortunate souls cannot love in the true sense of the word. Our mutual acquaintance Bunny is one of these."

[Ironically, later in the film, Maude hypocritically espoused her belief in sex for procreational purposes only.]

The Dude changed the subject as he walked over to the wet bar to mix himself a White Russian: "Do you have any Kahlua?" Maude took a TV remote into her hands and began to play one of Bunny's VHS porn videotapes titled Logjammin' - a Jackie Treehorn Presentation. A convertible driver with sunglasses and long-hair blowing in the wind was cruising along a coastal highway. The Dude immediately recognized the male actor (credited as Karl Hungus): "I know that guy. He's a nihilist" - he was Bunny's German boyfriend Uli (in the swimming pool), and co-starring with her (credited as Bunny LaJoya).

In the porn flick, curly-haired Bunny (wearing skimpy see-through lingerie, high-heels) answered her apartment door to let in long-haired blonde, German-accented Karl - a cable TV repair employee wearing a white jump-suit with cut-off sleeves. When Bunny's friend Sherry (porn star Asia Carrera) emerged topless from a shower, Maude negatively blurted out: "The story is ludicrous," while the Dude was calmly dismissive - but had missed the entire point: "He fixes the cable?"

Maude began a long and contemptuous diatribe about her crooked philanthropist father and his unfaithful, promiscuous, sex-crazed and gold-digging wife who was "banging" Treehorn. Her denouncement of Bunny confirmed the Dude's hypothetical suspicions that Bunny had kidnapped herself in order to repay her debt to Treehorn. She also informed the Dude that the ransom money was improperly taken out of her father’s children’s fund. As a co-trustee of the Lebowski Foundation, she proposed hiring the Dude to recover the $1 million dollars taken from the family's personal foundation to pay off Bunny's so-called 'ransom', before police learned of her dishonest father's embezzlement:

"Little matter to me that this woman chose to pursue a career in pornography, nor that she has been banging Jackie Treehorn, to use the parlance of our times. However, I am one of the two trustees of the Lebowski Foundation, the other being my father. The Foundation takes youngsters from Watts and... Little Lebowski Urban Achievers, yes, and proud we are of all of them. I asked my father about his withdrawal of a million dollars from the Foundation account and he told me about this abduction, but I tell you it is preposterous. This compulsive fornicator is taking my father for the proverbial ride....

My father and I don't get along; he doesn't approve of my lifestyle and, needless to say, I don't approve of his. However, I hardly wish to make my father's embezzlement a police matter, so I'm proposing that you try to recover the money from the people you delivered it to....If you successfully do so, I will compensate you to the tune of 10% of the recovered sum."

Although the Dude kept asking about his rug, he was brushed aside, until she reasoned that with his recovery payment of $100,000 dollars from her, he could "buy any number of rugs" that were not of "sentimental value" to her. She also thoughtfully referred him to a doctor (at no charge) to look at his cracked jaw from the punch he had received, insisting: "He's a good man, and thorough." The Dude begrudgingly took her sheet of note-paper with the doctor's name and phone number.

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