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If you are not me as you are reading this page, then I say "How the hell did you get here?"

May 12, 2012

Ticket to Ride analyzed by Ian McDonald in Mojo Magazine Oct. 1994

The exodus officially began on Halloween night 1994. My then current existential nightmare in Los Angeles was ending, and the trip home was about to begin. I was finally going to drive cross-country back to Baltimore. This would complete my five year California adventure. Just a few weeks before my departure, I bought a copy of the October 1994 Mojo Magazine with The Pretenders lead singer and guitarist Chrissie Hynde on the cover.

I remain a pack rat to this day and the Oct. '94 issue is still with me almost eighteen years later.
In the upper right corner is a sticker indicating that I purchased it from the Virgin Megastore in Hollywood. Today Tower Records and Virgin are no longer physically with us. Only the memories of the old brick and mortar stores that we thought would be around forever have survived.


One of the feature articles offered excerpts of a new Beatles book "Revolution in the Head" by Ian McDonald. I specifically enjoyed his appraisal of Ticket To Ride. 


As an eight year old Beatles fan, the 1965 movie Help! and the Capitol lp soundtrack brought incredible joy and happiness into my life. Ticket To Ride has always had a special place in my heart. Music fans were spoiled with the riches of creativity in the 60’s and riding the career path on the bandwagon with The Beatles provided many touchstones of meaningful shared experiences.
The bonds that I have made with music and film over the years of my life are incredibly strong.
Ticket To Ride remains one of the most powerful of those emotional bonds.

I bought Help! (or received the album as a birthday gift) when it was first released in mid-August 1965, and I was visiting my relatives in Virginia. Like A Hard Day's Night and other Beatles albums, I played Help! to death and sang along. Whenever I hear a song like Ticket To Ride, I can remember and make a welcome return to not only my youth, but to a period when breakthrough moments in pop music culture were not only amazing and delightful but refreshingly abundant.

In the clip below The Beatles peform Ticket To Ride on the Ed Sullivan Show which was recorded in August for broadcast in September '65. Looking back and listening to this clip with the hindsight of what we know about the history of The Beatles, John Lennon's live rough vocal honestly and clearly indicates the artistic acceleration of his internal maturation and an aging process that is in overdrive and fully engaged.

Jun 29, 2011

Happy 100th Birthday Bernard Herrmann!

Today is June 29, 2011 and it is the centennial anniversary of the birth of Bernard Herrmann who began his film career with Orson Welles on Citizen Kane in 1941.
In the same year he won an Oscar for his score for The Devil and Daniel Webster.

Jane Eyre, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, On Dangerous Ground, The Day the Earth Stood Still, Mysterious Island, Cape Fear, Fahrenheit 451 and The Bride Wore Black are just a few of the memorable and beloved scores that he composed.

Although Herrmann worked with notable directors other than Orson Welles such as Nicholas Ray, Robert Wise, J. Lee Thompson, and Francois Truffaut, it remains true that his work is most closely identified by the public with the films of Alfred Hitchcock.

Bernard Herrmann/Alfred Hitchcock rehash: What if ?

What if Bernard Herrmann and Alfred Hitchcock had not suffered through a professional and artistic
unraveling of their longtime relationship in 1966 on the film that became Torn Curtain?

Hitchcock's previous film from 1964 was Marnie and it was the last collaboration he had with Herrmann and it was not a financial hit. The phenomenon known as The Beatles were selling tons of soundtracks to rabid rock and roll fans kids who were going to the movies AND buying the LPs released by United Artists for A Hard Days Night and by Capitol Records for Help! The ecstatic high of Beatlemania was making MCA Universal jealous for "the youth market" dollars and therefore they wanted to rake in the dollars with big soundtrack sales of a contemporary pop score to Torn Curtain.

Even though Herrmann promised Hitchcock that he would make a pop score happen that would change the direction of their previous work, it was not meant to be. Alfred Hitchcock was stunned when he visited the studio and heard Herrmann conducting and recording his latest work for Torn Curtain which was just as wonderful and old fashioned as his previous work had been for Hitchcock and he promptly fired him.Photobucket

Obviously we will never know what might have been accomplished if they could have renewed their creative partnership. After Hitchcock dismissed Herrmann they never worked together again. Film biographies of Hitch and Herrmann retell the story of how Herrmann stopped by Hitchcock's office a few years later in an attempt to repair their relationship, but purportedly Hitch hid behind a door and would not see Herrmann.

The Wikipedia listing about Bernard Herrmann includes a quoted section from an interview with Herrmann's wife Norma which tries to correct the perception of Hitchcock turning a cold shoulder to Herrmann.  Examine the section which follows this lead-in sentence:

"In a 2004 interview with Günther Kögebehn for the Bernard Herrmann Society (titled Running with the Kids: A Conversation with Norma Herrmann), she states:"


If you wish to consider the "What If?" question about Bernie and Hitch,
I think it might be appropriate to listen to this Elvis cut . . .


Elvis Presley - That's Where Your Heartaches Begin

It is best to not dwell on what might have been and return our focus as movie fans upon the brilliance of the entire career of Bernard Herrmann, and specifically upon the incredibly successful run that was achieved during their years together as one of the greatest working partnerships of a composer and a film director in cinema history.

As most cineastes know only too well, between 1955 and 1964 they collaborated on eight of the best films directed by Alfred Hitchcock at the height of his powers:

The Trouble With Harry
The Man Who Knew Too Much
The Wrong Man
North by Northwest
The Birds

A total of seven original scores by Bernard Herrmann and one picture as sound consultant on The Birds.

After the glory years with Hitch and a resurrection of his career by working with Brian De Palma on Sisters and Obsession in the 1970s, Herrmann closed out his mighty body of work with his last score for Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver which was released in 1976 and dedicated to the memory of Bernard Herrmann.

Taxi Driver


Happy Birthday to Bernie!

All hail Hitchcock and Herrmann!

Jun 22, 2011

Bruno Alexiu's score to L'Enfer D'Henri-Georges Clouzot is now available

In 2009 I had hoped that we would see a cd release of music by Bruno Alexiu.


As of June 15, 2011, the soundtrack to L'Enfer has finally been released.
Do yourself a favor and get it.


The cd is available through Disques Cinemusique

It is also available through Screen Archives Entertainment.

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