Lawrence Bender and Quentin Tarantino Toy with Structure in Pulp Fiction

Pulp Fiction will go down as the main breakout film for Quentin Tarantino. Reservoir Dogs lauded his debut, but Pulp Fiction mainly established him as a superstar in the motion picture industry. The award-winning and award-nominated producer Lawrence Bender should receive tremendous credit for his role in bringing Pulp Fiction to the screen as well. Pulp Fiction certainly was not an easy movie to put together.

Probably the most striking aspect of Pulp Fiction would be the screenplay structure. Unlike a traditional narrative, the motion picture does not follow a linear progression of narrative events. Rather than employ a traditional “well-made play type of structure,” Pulp Fiction goes in a more experimental direction. The events transpiring in the movie appear out of sequence. Amazingly, the plot remains clear to follow.

Lawrence Bender deserves acknowledgment for his producer duties on this film. Overseeing a project that required such complicated editing was no easy task. How was he able to do it? Bender does have a background in dance. Perhaps his work on more theatrical live productions helped him gain the experience necessary for such an experimental film.

Pulp Fiction does someone “cheat” the non-linear structure of the screenplay by turning the narrative into an anthology film. While there is a single narrative to follow throughout, the main storyline features several self-contained stories within that main plot. And then there are even tangents to the film the go off into a seemingly directionless manner. Stunningly, Tarantino is able to tie everything together to create a coherent film. The support of Lawrence Bender as producer definitely help the end result.

Lawrence Bender would go on to work with Quentin Tarantino several more times. The strange nonlinear anthology method would be revisited by the two again. The Kill Bill films reflect probably the most successful example of repeating Pulp Fiction’s concept.

A cynical assessment suggests that Pulp Fiction’s violence contributed to its success. Essentially, audiences looked past the strange narrative set up because fight scenes and gunplay would draw their attention back. That assessment really isn’t correct. Without the intriguing story, structure, and humor, Pulp Fiction wouldn’t have succeeded to the degree it did.

Bender and Tarantino can lay claim to winning a Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival for Pulp Fiction. The unique nature of the film’s structure certainly contributed to the honors.

Lawrence Bender Produces Box Office Success With Rum Punch Adaptation, Jackie Brown

Pam Grier, Robert Deniro, Michael Keaton, Chris Tucker, Robert Forster and Bridget Fonda all find themselves inside of the villainous web spun by criminal gun runner and international smuggler lead character Ordell, played by Samuel Jackson in the 1997 motion picture hit, “Jackie Brown.”

Based on Elmore Leonard’s “Rum Punch,” the film adaptation produced by Lawrence Bender and Directed by Quentin Tarantino traces the Machiavellian depravity of Jackson as he finds his criminal enterprise threatened by law enforcement and the sloppy illegal activities of his henchman Beaumont Livingston, played by Chris Tucker and cash smuggling operative, Jackie Brown portrayed by Pam Grier.

Jackson, a small time though successful illegal gun trader shares details of his opulent lifestyle created by the high markups he earns in his clandestine firearms operation, with former prison-mate Louis Gara, played by Robert DeNiro.

A short while later Jackson is contacted by a desperate Chris Tucker who has been arrested while running an errand for Jackson. Afraid that Tucker’s loyalty has been compromised, Jackson pays Tucker’s bond and immediately executes him.

Meanwhile another of Jackson’s operatives, an airline stewardess named Jackie Brown is stopped by customs agents at the airport while trying to smuggle cash into the country.

Brown is persuaded to cooperate with the federal agents in exchange for an immunity deal.

One last operation is planned, smuggling more than $1/2 million of Jackson’s overseas funds, allowing him to retire from his illegal firearms dealing operation early.

In a twist of events, Jackie Brown hatches her own scheme to outwit both Jackson and the federal agents, keeping the entire $500,000 for herself.

Jackie Brown’s plan carries a number of risks, particularly around the cleverness and wrath of Jackson who will no doubt be merciless in the most unearthly way imaginable should Brown ever be found out.

However, with the help of the bail bondsman who has developed a romantic interest in her, Robert Forster cast as Max Cherry, Brown is successful and fulfills her own plans to move to Madrid, Spain and carry on with her life.

This is yet another masterpiece resulting from the collaborative efforts of Bender and Tarantino.

Sharing a number of key entertainment elements common to their earlier films, Jackie Brown is full of punchy dialog, gangster characters with full human dimensionality and a suspenseful story full of plot twists and surprises.

About Lawrence Bender

Lawrence Bender is a renown film producer, having three Best Picture Academy Award Nominations to his credit.

The producer of several box office successes across a diverse range of genres including From Dusk Til Dawn, Nancy Drew, Good Will Hunting, The Mexican and An Inconvenient Truth, Bender is also the recipient of several industry awards for his film works.

Born in Bronx, New York, Lawrence Bender completed his undergraduate degree in Civil Engineering at The University of Maine.