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The Two Eyes – Birth of the British Pop Movie – Part Three

Apr 10 2020 Published by under Uncategorized

The Golden Disc 1958 – The Coffee Bar

'What will it be madam?' asks Harry 'Ballad or Rock?' Aunt Sarah responses 'Rock-maninoff'.

In the fifties the English café became a continental coffee bar with espresso replacing tea. In The Golden Disc Harry and Joan (Lee Patterson and Mary Steele) convert Aunt Sara's decrepid café into a coffee bar (to include a record shop and a recording studio) eventually promoting a young singer (Terry Dene) to No.1 in the music charts and cashing in on the start of the rock and roll era. Unconsciously, it is a snapshot of the late fifties in Britain. It throws in a cornucopia of music styles, the producers obviously try to phase all. There is folk, instrumentals, skiffle, jazz, ballads and rock'n'roll. As a piece of musical history it is excellent in capturing the feeling of changing times.

The fact that prime-time television or cinema could induce hysteria and phenomenally increase sales of rock'n'roll music was not unknown. That said, the whole concept of these early pop musicals were specifically created for financial gain in a failing movie business with audiences that had dropped off since the late forties.

The opening song Dynamo by Sonny Stewart's Skiffle Kings stretches from ambient diegetic to performance mode (through a dissolving montage of nightclub neons from one coffee bar into another) as the music abruptly changes from a studio recording to live performance. This brave musical edit did not fool everyone. 'You may be annoyed by the way it sometimes fades the music before the artists have quite finished' says Nina Hibben in the Daily Worker, (15/3/58)

Campbell Dixon's adult view of the time sees' a strange world of frenzied exhibitionism and phoney, carefully cultivated hysteria. He knows it exists … as the young playwrights assure us its significant, and I'm sure it is, thought just what its significant of, except family neglect and poor teaching, I've really no idea. All that concerns me here is that I find it quite numbingly dull.

The modification of the coffee bar during a musical number is almost a religious transformation. The Gaggia coffee machine is brought into the newly refurbished coffee bar ceremoniously carried on a wooden plinth like a pharaoh's mummy. It is placed in the position of font on a bar serving as the altar. The jukebox pervades as the church organ and the Espresso coffee serves ritualistically as a relaxed form of communion. These simple characteristics are indicative of the new trend: the blood of rock'n'roll in religious undertones. The owner cannot believe the amount of coffee drunk as the coffee bar starts to be successful.

The attractions of the coffee bar; that peculiar amalgam of pine, caffeine, bamboo and bullfight posters, were legion. The coffee bar offered teenagers a warm, welcoming meeting place. Not a parent in sight. They were places you could hang about for an evening, spend a shilling on a coffee, go in at nine and come out at eleven, and nobody bothers you.

Terry Williams (as Dene was born) worked as a record-packer, who had a desire to sing at office parties (his Presley imitations were well received) and was discovered by producer Jack Good of 6.5 Special . As Terry Dene, he almost had respectable hits, but his cover of Marty Robbins' White Sport Coat was a bigger hit for another British group, and his second single was overshadowed by a Sal Mineo version. Nevertheless he was an overnight sensation with his Elvis impersonation.

Terry Dene's part in the film is overshadowed by his disastrously short career (that could have matched any of the other artists mentioned). Scandal and his inability to deal with drink in the music clubs led him to be the first UK rebel. In his documentary he bemoans that the ballads Decca forced him to record were not what he was about, he was a rock'n'roller when he played live. 'Girls swooned over him, boys wanted to punch him.' Producer Jack Good in the biopic of Dene's life says.

After various tantrums involving panes of glass and mirrors being drunkenly smashed, he lost the respect of his fans. The alcohol brought out a violent streak in him that was not there when he was sober. A mild and gentle natured person from London's working class Eastend (Platchet), he was confronted with National Service (following in Elvis's footsteps). The other soldiers taunted him and within 48 hours he had had a nervous breakdown and left the army in disgrace. The press of the day scolded him for his pointless scandals and inability to perform his duty for his country.

The Golden Disc took him to success, which was short lived, and he soon became portrayed as the 'bad boy' of British rock'n'roll. This left him jobless after his demobilisation. In 1964 he then found solace in Christianity and proceeded too produce gospel records.

The film finale sees Mary Steele and American Lee Patterson launch a record company and make a nation-wide hit with Dene's first record. A big British company nearly ruins them, but an even bigger american company big-heartedly steps in and saves the day. As Nina Hibbin says in the Daily Worker (3/15/58) 'It's supposed to be a British film but its message is "Good old Uncle Sam".' This is unlike Expresso Bongo 'which is a rarity: a British film-musical of which we can be proud of and America envious.'

Expresso Bongo 1959 The Manager

A rowdy elegy to British youth culture in the fifties Expresso Bongo 'plunges a savage paw into the mess that is show business.' It is a film spoof of The Tommy Steele Story , (written by Wolf Mankowitz), taken from the West End musical of the same name. So enter Bongo Herbert, the 'unbroken street Arab' as described by his shrewd manager Johnny Jackson (Harvey) into a life of Penny arcades, Prostitution, spaghetti, espresso coffee, garlic sausage, neon, parmigiani and salt beef and the whole plethora of necessary beatnik paraphernalia of props that shrouded the film from tip to toe.

'In 1959, show business is entertainment of the morons, by the morons, for the morons. And you get nothing for nothing '.

This point of view is put forward in Expresso Bongo . It may seem exaggerated but was not far from the truth in its portrait of Tin Pan Alley and Soho, where 'stars are made and broken by the checkbook' as Anthony Carthew revealed in his scathing report where he also claimed 'This vicious story of show business is very near the truth. ' John Waterman speaks of 'the penalty of writing a bitingly topical book or play or musical is that by the time the film appears it may have lost some of its teeth.' Whatever the outcome it was his impression that 'overnight singing successes are no longer the topic of public interest as they were 18 months ago, in the stage play.' Perhaps this comment spells the end of the pop years, which are widely known to be between 1956-1960, after which time the Beat Boom began which led to the 'British Invasion' of British Pop music into the American charts. This began with the success of the Beatles in Richard Lesters Hard Days Night (1964).

The bongo drum here irreverently replaces the guitar, as the major musical prop, not seen in the other movies. Cliff Richards's inability to authentically perform with dexterity on the bongos was again overridden by this burgeoning exuberance for youth culture. However tacky, these are classic moments in cinematic history in their portrayal of 'slice of real life' show business fantasy.

Though it still ranked as X-rated 'smut' (it was given an A) it revelled in its B movie irreverence. Leonard Mosley in the Daily Express pronounced Yes, yes, yes, to Expresso Bongo , for its buttock slapping and bust swinging vulgarity, and its merciless survey of the flesh peddling activities of Soho.

The realism of Soho's sleazy back streets, where the same bedrooms have been used for sex for over three hundred years, were not the venue the national gaze (BBC) wanted to portray to its 'decent' and 'respectable audience'. Even so, the craze emanating from this square mile of dark musical frivolity was not to be held back from the nation and eventual world domination by pop music.

The film marks a peak in pop musicals. It presents an authentic portrayal of the 'scene' and encapsulates (however crudely) all the ingredients of how to break into show business. In an interview with Neil Shand, Mankowitz recalls When I look at people, I see them as they are. The characters in Expresso Bongo are ebullient and bursting with life. I don't care about them being amoral or immoral, I am amoral and immoral myself …
John Kennedy, Steele's co manager, wanted to distance themselves from the Expresso Bongo story of a witless coffee bar singer turned into a star by his devious agent, It was clearly a satirical portrayal of Steele's rise to fame. As Robert Murphy notes in Sixties British Cinema 'A musical which cheekily parodied the rapid ascent of Tommy Steele from coffee-bar singer to Pop Idol.'!

Lionel Bart, who introduced Kennedy to Cliff Richard played a significant role in the pop music scene, and wrote Living Doll for Cliff Richard went on to score 'Oliver' (a story of a innocent boy, manipulated and controlled by a crook!).

In the film there is a television debate in which Gilbert Harding playing himself, as the social arts producer for 'Cosmarama' at the BBC talks to a psychiatrist, the Reverend, and Johnny Jackson (Bongo's manager): Gilbert Harding begins' Beatniks! Is this just a healthy sign of high spirits? ' The psychiatrist responds: Adolescents in our time demand outlets for their frustration. The drums Bongo beats may stand for someone he doesn't like. A simple means of evacuating tension. The whole mass of whirling conflict surging up to a pounding climax. Any relapse of tension and the face is almost beautiful!

He finishes in self-contradiction. Johnny talks solely of Bongo 'We do not want our boy exhibited as a teenage curiosity, Bongo Herbert, we must all bear in mind, is a real symbol of modern youth.' he emphasises. To which Gilbert Harding responses 'Teenagers are regarded by the corporation with the deepest reverence'. The Reverend continues: We have to reach the youth on his or her own level. I started a jive club at the youth club sometime ago, then a skiffle club and now I think we will have a Bongo club in my crypt.

Johnny now sees a religious angle to promote Bongo and lies to the audience when he tells them they both go to church on Sunday, a ploy to induce support for his now 'religious' Bongo in any way possible. Johnny Jackson finally realises in a peak of intuitive clarity that Bongo's second song should have a motherly and religious angle (Shrine on the Second Floor) and promotes his idea to the record mogul. These conniving pitches are indicative of how the record industry machine operates.

As he walks with his protégé towards a backstage party, he tells Bongo 'You have to get into the habit of cultivating the right people because every right person you meet makes you more right'. More exploitative advice to confuse the teenager's morals. Mankowitz's story constantly verges on being a stringent social document. It seems to suppress an urgent desire to scream at the sordid things it portrays. 49 His dreams of success are dashed by his bigger dreams of wealth, exemplified by his contractual terms with Bongo by taking 50% gross of the lads earnings. This is finally brought to a head when the president of Garrick Records tears up Johnny's unlawful contract with Bongo and signs him to his own label, with American backing. After losing everything to the corporate ranks Johnny tells his girlfriend 'It's a bastard world and I'm a fully paid up member'. 'I created one Bongo Herbert, I can do it again'. as he walks off into another suspect deal for a musical about Omar Khayyam.

Given the resonance, Expresso Bongo can be meaningfully placed within a wider aesthetic of Social Realism which characterized British cinema in the late 1950's and early sixties. Scriptwriter Mankovitz cleverly mixed and blended both the cosmopolitan Soho ingredients and the mix of ethnic cultures.


Beat Girl 1959 – The Teenager

In Beat Girl, the pop musical changes its tone from a series of light-hearted romps such as in the golden disc to the rise to stardom in the tommy steele story to the crash and failure in expresso bongo. It takes the juvenile delinquency, made popular in Britain with such films as Lewis Gilbert's Cosh Boy (1952) and Terence Young's Serious Change (1958). Beat Girl leaves the light-hearted jaunt of the Tommy Steele Story and The Golden Disc supping coffee in the coffee bar, to go beyond the backstage into the depths of Soho's depravity: the stripclub manager's office.

Beat Girl , set in 1959, intensifies the social indignation that surrounded the honey pot of Soho's erotic temptations; the coffee bar pop culture juxtaposed with striptease and prostitution. Sally Ann Field's character, Jennifer, is the underage upper middle class art student studying at St Martin's School of Art. She is representative of the kind of teenager who might overstep the general rule of her conservative parents and Christian upbringing. A moody, sullen teenage beat girl she digs her heels in when her father remarries and she discovers her new "mother" has a sordid past! She hangs out in the 'Off Beat' coffee bar with Adam Faith and pals. He plays the statutory co-starring (actor / performer) role: the undiscovered radical 'pop star': the 'would be' Terry Dene, Tommy Steele, Cliff Richard character. With his guitar, he is the angry undiscovered young singer / guitarist. 'Alcohol is for squares, child's play.' Adam Faith proclaims using beatnik slang with a James Dean's Rebel Without a Cause attitude, with chicken, drag racing and striptease. But the film is about the girl and her incessant desire to transgress her parents' authority; portraying a teenager transfixed by the seedy side of the Soho. The strip joints and its lewd principles dominate the script operate exploiting the teenage audience's desire for the risque and previously unseen. John Barry creates the music in the lip synch mode with a full score centered around the signature tune's catchy 12 bar riff. In terms of articulation of songs in the film Beat Girl is similar to Serious Charge with Adam Faith singing along to the juke-box.

Both of these films proved to be isolated incidents of the highly unusual marriage of the performance and lip-synch modes, as other films tended to use the performance mode while derivations of the musical film used the lip-synch mode.

Beat Girl seems unsure of how to integrate pop songs and dramatic performance, with the result that they attempt to contain the pop singers' performances within a fully diegetic mode, but have more in common with the lip synch mode than the performance mode. Her father asks' Where do you get your kicks? Hanging around coffee shops listening to gramophone records and jiving in underground dives'. She replies 'You are such a square aren't you?' He asks 'This language, these words what does it mean?' She retorts It means us! Something that is ours! Something we didn't get from our parents. We can express ourselves. And they do not know what we are talking about … it makes us different.

He asks her again 'Why do you need to feel so different?' She retorts: It's all we got. Vavoom! The world goes up in smoke tomorrow and what's the score – zero. So now while its now, we do everything for kicks. The sometimes awkward scripting of Beat Girl was irrelevant at the time. It could be seen, especially with the camerawork of Walter Lasselly (one of the key players of the soon to be established 'Free' cinema movement), as early social realism and established the pop musical 'Teen Pic' as a historic social document. The coffee shop becomes a shrine, a temple of enlightenment. This offers further juxtaposition of religion and the 'square' (the image given the church in the late fifties) to the rebelliousness of the teenager and beatnik culture. The audience of young mostly underage juveniles is just the same as we see in today's bars drinking alcopops. A fundamental part of our genetic chain so indicative of adolescent development?

Imagine all the things we can do without breaking the law, its legal. Beat Girl

John Barry introduced Adam to songwriter Johnny Worth who offered to write for Adam. A recording session was fixed up with EMI's Parlophone label and John Barry was enlisted to provide the backing, for which he used his newly devised pizzicato string sound. The result was the classic What Do You Want (1959) which featured Adam's pronunciation of the word 'baby' as 'bye-bee' which became one of his early trade marks. The single entered the charts at number 18, and quickly climbed to No 1 in December 1959, where it stayed for 4 weeks. His follow-up Poor Me also made No 1 and over the next three years he enjoyed a run of eleven Top 20 hits. In September 1961 he made the move to cabaret as Tommy Steele had done. He performed at the 21st birthday party held for the daughter of millionaire publisher Sir Edward Hulton. Within weeks of that event, Adam Faith opened at east London's fashionable nightspot of the day The Room at the Top in Ilford. In 1960 was described by rock writers as part of the Holy Trinity (Adam Faith, Billy Fury and Cliff Richard) and was the first British pop star to admit to premarital sex.

Pop Television 57 – 60

Until 1957, British television had closed down for an hour at 6pm so as to give parents a chance to put their children to bed. The BBC then decided to introduce a show for young people on Saturdays to start at 6.05, it was named the 6.5 Special. They appointed two of their youngest producers: 27-year-olds Josephine (Jo) Douglas and an Oxford University graduate, Londoner Jack Good. Jack was to become the undisputed champion of rock 'n' roll on British TV. The show launched the hand jive and Good even wrote an instruction book, Hand Jive at the 6.5 . The live rock'n'roll music presentation of Good's production (the first of its kind in the UK) became the hallmark for all his future TV shows, and indeed a benchmark for all popular music presentations in the future of live television.

In the television movie aboard the 6-5 Special, the two girl protagonists sit in the buffet coach. 'We've eaten the steak now lets talk turkey.' Jean says but stage frightened singer Ann, jumps train at a station as her agent proposes she should audition in front of the talent scouts Pete Murray and Jo Douglas, who just happen to be on board. They reboard the 6-5 Special they come across Finlay Cowen, a retired music hall performer who advises her: 'Nowadays there's hundreds of deluded, untalented, unteachable, starry-eyed something or nothing goofs who want to break into an already overcrowded profession with its scrambled and untidy ranks, so be careful '.

Next they meet the talent scout Pete Murray who sits there like Pop Idol's Simon Cowell. The timid singer bursts into song as a full orchestra erupts from nowhere as the train steams on. The film tries to bend all the sound rules and this early television movie is in an expressive reality 'diegetic mayhem'.

The influential difference in sound between live television broadcasting and film soundtracks, was that television was dependent on the live performance mode whereas the film soundtrack went through a more diversified period trying to exploit the product they were selling by using the lip synch and performance mode creating a larger than life presentation. The ambient diegetic film editing of music in these early backstage musicals were glimpses into the beginnings of commercial exploitation in pop, which led to the birth of the pop video.

With the BBC introducing The 6-5 Special (1957) and ABC Television with Ready Steady Go (1958). Both were transmitted simultaneously on Saturdays at 6 pm

Television producer Jack Good invented rock'n'roll television in Britain and masterminded both shows at different times in the period between September 1958 and 1959. He spotted both Cliff Richard and Marty Wilde (through Larry Parnes) who he wooed to stardom, among a host of others. This included the considered founder of pop music Lonnie Donegan preferred not to be steered into all round entertainment and with his cohorts Ken Colyer and Alexis Korner kept aloof of mass adulation and sellout stardom. He starred as the headlining performer on the film version of 6-5 Special

In a music press interview prior to the first presentation of, Jack Good outlined the basic aims.

Jack Good explains: We intend to make this the most organized show on television, 'he began,' and also one of the fastest and most exciting. I'm looking for a certain type of audience reaction. It's like as if an audience were sitting in a theater quietly and then were confronted by a blistering stage show that never lets up for one moment. We aim to startle viewers with quick, lively presentation, and because I'm convinced that comedy, no matter how good, tends to slow down a show of this kind, we will not be featuring any comedians.

! was in direct competition to BBC's 6.5 Special , formerly produced by Jack Good. Frankly, I'm thrilled at the prospect, and the essence of competition must obviously encourage us to work doubly hard. Finally, what style of music will we hear on! For a start there'll be a preponderance of Big Beat material from the cream of Britain's 'rockers.' But that doesn't mean that ballads are out of favor. Right now, the trend in pop music generally is veering towards a more melodic conception, and we will follow that trend.

From the first rehearsal list of! (Saturday 13th Sept 1958), it can have been seen that every song used was in fact a cover version of someone else's hit. The Dallas Boys sang Buddy Holly's Think It Over and Gene Vincent's Rocky Road Blues , Neville Taylor & The Cutters sang the Coaster's Yakety Yak and the Everly Brothers Oh What a Feeling , Lord Rockingham's XI performed two medleys. Marty Wild sang Buddy Knox's Somebody Touched Me in addition to a medley with the Dallas Boys in which he sang Elvis' Baby I Do not Care and Ricky Nelson's Poor Little Fool . Jimmy Henney introduced a new talent making his debut television appearance: 17 year old Cliff Richard backed by his group The Drifters. Cliff pouted and gyrated his way through Milton Allen's Do not Bug Me Baby

In 1958 Cliff Richard appeared in thirteen of the sixteen shows broadcast since September 1958 and topped the bill on many of them. In early December he collapsed with exhaustion. Performing twice nightly on the variety circuit, rehearsing for during the daytime as well as filming Serious Charge at Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, had taken its toll on his health. Angry at the apparent exploitation and overworking of his son, Cliff's father sacked his manager Franklyn Boyd. In January 1959, the BBC moved their new flagship pop show Drumbeat forward from 6pm on Saturday (where it was in direct competition with!) To 6.30pm because it was losing the ratings war. On hearing the news, Jack Good said in a NME interview

I should think they now have a very good chance of succeeding! Indeed it is possible both channels will increase their audience rating as a result of no longer being in direct competition.

In May 1959 with just five shows to run before the end of the series, Drumbeat makes a concerted attempt to secure big name artists which included Adam Faith, Terry Dene, and John Barry for its broadcasts over the summer of 1959 when it holds a monopoly over teenage viewers without any competition ended on ITV in May 1959, and was replaced with Boy Meets Girl in September 1959.

It was certainly a role model for later music shows such as Ready Steady Go and Top of the Pops, all of which have given youth a platform to express their views and their talents. Ready Steady Go was a mirror which not only reflected, but actively helped to shape the formative tastes of an entire generation, and stands today as an historic record of a long time of rapid social change and emerging new identity. As undoubtedly important as it was then, Ready Steady Go has become even more important as a televisual window through which we can once again witness the process of a changing world, through the powerful and evocative medium of its music.

Spike Milligan, a keen fan of the music scene during the 1950s, presented a documentary for the Boulting Brothers entitled Milligan at Large Meets Joe Brown (1959). He calls the record industry 'the revolving

door of the adolescent masses'. In the program Jack Good tells Joe Brown 'do not jig about to much' as ​​he rehearses for television. In this tongue-in-cheek look at early pop music television production, Good tells Spike that Joe is not a typical 'pop star' who usually styled themselves on James Dean or Elvis, Joe is himself with his own jiggy dance style and can actually play the guitar unlike many artists. Spike notices that they rehearse without sheet music, which was almost forbidden in the days before rock'n'roll. He asked pop Svengali Larry Parnes 'Do you think beat music is here to stay?' 'Oh most definitely I believe it was here before I was born and will still be here when I'm gone'.

The combination of Jack Good as the television producer and Larry Parnes as showbiz impresario began a rapid flow of the original pop idols to television. Elvis impersonating or moody James Dean look alikes were flooding into their offices. They shone as demi-gods to the music industry. Lional Bart was another key player along with Norrie Paramor …

These films are united by much more than the crude exploitation and spectacularization of a teenage musical fad. The stories told by these films matter a great deal, insofar as they consistently proffer a cutting critique of the culture industries; a critique that subsequently becomes the foundation for pop culture. They portray the music industry in such critical and ambiguous terms that they effectively 'manufacture authenticity' for audiences by consistently representing the antithesis of authenticity (alienation, fraud, manipulation, phoniness, corruption etc.) as evils to be avoided. These films contributed the ideological foundation of rock'n'roll and pop culture in the UK during the fifties.

We may not be able, retrospectively, to ascertain whether teen audiences circa 1952-62 internalized these critiques, but neither can we ignore the fact that, approximately five to ten years later, a mass culture (rock) emerged that was organized precisely around these discourses. Despite their status as teenpics these exploitative movies jumped on the latest musical fad of the time, they effectively showcased authenticity, by virtue of the onslaught of inauthentic elements (fraud corruption manipulation, exploitation) that are demonized and repudiated. From the naivetyy of The Tommy Steele Story to the juvenile delinquency of Beat Girl each process instilled an historic epitaph to the changing culture of the time. This pop culture blossomed with unstoppable exuberance. The pop movies discussed here are equally narratives about the manufacture of celebrity, featuring the transformation of a 'nobody' into a 'somebody'. As with the four actors. And remember folks its the audience that make them stars otherwise they are just like you and me. Rock on.

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Judy Garland As Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz (1939 Film)

Apr 10 2020 Published by under Uncategorized

Judy Garland was the teenage girl who played Dorothy Gale in the Wizard of Oz, an MGM musical film released by MGM in 1939. Her performance as the girl from Kansas named Dorothy won her a special Juvenile Oscar and gave her a theme song for the rest of her life: "Somewhere Over the Rainbow."

The song was initially deleted after executives from MGM thought the movie was too long, but good sense prevailed and it was restored to the movie and survived to become one of the most recognized music of the century.

Many people often refer to Judy Garland as Dorothy, it was the character that put her on the Hollywood map and followed her throughout her life and career. Shirley Temple, then the most popular child star, was originally set to play Dorothy on loan, but her home studio (20th Century Fox) refused to release her to MGM for the movie.

The Wizard of Oz producer Mervyn LeRoy thought that Shirley Temple's singing voice was not quite up to the standard for the role anyway, so the part of Dorothy was given to Judy Garland who had the singing talent, natural acting ability, star quality and charisma . She toured with her two older sisters known as "The Gumm Sisters" in the vaudeville circuit with moderate success, then later appeared in seven movies before she landed the starring role as Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz.

Her salary for The Wizard of Oz was $ 500 per week. Although $ 500 was a lot of money in those days, she was still the least well paid main actors in the movie, except Toto, the dog who was paid $ 125 per week.

Toto was actually a female dog whose real name was Terry. Judy Garland was so attached to the small cairn terrier and she wanted to keep her after the movie, but Terry is a highly valued animal actor by her owner and they did want to let her go.

The blue gingham pinafore dress and ruby ​​shoes that she wore in the Wizard of Oz is considered one of the most iconic costumes in Hollywood history. Even to this day, when people see this costume, "Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz" comes to their mind.

Judy Garland's performance as Dorothy proved to be the high point of her career, and she will always be remembered as one of the most strikingly beautiful and talented stars ever to grace Hollywood.

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The Importance of Music in Movies

Apr 10 2020 Published by under Uncategorized

Editing requires the right amount of rhythm and pace and music plays a key role in the structure of how the story will be displayed. Music can trigger fear in horror, suspense in action, and uncertainty in drama movies by providing the right element of surprise to evoke the right responses. In most cases the music can make or break a scene if the scoring isn’t done properly. Just imagine the music in the horror movie “Friday the 13th” when Jason is about to attack his victim or when you hear the music but nothing happen but your still clutching to the edge of your seat.

And what about the various scenes in Star Wars when the music gives you an indication that Darth Vader is about to enter to scene (which also happens to be the theme music during the intro of the movie)…as you can imagine, the music dictates and creates a reference point for the visuals. I was once told by an Academy award winning editor to play any award winning movie with the music turned off and see if you get the same effect…point made. The only recollection I have of a movie where the scoring did not play a part in driving the narrative, was in the movie “No Country for Old Men” where there was only one scene that had music in the background.

Aside from that, scoring, sound design, and music are essential elements in catering to the emotions of that particular scene in the making of a movie production. In some cases, the music can make the director change the script to make a better marriage between the characters and the music. For example, in the 1972 movie entitled “Super Fly” director Gordon Parks jr. had to change several scenes in the script and the lead character’s (Ron O’Neal) wardrobe in the movie after (R.I.P.) Curtis Mayfield created the complete score based off the screenplay.

And who can forget the famous scoring of all the James Bond movies. In any form of film or video editing, any professional post production editor will always emphasis the importance of developing a pace to tell the story from the inciting incident to the plot, and music is the key component of putting it all together. Of course with technology at our fingertips we have the advantage of producing, directing, and scoring much easier then ever before but the key elements will always remain the same.

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A Good License Agreement for Your Music

Apr 10 2020 Published by under Uncategorized

Many amateur composers fall victim to a badly drafted licensing agreement that totally stomps on their right over their royalties and possible million dollar career. This scenario does not only affect songwriters but also musical composers for movies and televisions. They write songs and produce music. The record company or the movie and television company just buys the composer's rights over the song or the music and have the latter sign a waiver of their copyright.

Young struggling music artists, for example, are often forced to sign record contracts that are not favorable to their future career. It is understandable that they feel compelled to sign such contracts. Their careers at that early stage is in their infancy. The problem only arises if and when they meet with some success. Such early stage contracts often lay claim to future, post success and celebrity, records. Musicians often either don't understand or merely gloss over these provisions. The consequence, however, can result is millions in lost revenue to the artists years after these contracts are signed.

Thus, it is important for amateur songwriters and composers to draft a licensing agreement to protect their future million dollar career. In order to make the agreement valid and good, the following stipulations must be inserted:

1. There must be a copyright protection over derivative works.

Some music, film and television companies give royalties to the owner of the music but limited only to the particular projects. Such as, if it is a music album, the composer will only receive his royalty depending on the sale of the music album. However, the music, film and television companies holds the right to sell the music for other derivative works, eg, using the song as a musical score.

If the composer will have no right over the derivative use of his creation, the music or film company can make millions even when the sales of the music album have already declined. Take for example the song, "Feels like home" or "Somewhere over the rainbow", it has been used in countless movies and soap operas all over the world. Every time these songs are used, the production company pays the record label royalties. Thus, if the composer will have a right over the derivative use of his creation, he will have additional potential earnings. Also, the composer or the songwriter will be protected from abusive record companies.

2. There must be a protection from unauthorized use.

Many composers lose a lot of potential income due to music piracy and unauthorized music downloading internet sites because most of the royalties are based on the sales of the album. Thus, for composers, they should include in their agreement stipulations that protect them from the unauthorized use of their music. The stipulation should require the licensee, or the record company to compensate him an additional amount for their failure to protect his creation from unauthorized use.

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Les Miserables Film Review

Apr 10 2020 Published by under Uncategorized

Using the exact words of Javert, "I am the law and the law is not mocked!" Les Misérables is a 2012 epic musical drama film directed and scripted based on the musical of the same name which is in turn based on the 1862 French novel. It was set on the 19th-century France, which climaxes with the anti-monarchist Paris uprising of 1832; primarily the cities of Arras, Digne, Montreuil-sur-mer, Montfermeil, Paris, and Toulon. This would serve as a reminder that Javert, the main antagonist, who is known for being ruthless in hunting down law-breakers, believing they cannot change for the better. As the narrator tells us: "He was one of those people who, even glimpsed, make an immediate impression; there was an intensity about him that was almost a threat. His name was Javert and he belonged to the police."

It started with Javert, being an assistant guard, releasing prisoner 24601, Jean Valjean, after 19 years of imprisonment for stealing bread and failed attempts at escaping and gave him a parole. Years after, Javert served as an inspector with the local police of the factory owner and mayor of Montreuil, Pas-de-Calais, Monsieur Madeleine. He suspects the identity of Madeleine when he rescues an injured worker trapped under a heavy cart. Then, Madeleine dismissed his attempt of arresting Fantine, a prostitute, for having a violent row with a street idler. The police caught someone they assumed as Jean Valjean so he went to Arras to confirm and went to the Madeleine to beg for him to be dismissed because he was mistaken as he suspected him to be Jean Valjean. Later then, Jean Valjean revealed himself and Javert arrests him but failed to do so. After a few years, Javert was recruited to be an inspector in the capital. He crossed paths with Valjean along with Cosette and tries to arrest them but failed again. Few years passed again and this time, Javert is a leader of a squad of policemen in the capture of a gang which had been terrorizing Paris for years. He pretended to be an ally to spy on the rebels but got recognized by Gavroche, a city urchin, and they imprisoned him. Valjean suddenly came in and offered to execute Javert but actually releases him and faked his death. When the rebellion ended, Javert expected Valjean to come out of the sewer he'd been hiding, though with a company that he agreed to help when Valjean asked him for a favor before he'll be captured. After helping, instead of capturing Valjean, Javert wandered the streets in emotional turmoil. He was morally confused by the mercy of Jean Valjean, so he commits suicide by throwing himself in the river Seine.

Law implies imposition by a sovereign authority and the obligation of obedience on the part of all subject to that authority. In Les Misérables, it's personified as a persistent man, Javert. He knows what exactly is law and assures that people know it too. He alone, is a living law. Just by mere seeing him, you would be reminded about the do's and do not's. He has been given different roles by the government regarding control and coordination. Even though the law changes it statement, it still is law, thus, should be obeyed. Until his last breath, as he throws himself, he buries every single thing on his heart and mind.

The film shows a variance of people. The visuals were very powerful, the places used were appropriate for the scenes. It makes you feel as if you're in the picture with a touch of modernity. The transitions between scenes are made smoothly. The overall spectacle as a musical was delivered right through on-screen. Also, the actors and actresses were picked thoroughly and gave justice to the specified role they had. 160 minutes runtime was maximized by not only having dramas but also with a little touch of comedy on some parts of the film. As a musical film, it respectably delivered with, of course, great voices. The choice of songs were actually nice and proper as well as the message and emotion being conveyed to the watchers.

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The Grizzly Man Soundtrack Music Review

Apr 10 2020 Published by under Uncategorized

The soundtrack to the movie Grizzly Man is amazingly magical and compelling. Richard Thompson heads a cast of five players that includes Jim O’Rourke in a two day, improv studio session at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley to score Werner Herzog’s film The Grizzly Man. They play a variety of instruments including cello and double bass, but the main mystery and magic is in Thompson’s guitar and the interaction between the players, producers and Werner Herzog.

First of all, the movie is astounding. As I watched I kept commenting on the music not knowing the players. Some of the music is not good. But, as Herzog says, music is never background, in his movies. And as Thompson says, music is sophisticated but crude, that the music is in the edges and without those edges all you have left is notes with no music.

The music fits the documentary very well. The movie is set in Alaska and in some sense so is the music. The beauty of watching Thompson work while Herzog directs “Change the planet!” is amazing. His eyes are so beautiful, his smile. I was charmed by this music and film in a way that art rarely touches me anymore. The bends that the guitar does just tears your insides and moves like tears in all your blocked body parts. It transcends.

The connection of spirit captured by these three genius (Tim Treadwell, Thompson and Herzog) is a blessing to us all.

Blog San Diego is an online resource for live music reviews, cd reviews, music news & features.

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No End in Sight For High School Musical

Mar 10 2020 Published by under Uncategorized

High School Musical Movie is no flash in the dark, teeny bopper, here to day and gone tomorrow fad. The surprises of High School Musical has even the critics talking about how great it is. It is being praised for it's music and choreography. Parents liken it to their generation's Grease movie. It is in fact one of the all time best selling movies and soundtracks to be released under the Disney banner. The franchise has produced not one, but three movies. Other spin offs include plays, tours, and books.

The original High School Musical Movie was released in Jan. 2006. It immediately caught on in popularity and tweens everywhere showed their loyalty by buying up franchise products such as lunch boxes, jewelry, albums, video games, and clothing. The plot was quite simple: boy (Troy) is a big basketball hero but he secretly yearns to be in the school's performing arts group. Boy then meets nerdy girl (Gabriella) who also dreams of being in the performing arts group. Problems arise when the boy bulks to pressure from friends and dad.

The film went on to win many awards including:

Billboard Music Award: Soundtrack Album of the Year
Emmy: Outstanding Choreography
Teen Choice Award: Best Breakout Artist and Best Chemistry
Television Critics Association Award: Outstanding Achievement in Children's Television

High School Musical 2 lived up to the first in popularity. The premiere brought in over 17 million viewers (almost ten million more than the first). It is the end of the school year and the gang get jobs at Lava Springs resort. The daughter of the resort owner has a crush on Troy and schemes to find a way to break up Troy and Gabriella. Though not as critically acclaimed as the first, High School Musical 2 remained popular and produced the Disney Channel hit song, "Fabulous", performed by Ashley Tisdale.

The franchise hit the big screen in the fall of 2008 with High School Musical Movie 3. The plot line evolves around the gang facing their fears about life after graduation. The two main characters Troy and Gabrielle deal with the prospect of being separated as each goes their own way.

Disney has taken full advantage of the franchise by creating several spin offs:
High School Music concert tour reached fans in the US, Canada and Latin America.
High School Music stage musical has been performed by theater groups throughout the United States and Great Britain.
High School Musical Ice Tour featured Olympic medal winning athletes.

There seems to be no end in near for the High School Musical franchise. It is rumored that High School Musical 4 is in development with most of the original cast coming back. Meanwhile, High School Musical 3 is breaking box office records in the United States and Great Britain.

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Rob Zombie, Master of Music & Movie Horror

Feb 10 2020 Published by under Uncategorized

Through the mid 80’s and 90’s, Rob Zombie made a mark on heavy metal with the driving, groove laden and creepy, horror rock of his brainchild band White Zombie, named for the 1932 film starring Bela Lugosi.

After White Zombie disbanded Rob continued with his unique musical style as a solo act, melding metal with industrial, hypnotic rhythms and haunting sounds. Zombie’s music is similar to the stylings of Nine Inch Nails and Marylin Manson, but it’s industrial hard rock combined with trance club beats, classic movie and television sound clips, screams and assorted other sound effects set it apart.

Zombie’s two initial solo releases, Hellbilly Deluxe, and The Sinister Urge, complete with his original, wild and creepy artwork, are as much a collection of songs as they are soundtracks without the moving pictures. With track titles like Super Beast, Dragula, Living Dead Girl, How to Make a Monster, Meet the Creeper, and a couple of my personal favorites, What Lurks on Channel X? and Scum of the Earth, you can’t help but notice his appreciation of the horror genre. Well, I guess you could also just look at a few of his album covers to see that.

His third solo release, Educated Horses, has a slightly different feel, and isn’t so much in-your-face monsters and horror, but he still rocks out while offering some more pop oriented rhythms along with a big heavy metal sound. He still covers spooky subject matter like the single American Witch, and other macabre tracks like Let It All Bleed Out, Death Of It All, The Lords of Salem, and the theme to his second feature film, The Devil’s Rejects.

That’s right, Zombie is making a mark in the horror movie industry as well as in music, and I have the strangest feeling that he’s not done by a long shot. At least, I hope there is more in store for us. I see Rob Zombie changing the shape of horror films the same way he influenced the genre of horror-rock.

His first venture in moviemaking, House of 1000 Corpses (Now available for Download from Amazon Unbox), is a horror bloodfest featuring a family of serial killers who take great pleasure in terrorizing four unlucky, young travellers.

The film is well made, with good acting, especially by veteran genre actor Sid Haig, who portrays Captain Spaulding, a nutty clown character who runs a roadside gas station/snack joint/murder ride, complete with complimentary “fried chicken.” Bill Moseley plays the “artistic” Otis who creates horrific works of art with his victims. Rob’s wife, Sheri Moon Zombie, also does a nice job as Baby, sister to Moseley’s character Otis.

House of 1000 Corpses benefits from some pretty creative editing too, blending great cinematography and lower quality video sequences actually shot by Rob Zombie in various locations, including a clip shot while he was on tour, performing in a concert hall in Canada.

Zombie’s directorial debut was soon followed by an even more disturbing sequel, The Devil’s Rejects. In this film we follow the plight of the serial slaying family as they attempt to outsmart the police, and still satisfy their lust for death. The Devil’s Rejects brings the horror into broad daylight. It is raw, not for the faint of heart.

During an interview Bill Moseley, who appears as Otis in the sequel, comments about a particular scene which he felt quite uncomfortable performing in. During a break in filming he told Rob Zombie, who had written and directed the film, about his situation. Rob replied, “Art is not safe.”

Rob zombie is an artist, and horror is his genre. Whether hs is writing, producing and performing his white-knuckle audio rides of terror, or writing and directing a feature horror film, it is entertainment, and he’s an entertainer.

Born Robert Cummings in 1965, Rob Zombie is a long time horror movie fan, particularly the classics. Obviously this has had a great influence on his work as a musician and artist. He’s a talented illustrator as well, responsible for most of the artwork on the White Zombie records, and his other releases. His drawing style is reminiscent of Ed Roth, creator of the character Ratfink and others, which became popular during the hot rod era of the 50’s and 60’s.

A true renaissance man, Zombie has also developed a comic book series entitled “Rob Zombie’s Spookshow International,” and collaborated on “Bigfoot,” an illustrated horror tale which paints a bloody and violent picture of the legendary forest giants, much to the dismay of many Bigfoot believers.

In the opinion of this reviewer – a horror movie and heavy metal fan from way back – Rob Zombie is a talented and creative guy. I also find him somewhat inspiring. After all, he has found success in doing what he enjoys. I hope he keeps on turning out more original music and horror movies for us. Come on, this stuff is cool… well, for weirdos like me anyhow.

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Music and Movies: History of the Soundtrack – Pt 1

Jan 10 2020 Published by under Uncategorized

Music and film have always gone together. In fact, before 'talkies' came along, the only sound you'd hear in a silent movie would be music. Silent film star, Charlie Chaplin was one of the finest physical comedians to ever grace the silver screen. But despite this, without music in the background, even his best films would be missing something. There's no doubt about it, music adds an emotional element to whatever may be occurring on film. Music can enhance and punctuate the entire spectrum of human emotion. Can anyone imagine a movie without music? Would you even want to?

One the first great musicals, the 1939 fantasy masterpiece and timeless classic, "The Wizard of Oz", starring the velvet voiced Judy Garland, is probably most peoples' first exposure to a movie musical. The longtime children's classic about a Kansas farm-girl named, Dorothy, who, along with her dog, Toto, is whisked away by a tornado to the magical land of Oz. There she befriends many strange and wonderful characters and makes a serious enemy in the form of a wicked witch, as she tries to get back home. Along with the imaginative story, the songs such as, "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" and "Ding Dong, the Witch is Dead!", Have since become a part of our popular culture. That same year, the first full length color film, the sweeping epic, "Gone With the Wind", about life in the south before, during, and after the civil war. The film's main musical theme was widely popular and still recognizable even today. Another very popular soundtrack was Walt Disney's first full length animated film, the classic, "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs". Released in 1937, Snow White made musical and movie history by being the first film to have it's soundtrack transferred to record disk. Other notable Disney film soundtracks were 1940's "Pinocchio" and the animated and live action, "Mary Poppins", released in 1964.

In 1955, Rodgers and Hammerstein's broadway musical, "Oklahoma", was brought to the big screen. Director, Fred Zinnemann fillmed the movie in the wide open spaces of Arizona. The visually beautiful film was big, bright, and colorful. However, the cinematography did not overpower Rodgers and Hammerstein's musical score, but rather complemented it. Oklahoma is classic musical film fare for all audiences. Remember "Oh What a Beautiful Mornin"? That song, along with other classics graced the film's soundtrack. Another Rodgers and Hammerstein musical brought to the big screen in 1965 with movie classic results, is the beautifully filmed, "Sound of Music". The memorable songs and Julie Andrew's outstanding performance as the governess of a wealthy man's children in Nazi occupied Austria, is a wonderful musical about the human spirit's ability to be uplifted by song in the face of unspeakable madness.

In 1961, we saw a musical retelling of Shakespeare's, "Romeo and Juliet" in the film "West Side Story". Starring the beautiful Natalie Wood, the story revolves around two rival gangs, the 'Jets', a white gang, and a Hispanic gang called the 'Sharks'. Complications arise when Maria, (Wood), the sister of the Sharks gang leader falls in love with the leader of the Jets. True, the fighting / dancing sequences are a bit corny, but the songs in the film, such as, "Somewhere", "I Feel Pretty", and of course, "When You're a Jet" are all classics. In fact, the 2003 film, "Anger Management", starring Adam Sandler and Jack Nicholson, there's a scene in which Nicholson playfully goads Sandler into singing, "I Feel Pretty", to ease his tensions. 42 years later, and yes, youthful audiences may not have known where the song came from, but they recognized it.

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"High School Musical" Gives an Outstanding Message About Acceptance by Teenagers

Dec 10 2019 Published by under Uncategorized

High School Musical – 3 Stars (Good)

The Disney Channel had to be beside itself with the premiere broadcast in January 2006 of “High School Musical” which was its most successful made-for-television movie up to that time with 7.7 million viewers.

In addition to its commercial success High School Musical is an even bigger artistic success with an outstanding message about acceptance by teenagers in today’s world.

This movie represents everything that is right about today’s teenagers. We see quality athletes, quality academic students, quality relationships and personal growth which leads to right thinking, right motives and right actions at the appropriate time.

All of this happens in a movie that is rated G, not PG, PG-13, R or NC-17. Can you appreciate how rare it is to see a G-rated movie that is not an animated film?

Millions of parents and adults are so sick and tired of seeing teenagers involved with filthy language, sexual gymnastics, drug use, murder, rape, mayhem and evil doing.

Hollywood says they only make these films because it is what moviegoers want to see; it really gives you an insight into just how permissive, warped and out of touch they are with mainstream America.

Having said that let me gush about High School Musical and the quality direction by Kenny Ortega and quality writing by Peter Barsocchini, who sends an excellent message about acceptance that every teen struggles with growing up.

A New Year’s Eve party brings Troy Bolton (Zac Efron) and Gabriella Montez (Vanessa Anne Hudgens) together. While they are singing karaoke together they discover their love for music and interest in each other.

Gabriella, a very bright student, comes to a new school and rediscovers Troy, a jock and star of the basketball team. When Troy and Gabriella become fast friends they win a callback during the school musical auditions. Teen drama queen Sharpay Evans (Ashley Tisdale) and her brother Ryan (Lucas Grabeel) are upset as they have been the lead in the past 17 school plays.

When Troy’s basketball teammates realize he has auditioned for the musical and is neglecting his duties as team captain, and Gabriella’s teammates on the academic team realize she has become friends with Troy, members of both teams conspire to break up their friendship.

When both Troy and Gabriella’s performances slip dramatically and are obviously distraught because they are only trying to break out of their expected roles, their teammates confess to the conspiracy to break-up their friendship.

The conspiracy is led by Chad Danforth (Corbin Bleu), Troy’s best friend and basketball teammate, and Taylor McKessie (Monique Coleman), Gabriella’s friend and leader of the school’s Science Club that competes in the scholastic decathlon. Monique Coleman went on to compete in the popular series Dancing With the Stars.

Sharpay and brother Ryan know that Troy and Gabriella are real competition for their usual position on stage and set about to disrupt the callback by getting their drama teacher Alyson Reed, an even bigger drama queen, to change the time of the callback to interfere with Troy’s championship basketball game and Gabriella’s scholastic decathlon.

Troy helps his team win the championship, and Gabriella helps her team win the scholastic decathlon. Both of them make the callback and get the lead role in the play even though all three events occur at the same time. You will have to see the film to understand how their basketball and scholastic teammates devise a plan to make it happen.

By being themselves and having the courage to try something new, both Troy and Gabriella motivate their classmates to try new interests.

High School Musical is about a diverse school population that takes diversity to a better place. Instead of focusing solely on the issue of diversity writer Peter Barsocchini ignores the trite, obvious issues of color of skin, size of bodies and good looks and builds around an even more important point: acceptance when being different.

Perhaps we can now move on to not being so concerned that two African American coaches were opponents in the most recent Super Bowl, and just concentrate on the game and players. Maybe we can move on beyond everything being viewed from a racial perspective.

Maybe we can truly examine the issue of acceptance and other important issues in the lives of our teenage children rather than focusing on the fact that where acceptance does not exist that it must be race related.

High School Musical shows teenagers being devious, screwing up, fessing up to messing up, feeling remorse, doing something constructive to make it right, and everyone one being a better person in the end, even our drama queen Sharpay and brother Ryan.

More than 600 auditioned for the movie and Vanessa Anne Hudgens had to compete with 12 others for the role of Gabriella; she and the other girls danced and sang all day to win the role.

High School Musical was the working title for the film and was used when post-production came because a better name had not surfaced. Andrew Seeley’s voice was dubbed in for Zac Efron.

Seeley composed and sang “Get’cha Head in the Game” which was nominated for an Emmy. Composer Jamie Houston’s “Breaking Free” was nominated for an Emmy. Ortega was also nominated for an Emmy as was Jason La Padura for Outstanding Casting.

High School Musical did win one Emmy for Outstanding Children’s Program and another for Outstanding Choreography. In all, the film had 9 wins and 10 nominations for various awards.

I highly recommend this film for parents, teenagers and children of all ages who would have the patience to sit through this movie. High School Musical sends a great message about children today and needs continued strong support to spread its positive message.

Copyright © 2007 Ed Bagley

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