Perhaps not *quite* what you want...
Wesley Clark | Springfield, Virginia | 04/26/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"If you're like me and you have a hankering for "film noir music," you're probably thinking of a lonely sax playing an urban, 3 AM melodic line, backed by some bluesy chords from a small jazz ensemble. Like John Barry's excellent theme from "Body Heat," for example, or something like Jerry Goldsmith's theme for "Chinatown."
Never mind the fact that the great majority of films noir from the classic period (1941-1955) didn't have jazzy background music like that at all, but was usually scored with quasi-classical romantic string music (with a solo violin) or bombastic, brass-heavy instrumentals.
Anyway, this CD isn't the 3 AM sax stuff.
Not to say that there isn't some of that on here. You might like "Godfather" (not, however, the theme you're thinking of from the Francis Ford Coppola Godfather films), or "Blues for Guylaine," or even the bluesy passages from Bernard Herrmann's "Taxi Driver" suite.
But there's some odd stuff on here that causes me to wonder how, precisely, it qualifies as "film noir."
For instance, the dreamy carnival music from "The Elephant Man," or the angular string music in "Buckets of Blood" (from "Carrie," not the Roger Corman film). Seems like a reach. The first cut, "Turning Pages" had me unpleasantly surprised, and triggered my I've been ripped-off alarm. And "Chop Shop" has a wah guitar that sounds a lot more like a 70's blaxsploitation film than film noir.
The inclusion of Angelo Badalamenti helps redeem the collection; his music for "Twin Peaks," "Fire, Walk With Me" and "Mulholland Drive" redefines what a noir theme should sound like.
This CD is odd, no doubt about it. "Godfather," which sounds decidedly noirish, is from a comedy/drama film about a man who's paid to impregnate lesbians. "The Wrong Man" music is relentlessly perky but comes from a bona fide noir. (Okay, a Hitchcock noir, not quite the same thing.)
The key here, I guess, is to enlarge the scope of what you think noir film music ought to be... But perhaps a better title for this collection of music might have been "Neo-Noir!"
Still, credit must be given to liner notes writer Eddie Muller and his Film Noir Foundation for at least directing the current noir wave. His book "Dark City" turned me - and probably many others - to noir. Long may his tribe increase!
Summary: If you're looking for classic/sterotypical, 3 AM wet-pavements-in-the-Dark-City noirish stuff, try John Barry's "Body Heat," which I enthusiastically recommend. Barry practically *owns* that silky/sexy slow sax genre.
Nice imaginative collection
Robert C. Cumbow | Seattle, WA USA | 08/04/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"A collection of musical cues from various film noir scores, but imaginatively assembled to constitute a new score for a nonexistent movie. Cleverly done, choosing from excellent sources, and not going for the easy or the obvious. It's exciting to hear someone making a connection between Bernard Herrmann and Angelo Badalamenti."