Monday, July 24, 2006

The blue gardenia

If you're not familiar with the world of classical music it's easy enough to imagine that much of the music used by Hollywood, particularly in days long gone by, is from that world. I certainly did up until about 1975. The fact that I'd been listening to classical music from about 1970 and still thought that merely indicates that I'm slow on the uptake and that I was still learning.

The problem is that a piece of music written as a stand alone composition rarely fits the action. Music has its own momentum as does film and trying to make the one fit the other only works if the one is tailored to the others rhythms.

Hence the existence of large multi CD libraries of 30 second or less 'stings'. When we were making our movie in 1990/1991 I was still vainly trying to think of ways to make the music I knew so well fit in the edit suite. An impossible task.

Thus it's a pleasure when someone manages to pull it off. Fritz Lang did in this[^] movie.

Considerably simplified, the story concerns a girl who, whilst drunk, fights off an unwanted advance by a bloke and thinks, the next day, that she killed him. Her last memory of the event is Nat King Cole singing a song 'The Blue Gardenia'.

We, the audience are treated to the sight of George Reeves (of TV Superman fame) the next morning listening, in the fatal apartment, to an entirely different record. Nothing less than the Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde[^]!

Things for the girl go from bad to worse and the police are sure they have their villain. Until the newspaper guy remembers that she said she heard Nat King Cole and yet they found Wagner on the turntable! Thus follows some wierd stuff including a glimpse of a face we saw in the first 3 minutes of the movie and have totally forgotten; snap of the fingers and it all wraps up and the girl is innocent.

It was a pleasure not only to hear something I know so well as part of the story; it was also a pleasure the way that the music became integrated into the general soundtrack toward the end. Hey, I'm easily pleased!

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