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« Annals of Arlen II [with Ruth Etting, in 1933] | Main | Flashback circa1965 [by Stacey Harwood-Lehman] »

February 15, 2016

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What a great post/essay. It seems films/filmmakers often rely simply on the effects of instrumentals or even just a type of song or genre of music to set mood and tone, but how important the lyric, especially the well-written one, really can be to the film's narrative.

So true, Amy. Thanks! DL

They seem vaguely unreal, lifeless. In contrast, the photograph of his wife that a hung-over March looks at the next morning – another sort of souvenir – has all the meaning in the world for him. And Among My Souvenirs – played on the piano by Hoagy Carmichael,

great post David, and thank you for it...

This isn't just an essay, DL, it's a film course! Thanks. I suppose everybody knows that the 1946 THE BIG SLEEP has about twenty minutes of re-shooting added, including the famous cafe scene and the cutesy bit in Marlowe's office with the telephone, in order to capitalize on the popularity of Bogie and Bacall after TO HAVE AND HAVE NOT. The original 1945 version also had a nine-minute scene that more or less laid out the mystery in understandable terms; the '46 version is famous for its, shall we say, mysteriousness. I prefer the earlier film myself--if you want to see Bacall actually act (with real fear of Eddie Mars on her face), try that one.

As a composer, film-maker and poet all rolled into one, I very much appreciate this thoughtful essay. Thank you. My favorite song from that era is "As Time Goes By." Especially the line about the "fundamental things."

Well time has gone by and I've decided to start another blog. So why not hide my announcement in this obscure corner of the poetic world? http://inthewholesky.blogspot.com/ Anyone and everyone will be welcome to post original poetry therein, at least for the time being.

Great post. Best regards by Stefano Donno http://syntaxerrorpoetry.blogspot.it/

Thank you for the comments. Greatly appreciated. Last evening I saw the scene in "The Best Years of Our Lives" and then "Among My Souvenirs" wove in and out of my consciousness overnight. Some time I'd like to do a piece on Hollywood musicals based on the standards: the Rogers and Astaire variety ("Top Hat," "Swing Time"), the Gene Kelly extravaganza ("Singing in the Rain"), an homage to Gershwin ("An American in Paris"), a toast to Rodgers & Hart ("Pal Joey"), spurious biopics (e.g. Jimmy Cagney as George M. Cohan, Robert Walker as Jerome Kern, Doris Day as Ruth Etting), the one time Rodgers and Hammerstein skipped the Great White Way and went straight to Hollywood ("State Fair"), noteworthy versions of Broadway musicals ("Guys and Dolls," "Damn Yankees," "Fiddler on the Roof," "Gentleman Prefer Blondes," "West Side Story," "My Fair Lady," "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum", "How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying," "Fiddler on the Roof," "Cabaret"), "Some Like it Hot" plus any other picture in which Marilyn Monroe sings. . . or Gene Kelly dances. . .or Sinatra dances with Kelly or sings a duet with Crosby. -- DL

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That Ship Has Sailed
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"Lively and affectionate" Publishers Weekly

Radio

I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark


from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman

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