BFI John Barry Season

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  • Napoleon PluralNapoleon Plural LondonPosts: 10,198MI6 Agent

    And of course, here is the rest of that James Bond gatefold compilation:

    I'd love it if there were a Roger Moore version of this.

    "This is where we leave you Mr Bond."

    Roger Moore 1927-2017
  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 3,131MI6 Agent

    Very nice 😀

  • Shady TreeShady Tree London, UKPosts: 2,962MI6 Agent
    edited February 13

    When I bought that album, I hadn't yet seen FRWL, YOLT or OHMSS. Looking again at those images reminds me how I pored over them at the time, imagining the wonders of the unseen films while listening to the music. I'd previously looked over pics from the same movies in John Brosnan's 'James Bond In The Cinema' (several of them the same pics).

    Having last week been to the same screening of YOLT as @chrisno1 I know what he means about the experience losing its gloss with repeat viewings and over-familiarity. But the one area where for me the freshness always remains is Barry's music.

    Critics and material I don't need. I haven't changed my act in 53 years.
  • Napoleon PluralNapoleon Plural LondonPosts: 10,198MI6 Agent
    edited February 13

    Me too! It seems I have a double to outdo @chrisno1 ! I got it on the 1978-80 bounce and what was great about it at first was not just the photos but the fact these were the original tracks, not a Geoff Love cover version thing that was all the rage back then.

    Mum got it for me - she recalled the Three Blind Mice song from the opener of Dr No decades ago. But I think Dr No premiered on British TV in 1975 and didn't seem to get shown again for ages... most people of my age range saw it around 1986 or so when it got huge audiences - 24m or 27m - over Christmas because of its rarity value.

    Hadn't seen FRWL for similar reasons - I was on a ski holiday in Austria in Xmas 78 when it got resown, then was 11 going on 12 when it got shown again. Very odd times but as I mention on another thread, it would have allowed Moore to be more established as 'James Bond'.

    Really my first idea of knowing the chronology of the films and the plots came from Brosnan's book, can't recall which I got first, this or that. Another source of interest were the paperback film tie-ins, found in local 'antique' shops (tat shops, really), but with a charm.

    The black and white pics in this generated a real atmosphere even though you'd prefer colour - it helped give the idea that the films were older and more mysterious than they were - similar to the mugshots in Philip Norman's Beatles bio Shout! which came out after Lennon's death. When I first bought this LP the middle section was missing and only when I saw it again in store with all the pics inside did I realise and got a return.

    Another book to complement this is Namedroppers, which I got second hand at the time. It came out around 1969 and is of its time in that it profiles the big statesmen and celebs of the 20th century - generals such as Patton, presidents such as JFK and Eisenhower, movie stars such as Grace Kelly, Cary Grant, Sean Connery and Bob Hope, sportsmen such as Arnold Palmer and Bobby Moore (I think) plus authors such as Somerset Maughan and Ian Fleming. Iconic villains such as Mussolini and Hitler. Tellingly, the only pop band was the Beatles. Elvis might have got in but that was it, pop stars just weren't feted in the same way then unless they had major 'cut through'. In some ways it wasn't so different to the wall art of the Sgt Pepper LP - pick all the big names and put them on the board!

    Movie stars would have all their key movies listed, ditto musicians such as Duke Ellington.

    George Lazenby was mentioned with a pic of the gals at Piz Gloria as 'the new boy' - either on the Fleming or Connery bio.

    You can pick up a copy on eBay now... won't post the link, it's too long. Put on the Barry LP, open a bottle of French Malbec...

    "This is where we leave you Mr Bond."

    Roger Moore 1927-2017
  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 3,131MI6 Agent
    edited February 13

    Put on the Barry LP, open a bottle of French Malbec...

    from Languedoc, I hope, @Napoleon Plural 🍷🍷🍷

  • Shady TreeShady Tree London, UKPosts: 2,962MI6 Agent
    edited March 1

    'Four in the Morning'

    Anthony Simmons' monochrome 1965 feature was screened this evening in a reasonably full NFT2. The film includes three narratives, connected by locations along the River Thames at dawn: the body of an unknown woman is recovered by river police (the recovery being presented in documentary style as a 'procedural'); a nightclub worker (Ann Lynn) is taken by an admirer (Brian Phelan) for a coffee after her shift - and then for a fast ride in a stolen motorboat - but the couple fail to relate; a jaded wife (Judi Dench) confronts her husband (Norman Rodway) after he's left her at home, struggling with a crying baby, and gone out boozing all night with his chipper chum (Joe Melia). The idea, I think, is that the unknown drowned woman symbolises a potential for tragedy in the lives of the other two, disconsolate women. Judi Dench's scenes are more compelling but Barry spends longer at work on Ann Lynn's story (perhaps because it has less dialogue): he captures the emotional listlessness of a romance failing to ignite on a misty morning and a sense of danger as the speeding motorboat narrowly avoids collisions.

    Who knew that in the same year that Bernard Lee's M was announcing Operation Thunderball his successor but one was tied to the kitchen sink, a frustrated wife and mother fretting to the plaintive sounds of Bond's own composer... or that Barry had already scored daring, high speed boat action on the Thames three decades ahead of David Arnold in TWINE?


    'Boy and Bicycle'

    'Four in the Morning' was preceded in this evening's programme by a screening of Ridley Scott's first film, a 1965 short featuring brother Tony as a young man who escapes the claustrophobia of his home by cycling along a seafront. We get to hear the boy's reflections in a voiceover. The footage, cleverly edited, occasionally includes disconcerting images, such as a dead dog on the beach, but Barry's theme is upbeat, focused more on the exhilaration of the bike ride getaway. Apparently Barry's involvement was a favour to Scott.

    Critics and material I don't need. I haven't changed my act in 53 years.
  • Shady TreeShady Tree London, UKPosts: 2,962MI6 Agent
    edited March 1

    'Deadfall'

    Bryan Forbes' 1968 movie screened this evening in NFT2. I thoroughly enjoyed this one. Michael Caine's impassive cool as cat burglar Henry Clarke - broken occasionally when the character's in crisis - occupies seamlessly a place between the star's better known personae as Harry Palmer and Jack Carter. (Clarke even anticipates Charlie Croker of 'The Italian Job' - if only in the sense that he's also a thief). That 'Deadfall' is little seen is probably due to a number of reasons: it's less clearly a genre movie than Caine's greatest hits, instead plumbing some murky psychological themes; too much of its story rests on spoken exposition; Giovanna Ralli, playing love interest Fe, and Forbes favourite Eric Porter as antagonist Richard lack the charisma necessary to give Caine the best context in terms of supporting performances. I only wish Laurence Olivier had played Porter's part, ahead of his casting as Andrew Wyke opposite Caine in 'Sleuth'; Olivier would have been an ideal fit for the Richard role. (Meanwhile Bond fans will appreciate Vladek Sheybal's comically creepy turn with Caine at the beginning of 'Deadfall'.) Issues with casting and performance aside, a strength is the great look of 'Deadfall'. It's artfully framed, photographed and edited; the mise en scene is captivating.

    John Barry's score is hugely important to the film. Firstly, there's Barry's Shirley Bassey theme song, 'My Love Has Two Faces'. This number's a belter, for sure, but it's more romantic than it is 60s Bondian Bassey. It reminds me rather of 'No Good About Goodbye', the David Arnold song for Bassey which was probably Arnold's pitch for the main title of 'Quantum Of Solace' (unused). (I have to wonder, there, whether Arnold was directly inspired by 'My Love Has Two Faces'.) Barry's incidental score for 'Deadfall' is beautifully romantic, sometimes infused with quasi-Bondian moodiness and menace and with splashes of Spanish colour (matching the movie's setting). Barry also contributes some jazz-based pop for a costume party scene and for Nanette Newman's pre-coital musings, as she dances to herself at David Buck's place. (Barry cheekily includes a snatch of 'Beat Girl' there, too.)

    But the most extraordinary musical element of the film is Barry's 14 minute guitar concerto, 'Romance for Guitar and Orchestra'. Barry conducts this on screen in a concert brilliantly intercut with a sequence of Caine mounting a perilous mansion burglary. The concerto is certainly the highlight of 'Deadfall' and arguably it's one of the highlights of this entire BFI season. Barry himself looks like a movie star as conductor. His on-screen image and Caine's are both enhanced by Forbes' juxtaposition of their scenes: there's a cool similarity of look. Of course, Barry's appearance here foreshadows his later, celebratory cameo as conductor at the end of TLD. (His early career on camera for TV as a pop star leading The John Barry Seven - initially on vocals - is probably what explains his consummate ease appearing in person in these movies.)


    As a supplement to my continuing attendance at the BFI Barry sesson I went to the Prince Charles Cinema yesterday to see TB with the popcorn crowd in the downstairs cinema. TB's multiple underwater sequences depend heavily on Barry for their menace, excitement and enchantment.

    Critics and material I don't need. I haven't changed my act in 53 years.
  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 3,131MI6 Agent

    Thanks for that review @Shady Tree. I watched this on TV last year and considered it to be much better than its general reputation suggests. It is a touch muddled, but many sixties thrillers were a touch muddled. As you say the music is very good, another of Barry's classy 'classic era' soundtracks. I wanted to see this, but my study schedule took priority.

  • Shady TreeShady Tree London, UKPosts: 2,962MI6 Agent
    edited March 4

    'Boom'

    Screening this evening in NFT2 was Joseph Losey's 1968 adaptation of Tennessee Williams' play, 'The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Anymore'. Elizabeth Taylor stars as the irascible, terminally ill Mrs Goforth, spending her last summer in her richly furnished island villa ("I have lots of art treasures in my bedroom - myself included"). Richard Burton is a trespasser poet turned angel of death and Noel Coward is a dinner jacketed wag, self-styled as 'the witch of Capri'.

    John Barry leaves alone the 'Boom' title sequence, which plays to the sound of waves crashing against rocks in the wind (metaphorically linking to what Burton's character identifies as "the shock of each moment of being alive.") The score is minimalist and sometimes eerily atonal, reflecting Mrs Goforth's nervous disorder and the gradual hemorrhaging away of her life. (Bond fans might notice occasional hints of similarity with Barry's music of the following year for the more psychedelic aspects of Blofeld's villainy at Piz Gloria in OHMSS.) Ethnic musical colourings include a background performance by sitar players as Mrs Goforth dines with Noel Coward on the terrace, and the Mediterranean rhythms of different tracks on her tape deck (diegetic music bleeding into the extra-diegetic, here. Some of this music keys into the film's Sardinian location. But the less said about the barrel organ track, the better).


    'Midnight Cowboy'

    Later in the evening an NFT1 screening of John Schlesinger's 1969 film attracted probably the hippest audience of the season so far.

    Barry was musical supervisor on 'Midnight Cowboy', his personal compositions set alongside the music of a range of other talent, including countercultural artists for the film's set piece party scene. Harry Nilsson's cover of 'Everybody's Talkin'' is indelibly associated with the film, of course, while Barry writes a memorable harmoica piece contributing his own sense of Americana for Jon Voight's Joe Buck, a Texan hustler in New York. Compared with George Lazenby's wooden performance of grief at the end of OHMSS in the same year, when Bond's wife is shot dead in their car on their wedding day (Barry famously commented that Lazenby "couldn't boil an egg" in the scene), Buck's pain at the passing of Dustin Hoffman's fever-stricken Rizzo during their bus journey to Florida is genuinely moving. At the end of the movie Barry's theme underlines the pathos of that resolution beautifully.

    As a sidenote... In the scene where Buck first resorts to turning same-sex tricks he's fellated in a grimy movie theater by a hapless young john. The film screening in the theater while this is happening is a sci fi flick in which an astronaut floats free of his rocket ship during some kind of crisis in space. That may ring a bell for Bond fans: Barry's music, here, for the 'movie within a movie' is indeed Bondian sounding, vaguely along the lines of YOLT's 'Space March' of a couple of years before. But this time the music isn't simply about the plight of an astronaut in a comic book situation of peril: the featured sci fi crisis reflects Buck's psychological turmoil as he hustles in the grindhouse fleapit; Barry's score there is for both modes of drama.

    Critics and material I don't need. I haven't changed my act in 53 years.
  • emtiememtiem SurreyPosts: 5,648MI6 Agent

    I keep meaning to watch Deadfall as I know it mainly because of Romance for Guitar and Orchestra, but it doesn't pop up very often.

  • Shady TreeShady Tree London, UKPosts: 2,962MI6 Agent
    edited March 2

    'The Tamarind Seed'

    Blake Edwards' 1974 romance/ espionage thriller screened this evening in NFT3 in a now colour-faded original print.

    Trouble ensues when Julie Andrews, a British Foreign Office employee on holiday in Barbados, is charmed and courted by the military attache to the Russian embassy in Paris, Omar Sharif. Unfortunately there's no real spark between our romantic leads, meaning that significant stretches of the movie are rather uninvolving. Anthony Quayle is good value as an intelligence chief in London but field agent Bryan Marshall (Commander Talbot in TSWLM) is a rather bland figure. Sylvia Syms and Daniel O'Herlihy add some entertaining intrigue. The casting of Oskar Homolka as an exasperated Russian General borders on the kind of comic stereotyping for which Blake Edwards is best known.

    John Barry's score is a highlight of the film, alongside Freddie Young's cinematography, the location work in Barbados and Julie Andrews' Dior fashions. The combination of Barry's music and a titles sequence by Maurice Binder inevitably puts one in mind of Bond. When Binder has Sharif and Julie Andrews walk speculatively past each other in pop-art, silhouetted profile it's easy to see this as a template for his classic TSWLM titles (1977). I hear echoes of Barry's TMWTGG soundtrack (1974), insistent and lyricallly mournful, as Julie Andrews strolls along the beach, replaying in her mind images of her husband's death in a car accident. Barry later foregrounds a dominating, linear suspense theme, building tension as a Russian hit squad tails and targets Sharif. Finally, Barry's composition for the film's romantic resolution has the same graceful, full-bodied symphonic quality towards which he was to move Bond as lover in MR (1979) and OP (1983): that style was already there in 1974.


    It was good to see @chrisno1 at the screening. This is one we'd anticipated when chatting after the panel event last month which trailed it.

    Critics and material I don't need. I haven't changed my act in 53 years.
  • emtiememtiem SurreyPosts: 5,648MI6 Agent
    edited March 2

    I have struggled to get through Tamarind: it’s quite dull.

    I love the score, it’s one of my favourites. Despite it being one of Barry’s kind of stock approaches during this time: beautiful main theme which is also a song plus a B theme of a more sinister variety, rinse and repeat. Something like Quiller Memorandum is cut from the same structure. The score album actually gets a bit repetitive as the sinister theme takes over but the main theme is so gorgeous it’s hard to complain.

  • Napoleon PluralNapoleon Plural LondonPosts: 10,198MI6 Agent

    I personally found this with a couple of Barry LPs - Out of Africa and Somewhere in Time. Both have great main themes but he doesn't half repeat them, also both feature a classical track that is not actually Barry's. The Bond LPs had more 'choones.' As does, The Lion in Winter.

    "This is where we leave you Mr Bond."

    Roger Moore 1927-2017
  • emtiememtiem SurreyPosts: 5,648MI6 Agent

    Yeah for a lot of perhaps more minor films he seemed to draw the line at two themes and thats all you get! Maybe he even had a payment structure 😁

    For the Bonds he seemed to pull out more melodic stops and individual scenes etc. would get more melodies.

  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 3,131MI6 Agent
    edited March 2

    Further to the review from @Shady Tree, I'd like to add that the music score was probably the best thing about the film, although the supporting performances were very good - Sylvia Syms was nominated for a BAFTA. I can't comment on the photography because the BFI print was so appalling - the colours were almost totally washed out - we may as well have watched it in black and white, or red and white, as it were.

    I really like the main theme, called Play It Again, both in the instrumental and the vocal version sung by Wilma Reading. I had to look her up as she is not credited on screen, on IMDB or mentioned in the BFI notes. I found it on a the link for the Silva Screen Records 2022 release, which won an award for Best Retro Issue, or something. Don Black wrote the lyrics.

    Silva Screen Records

    For me, the music often had a slow, jazzy DAF vibe. There was a faint echo of the intro to Bond Meets Bambi & Thumper. Without listening to the OST I can't tell you exactly the other pieces of music I enjoyed, but the romantic theme, or a variation of it, was used well in two extended scenes, one in Barbados where Julie Andrews and Omar Sharif share dinner and a palm sheltered stroll, the other during a tryst at a London dance club. Both times the music brilliantly captured the essence of place and emotion. Towards the climax, Barry uses a repetitive 'pulse beat' to increase tension, similar to some of his work in OHMSS [Gumbold's Safe] and GF [The Laser Beam]. It was a very good soundtrack.

    For my full film review, see the link below.

    https://www.ajb007.co.uk/discussion/comment/1067629#Comment_1067629

  • emtiememtiem SurreyPosts: 5,648MI6 Agent
    edited March 2

    The recent Silva Screen expanded release of the soundtrack is on Spotify at the moment.


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