Oct 1, 2016

A Double-Feature With Robbins & Rozsa, Plus TV's Niftiest Noirs And A Lez-Be-Friends Secret Song!

Jeanne Moreau and Sean Young - together at last! Dafuq, you ask? What was France's Queen of Le Screen doing in a movie with America's favorite dead-eyed throw pillow?

It may seem to diffy to believe, but it's true. And here's a behind-the-scenes picture to tell you how they behaved on set: lovely Jeanne, amiably chatting with her gay, while Sean, doing a subpar Joan Crawford scowl, barely glances at her gay while he paints her talons nails.

Though I've seen most Merchant-Ivory productions, I haven't seen "The Proprietor" (and I suppose I'll have to given Madame Moreau), but I have listened to the sumptuous soundtrack by Richard Robbins, a criminally unsung movie composer who wrote almost exclusively for Merchant-Ivory - and who tragically never won an Oscar (though he was nominated twice). Robbery! At any rate, in this Great Robbins Cheerful Exclusive!, his lush, minimalist melodies are in gorgeous full bloom.

Meanwhile, here's one of my favorite soundtracks from the movie-est movie composer of them all, Miklos Rozsa, who penned the score for 1979's "Time After Time," a terrific Nicholas Meyer movie in which Jack the Ripper time travels to the present. Blood and mayhem ensue (of course).

"Time After Time" is a late Rozsa work - he only scored two more movies before his death - and it almost feels like a summing up of his entire career. Yet crucially, he knew when to keep the orchestra silent. It's during the time travel scenes, in which a breathless trip through the ages is rendered only with sound - snatches of Presidential speeches, then radio shows, TV news - along with trippy visual flourishes:

Why do I think Rozsa is the movie-est movie composer ever? Because when I play his soundtracks, they always seem to conjure up childhood memories of big-time Hollywood movies on "The Late Late Show" and impossibly lavish picture palaces - the dream of Hollywood, not the reality. Yes, his music is that grand.

Grandness of a different kind can also be found on TV, which in this case means film noir.

I was too young during the first Golden Age Of TV - don't even go there; I really was! - so I missed all those gritty film noir-ish cop shows like "77 Sunset Strip" and "The M Squad" and "Mr. Lucky."

Were they really all that? Sort of. I've caught a few episodes of these shows over the years, and they were definitely trailblazers, but what really stands out are their finger-snapping, tough-guy soundtracks, a number of them from experienced feature composers looking for a new playground, along with new composers hoping to make their mark.

In this multi-CD collection, all of the best TV noir scores are brought together, and the roster reads like a Who's-Who - with everyone from Henry Mancini, to Johnny Williams (he was still young enough to be "Johnny"), George Dunning, Nelson Riddle, Warren Baker and many more. It's the sort of collection that you can enjoy on your own, or you can play it in the background at a dimly lit cocktail party. You're welcome.

The Secret Song File is bomb, as the kids say, and up on all the latest trends, but even she makes mistakes or misses the boat on (rare) occasions. One time she ordered "water" instead of "Aqua Di Cristallo Tributo" from a waiter; another time, she was out of toilet paper, so she used her overnight guest's plain white, Kanye West "Hip Hop" T-shirt to wipe her derriere (she later told people she did it on purpose; they believed her). Honest, these things could happen to anyone.

All of which is to say that she missed last June's new release from a confessed Lawrence Welk-loving, big shouldered Canadian, who collaborated with two other singers for the very first time. The result is a terrific LP - and probably the best LP the big shouldered Canadian has put out in years.

Some gal singers have big hands; some Presidential candidates have itsy-bitsy, tiny hands. Go figure. 

Leave your messy hand prints in the comments, if you like!


KH said...

Excellent. Thanks!

The Cheerful Earfull! said...

You're welcome, KH. Enjoy!

AmericanSamourai said...

Thanks for the Crime Jazz On Film!

The Cheerful Earfull! said...

Enjoy, AmericanSamourai! :D

tony said...

Thanks for the tv/movie soundtracks. Some of the best music comes from these sources, (and from Broadway). As for Moreau and Young, what a combo! Here is a quote about Young on imdb.com where she says: "All right, I'm young, I'm beautiful - but you don't have to hate me." Need I say more :)?

The Cheerful Earfull! said...

Ha! Oh, Sean, never change.

espo said...

Hi cheerful...glad you liked the Teresa Brewer L/P...got a wowzer ! of an L/P that I think is right up your street (English for you will like it )no rude connotation is intended !!....have a download "The Peddlers "
it's a different and great L/P....cheers....Luigi

The Cheerful Earfull! said...

Thanks, Luigi, I'll give it a whirl!