Actors singing creepy songs, the 50’s and 60’s

February 25th, 2015

Actors singing creepy songs, the 50’s and 60’s

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When I think of a lullaby, I get warm fuzzy visions of a baby in swaddling clothes being rocked to sleep as mother sings a safe and comforting song. Well I did until I recently watched the remastered version of Rosemary’s Baby. So what kind of a lullaby do your sing to your baby knowing he or she is the spawn of Satan? I’m glad you asked.

Today I’m blogging about songs in scary film soundtracks that were performed by actors in the same film. Personally I love this practice and to me it adds yet another layer of delicious creepiness to the scary movie genre. Mia Farrow (so cute) the lead actress in the movie Rosemary’s Baby (1968) sings through the opening scene and there is little doubt that her song is a foreshadow of things to come. The song is creepy in the context in which it’s sung and placed in the film and it also relates to Rosemary’s mental state which will slowly begin to unravel. The composer is Krzysztof Komeda.

By the way, I highly recommend watching the film again or for the first time if you haven’t already done so. A wonderful film from start to finish and no flashy special effects to get in the way. I think the film is more about the reproductive rights of women and misogyny and the whole Satan thing is kind of the B story.

Next up is “ Pretty Fly “ from “ The Night of the Hunter “ made in 1955. The song is sung by the character Pearl, a young girl who along with her little brother are relentlessly pursued by Robert Mitchum who aims to kill them as they are witnesses to murder. This is a very creepy film and Mitchum sings the traditional hymn “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms” throughout the film as if he were the grim reaper.
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From Wikipedia…
“ The film’s score, composed and arranged by Walter Schumann in close association with Laughton, features a combination of nostalgic and expressionistic orchestral passages. The film has two original songs by Schumann, “Lullaby” (sung by Kitty White, whom Schumann discovered in a nightclub) and “Pretty Fly” (originally sung by Sally Jane Bruce as Pearl, but later dubbed by an actress named Betty Benson “

And last but certainly not least, “ O Willow Waly “ from the 1961 film. “ The Innocents “

From Wikipedia…
“ The Innocents is a 1961 British supernatural gothic horror film directed and produced by Jack Clayton, and starring Deborah Kerr, Michael Redgrave and Megs Jenkins. Based on the novella The Turn of the Screw by Henry James, the plot follows a governess who watches over two children and discovers that the house is haunted by ghosts and that the two children are being possessed. The title of the film was taken from William Archibald’s stage adaptation of James’ novella. Falling within the subgenre of psychological horror, the film achieves its effects through lighting, music and direction rather than conventional shocks. Its atmosphere was created by cinematographer Freddie Francis, who employed deep focus in many scenes, as well as bold, minimal lighting. It was partly shot on location at the Gothic mansion of Sheffield Park in Sussex. “
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Isla Cameron, Anna, imitated a child’s voice and sang the traditional song “Oh, Willow Waly”. The composer Georges Auric incorporated her singing into the orchestral soundtrack. I couldn’t find a video from the film but I did find this version with the lyrics. Is it just me or have we all heard a very similar song in a movie released just recently? Or maybe it was just a bird mimicking a song, like a mockingjay! Ha ha

That was a brief look at the 50’s and 60’s, next blog I’ll delve into the 70’s.
Bye for now.

Beauty

February 11th, 2015

Beauty
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Beauty

What do I care if you are good?
Be beautiful! and be sad!
CHARLES BAUDELAIRE, Flowers of Evil

Today’s blog is about beauty. In my experience and in my experience observing others, beauty really is in the eye of the beholder. And in the eyes of others, you can glimpse the sparkle of someone’s soul or lack thereof.
Remember in the film “ American Beauty “ when the young man saw the beauty in a plastic bag floating in the air currents? Anything can be beautiful and it all depends on the observer. There’s a guy who panhandles on West Broadway that I occasionally see and stop to talk to. He’s grubby and dirty and has a shopping cart and his hands are yellowish brown from rolling and smoking cigarettes. All that doesn’t matter because he has the most beautiful smile and always has a kind word. If the Christ consciousness incarnated again on earth – this would be his vessel.
And of course there is beauty in nature if you care to look up from your cell phone. On a recent trip to Tofino, I spent a stormy afternoon on Wickaninnish Beach. The wind howled and drove the salty rain against my face and the massive waves crashed upon the sand and the watery tendrils stretched out to lure me in. One of the most beautiful things I have ever seen!
And of course there is beauty in art. You have probably heard someone recount a time in their life when they have so moved by art that they cried at the beauty of the experience. Or perhaps you have had such an experience? I hope so.
I want you to experience a piece of music that I find beautiful. Not only is the music exceptional, the visuals are as well and it’s a rare example of what happens when everything magically works together. I know what the song is about and you won’t be able to decipher the lyrics – I will provide them in the next video. The reason for all the mystery is what I’ve been going on about in this blog – that beauty depends on the observer and listener. I wonder if you will change your mind at all when you discover what the song is about?

And now here is the song and lyrics but no video. You’ll notice that this version is longer and in my opinion the superior version as the video was edited down for commercial exploitation. Quite criminal considering how beautiful the choir sounds.

Ok so did you change your mind? Does it matter? There is so much beauty and hope in this song and I could listen to it over and over and over again.
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Mark Hollis from Talk Talk has never had much to say about the song and here’s a little blurb from Wikipedia…
“I Believe in You” has been described as an “anti-heroin song.”[5] When asked whether the lyrics are based on personal experience, Hollis replied, “No, not at all. But, you know, I met people who got totally fucked up on it. Within rock music there’s so much fucking glorification of it, and it is a wicked, horrible thing.”[15]

That’s it for today.
Oh ya one more thing….
I believe in you!

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