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Saturday Night at the Movies by Dennis Hartley review archive

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Hullabaloo


Saturday, May 26, 2007

 
Saturday Night At The Movies

Riding in cars with films


By Dennis Hartley

I’m going to deviate from my norm a bit this week and recommend some CDs you might want to pack along for your summer vacation.

Some movie soundtracks are so damn good you want to take ‘em with you wherever you go, so with that in mind I have compiled my personal “top ten” list for your consideration. Before I am called on the carpet for “overlooking” the likes of Bernard Herrmann, Dmitri Tomkin, Alfred Newman, Henry Mancini, Maurice Jarre, etc.-please know I am not attempting to tackle a scholarly dissertation on film composers; my criteria here is the type of soundtrack that you would rip into the iPod or pop into the car stereo. So, at the risk of crashing Haloscan, here we go (in no particular ranking order):

O Lucky Man!: Former Animals keyboardist Alan Price composed and performed a fantastic batch of original pop-rock tunes for Lindsay Anderson’s 1973 film (Price and his band were also cleverly incorporated into the story on camera as the Greek chorus.)

The Best of James Bond 30th Anniversary: OK, I’m cheating a bit here, as this one CD represents a dozen or so movies; but with Bond films it’s all about that one opening title song anyway, so an anthology like this makes perfect sense. Highlights: Shirley Bassey’s “Goldfinger”, Nancy Sinatra’s “You Only Live Twice”, Duran Duran’s “A View to A Kill” and of course Monty Norman’s original signature 007 theme.

Me And You And Everyone We Know : Normally, I’m not prone to making a beeline to the nearest music store to purchase the soundtrack right after leaving the theater, but that is exactly what I did after watching Miranda July’s fantastic debut. The effervescent, Eno-influenced ambient music by Mike Andrews gets even better upon repeat listening.

Valley Girl and Valley Girl: More Music From The Soundtrack: For those of us who get all misty-eyed about the early 80s new wave/power pop scene, this quintessential soundtrack was one of the most well-selected (outside of the John Hughes oeuvre). Music from the Jam, the Plimsouls, Psych Furs, Bonnie Hayes, Modern English, etc.-great stuff!

2001: A Space Odyssey(1996 reissue): The use of classical music was a signature trademark of just about any Kubrick film, but this particular soundtrack was Stanley’s best “mix tape”, IMHO. (Hal Ashby would later pay homage and recycle Strauss’ “Also sprach Zarathustra” (Deodato’s jazzed-up arrangement) to great effect in “Being There”.)

The Good, The Bad & The Ugly (Expanded edition): The artistic partnership between spaghetti western director Sergio Leone and composer Ennio Morricone is the stuff of legend, and this soundtrack from the classic 1968 film represents the apex. Runner up: “Duck, you Sucker!” (I still find myself singing “shom, shom, shom” in the shower…)

She's Gotta Have It: Spike’s dad Bill composed a wonderful (and underrated) pop-jazz score for Lee’s indie debut. Highlight: “Nola” (the memorable song that accompanied the film’s solitary full-color scene). Unfortunately this soundtrack is currently out of print (I’m glad I hung on to my dog-eared cassette copy all these years!).

Hedwig and the Angry Inch (Movie soundtrack version): Put on your makeup, plug in the 8-track and take your wig down from the shelf! Director/writer/star John Cameron Mitchell and composer Stephen Trask produced one kick-ass original soundtrack for the film version of their stage musical. Bob Mould contributes outstanding guitar work.

Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels: Guy Ritchie’s brilliant Brit-noir featured an equally brilliant selection of music. An eclectic blend of ol’ skool funk and soul, reggae, classic Top 40, garage punk and modern Britpop. Any mix that includes “I Wanna Be Your Dog” by the Stooges, the theme from “Zorba the Greek”, “Spooky” by Dusty Springfield and “18 with a Bullet” by Pete Wingfield, (and makes it all work) rules!

Un Homme et une Femme(Soundtrack): A perfect marriage of movie and soundtrack. Francis Lai’s music for Claude Lelouch’s 1966 masterpiece is truly timeless. Highlights: The title theme and “Samba Sarava”. Unfortunately, it is currently available only as a pricey import CD; but I have seen vinyl copies floating around used record stores for a relative pittance (labeled by its English title “A Man and a Woman”.) Happy hunting!


And needless to say, we also highly recommend the haunting and beautiful Voices Of Light: An Oratorio Inspired By The Film The Passion Of Joan Of Arc, written by our esteemed colleague, Richard Einhorn (whom you all know as tristero.) --- d


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