127 FRIDAY 31 OCTOBER 2014
They All Laughed – Ensamble
Here I am sitting in front of a blank screen trying to explain why I included They All Laughed, simply because I like it. Do I need to type paragraph after paragraph trying to intellectualise the reason why I chose this song? I think not. It is a fun song, I like it, period.
They All Laughed has been recorded by the likes of Chet Baker, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, and more recently Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga. However, I picked this version from the musical “Nice Work If You Can Get It” because the show’s cast sings it after the bows. I wondered how many people in the company were laughed at when they said one day they’d be on a Broadway show. I’m sure every night every actor and dancer in the company were giving the finger to the many naysayers who laughed at their dreams of being on Broadway. Who’s got the last laugh now bitches?
Song Title: They All Laughed – 1937 Artist: Ensamble Genre: Soundtrack Composer: George Gershwin Lyricist: Ira Gershwin Album: Nice Work If You Can Get It (Original Broadway Soundtrack)
Favourite Lyrics: They all laughed at Wilbur and his brother when they said that man could fly / They told Marconi wireless was a phony, it’s the same old cry / They laughed at me wanting you, said I was reaching for the moon / But oh, you came through, now they’ll have to change their tune.
Runners Up: I’ve Got to Be There – Reprise • I’ve Got You Under My Skin • You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To
128 SATURDAY 1 NOVEMBER 2014
Tonight You Belong To Me – Emily Ritz, Lyle Ritz
I had never given my full attention to this song until Sutton Foster and her brother, Hunter, sang it together on an episode of her failed TV show, “Buns”. The song talks about two lovers who have decided to part ways and are spending one last night together. However, one of the lovers is not giving up, he is ready to play his last move. The new morning has not arrived yet and hope is alive until then. In the meantime “Tonight You Belong To Me.”
Although it is clear to me that the song is about lovers saying goodbye, I’ve heard it sung by relatives, like Sutton and Hunter Foster, in addition to Patience & Prudence who popularised the song in 1956. More recently, Benjamin J. Ames and his four-year-old daughter melted the hearts of YouTube watchers with their lovely rendition of this song, Tonight You Belong to Me (Cover). I guess, in reality, it is a song about all types of love that sooner or later walk away from our lives.
At some point in its almost 90 years of existence, Tonight You Belong To Me became a standard for Ukuleles. The song goes to a different level when interpreted just with such instrument; it becomes more evocative and distant. It becomes a true farewell piece. That is the reason I have included this instrumental version by father and daughter duo, Lyle and Emily Ritz; it is a charming rendition.
Song Title: Tonight You Belong To Me – 1926 Artist: Emily Ritz, Lyle Ritz Genre: Pop Composer: Lee David Lyricist: Billy Rose Album: A Night of Ukulele Jazz/Live At McCabe’s
Runners Up: Just One Of Those Things • It’s De-Lovely • Always True To You In My Fashion • In The Still Of The Night • Easy To Love • Everytime We Say Goodbye • I Love The Night Life (Disco ‘Round) • Last Dance • Shake Your Groove Thing • Folies Bergère • Unusual Way • Finale • Io Bacio…Tu Baci
129 SUNDAY 2 NOVEMBER 2014
Folies Bergeres – Chita Rivera, Saundra Santiago, & Company
Another Folies Bergeres on the list, but this one comes from a musical. The first Folies Bergeres came from a film. ( See Week 15)
I know, 7500 plus songs in my iTunes library and I picked two totally different songs with the same name.
Follies Bergeres comes from the 1982 Broadway show “Nine”, based on Fellini’s “8 ½ “. A film director, Guido Contini, is going through a creative block as he approaches 40. His producer, a former vedette at the Folies Bergeres, demands his next film to be a musical. Enough of existentialist directors and their films, she thinks.
I discovered Folies Bergeres in the early 1990s while I was doing my Masters in Film And Video, and let me tell you I used to play it in my head almost every day in class. You see, I was studying film because I wanted to tell stories and film was the medium I wanted to use; it was as simple as that. However, I wasn’t prepared for the debate of ‘film as art’ versus ‘film as entertainment’. I remember the hours I spent in class listening to a few students discussing the merits of filmmaking as a liberating catalyst tool for a director to express his or her true nature as a member of the human race… (?) I know, right? What the hell does that even mean!
There was a woman in my class, let’s call her Becky for purposes of this exercise. Actually, I believe her name was really Becky, so let’s call her Lucinda. Anyway, one time our film professor asked how we would do a certain scene, she would talk about Hitchcock angles, framing with both index fingers and thumbs, naturally. How about some Goddard style for the lighting? Some of that disjunctive Truffaut editing would punch the scene, perhaps? “Really Becky? I mean, Lucinda. Professor Lustig said ‘a woman just walks into a café’ emphasis on just. Whatcha you talking about? This ain’t Gone With The Wind, bring it down a notch Fleming!”
That type of approach definitively wasn’t my thing. Although I may have rolled my eyes then, I can appreciate now what she was trying to do, she was just trying to find a voice as a filmmaker. At the time, I considered filmmaking’s main mission to be entertaining, being an art form was only optional. These days, I don’t debate those things, everybody is entitled to tell the story they want to tell in whatever way they wish to do it.
Song Title: Folies Bergeres – 1982 Artist: Chita Rivera, Saundra Santiago, & Company Genre: Musical Composer: Maury Yeston Lyricist: Maury Yeston Album: Nine 2003 Broadway Cast
Favourite Lyrics: The trouble with Contini, he’s the king of mediocrities, / A second-rate director who believes that he is Socrates. / He never makes a “movie” or a “picture” or a “flick” / He makes a “film”-get it? -a “film”. / A typical Italian with his auto and biography, / A mixture of Catholicism, pasta, and pornography, / A superficial, womanizing, moderately charming Latin fraud.
Runners Up: Unusual Way • Overture Delle Donne • Unusual Way
130 MONDAY 3 NOVEMBER 2014
Overture – No, No, Nanette – Orchestra
I like Overtures, you can get instrumental versions of all the songs from a show in just one piece. The Overture of “No, No, Nanette” includes two favourites of mine which will eventually make it to the list, “Tea For Two” and “I Want To Be Happy”. More on those and the show itself later, when the two songs make it to the list.
Song Title: Overture – No, No, Nanette – 1925 Artist: Orchestra Genre: Musical Composer: Vincent Youmans Lyricist: Irving Caesar, Otto Harbach Album: No, No, Nanette
Runners Up: Simple • Too Many Rings Around Rosie • I Want To Be Happy • No, No, Nanette • Tea For Two • You Can Dance With Any Girl At All • “Where-Has-My-Hubby-Gone” Blues • Take A Little One-Step • Finale • Whatever Will Be, Will Be • Opening Titles / Excuse Me Miss • Piazza
131 TUESDAY 4 NOVEMBER 2014
Amapola – Orchestra
EXT. BETILDE’S HOUSE FRONT YARD. LATE MORNING. APRIL 1970
AS THE SCENE OPENS, WE SEE TWO CARS ARRIVING AT BETILDE’S HOUSE. ADRIANA OPENS THE DOOR TO GREET HER TWO SISTERS, MARIA AND GLADYS, WHO HAVE ARRIVED WITH THEIR RESPECTIVE HUSBANDS AND CHILDREN. THE THREE SISTERS WEAR BLACK. IT IS A WARM SUNDAY MORNING. THEY WALKED INSIDE THE HOUSE. LUIS, GLADYS’ YOUNGEST SON, FOLLOWS HIS MOTHER AND AUNTS INTO THE HOUSE.
INT. BETILDE’S BEDROOM
THE THREE SISTERS HAVE GATHERED THIS MORNING AT THE BEDROOM OF THEIR RECENTLY DECEASED MOTHER TO SHARE HER BELONGINGS AMONG THEM.
LUIS SITS QUIETLY AT THE EDGE OF THE BEDROOM’S DOOR.
That is the first scene of a script I wrote in 1992, it was called “Betilde And Her Girls” and it told the story of my grandmother, Betilde, my mother, Gladys, and my aunts, María and Adriana. This version of Amapola helped me set the mood for the opening scene.
I don’t remember much of my maternal grandmother, I was only four when she died. So, everything I know about her is through my mother and my aunts’ stories. When I was growing up there wasn’t an occasion the three sisters got together and didn’t reminisce about their mother. I found my grandmother’s stories to be inspiring. She grew up poor in Maracaibo’s downtown, by the time she was 25 she had given birth to her eldest daughter and had buried her partner who had unexpectedly died. Her second partner, my grandfather, never married her, and she didn’t seem to mind, women of limited means didn’t ask for much then. She worked as a washer, she’d go from house to house collecting people’s laundry to bring home, where she would wash it, iron it and deliver it back eventually. She didn’t read and write until later in life.
Although my grandfather had a job, he had to support his own parents and sisters, so there was not enough money coming into the household. As a result, my mother and aunts couldn’t continue their education beyond Elementary school, they had to go to an institute to train for administrative work. They had office jobs by the time they were 13. With time things changed, my grandfather was able to build a house and my grandmother stopped washing other people’s laundry. My mother and one aunt married, and my other aunt went to night school, and then to University where she became a Paediatrician.
What has always fascinated me about my grandmother’s life is her kindness to others and her unbreakable resilience, it didn’t matter how many vicissitudes life threw her way, she never lost faith in God. She knew her God would eventually reward her, and you know what? I believe he did. He gave her three daughters who loved her immensely and have kept her spirit alive for the future generations.
Back in 1992, Walt Disney Studios was offering a writer’s fellowship, so I decided to write the script and submitted it. The story takes place between 1947 and 1970 and it is told through snippets of their life. The few people who read it at the time thought it had a very European film vibe to it. I didn’t get the fellowship, I knew it was a very long shot, but I was happy I wrote the script. I should revisit it sometime. Here’s a link to the first three scenes. Betilde And Her Girls – Set Up Scenes
My grandmother died in 1970 at the old age of 65. I know, in those days 65 was old. My eldest aunt, María, died in 2001, she was 70. My aunt Adriana is almost 80, and my mother is 78; they both still live in Maracaibo.
Song Title: Amapola – 1924 Artist: Orchestra Genre: Pop Composer: José María Lacalle Album: Once upon a time in America
Runners Up: Of Thee I SingWho CaresDear Little GirlDo, Do, DoSheik of Araby
Deborah’s theme – Amapola • I Got Lost In His Arms / Who Are You Now? • I Won’t Send Roses • The Aba Daba Honeymoon • Nellie the Nudist Queen • Overture to Around the World In 80 Days • Immolation from Schindler’s List • Love Theme from Out of Africa • La Passerella Di Otto e Mezzo • L’ Illusionista
132 WEDNESDAY 5 NOVEMBER 2014
Pavane – Regina Carter
There’s an episode of “Sex and the City” where this composition is featured prominently, “One”, the sixth mid-season finale originally broadcasted on 14 September 2003. This episode turned out to be my second favourite of the entire series, (“The Real Me” from season 4 is my favourite).
We first hear Pavane at a gallery where the mysterious Aleksandr Petrovsky (Mikhail Baryshnikov), Carrie’s (Sarah Jessica Parker) new love interest, makes his first appearance.
Later on the episode, we find out that after trying for months to get pregnant, Charlotte, brilliantly, touchingly, and exquisitely played by a very much underrated Kristin Davis, is finally expecting, but soon suffers a miscarriage. When Carrie comes to visit, she finds Charlotte sitting on her couch devastated and heartbroken. At that moment, again, we hear the first notes of this 1887 composition.
After watching the inspiring story Elizabeth Taylor on E! True Hollywood Story, Charlotte finds the encouragement to push out of her depression. By the time she steps out of her building, looking ravishing and self-determined, Pavane is in full swing driving her back into the city.
The same initial notes played when Miranda, also beautifully played by Cynthia Nixon, can’t contain anymore her feelings for Steve (David Eigenberg) and tells him she is in love with him. To Miranda’s delight, Steve is also in love with her, She’s the one.
By the time this episode played in the United States, we were already living in New Zealand. This was 2003, you do remember 2003, don’t you? No VPNs, no HBO GO, no Netflix, no Hulu, not even YouTube, so I had to wait a few weeks for my brother to send me a VHS tape. The tape contained all the episodes from the part of the season we had missed after we left the States. I remember getting teary-eyed when Charlotte announced she was pregnant and then crying when she miscarried. Of all the characters on the show, Charlotte was my favourite. Forget about Carrie, Samantha or Miranda, it is Charlotte who gave “Sex And The City” its heart. I was very emotionally invested in her character. Her triumphs and failures were mine as well, she almost felt like a friend, someone important in my life. I’ve only felt the same way about a fictional character on another two occasions, with Jack Shephard (Matthew Fox) in “Lost” and with Nancy Botwin (Mary-Louise Parker) in “Weeds”.
After watching the episode, I did some research and found out that this version of the composition came from a Regina Carter album, which I bought right away. I liked it so much that for one or two years, I used it for my showreel.
Song Title: Pavane – 1887 Artist: Regina Carter Genre: Classic Composer: Gabriel Fauré Album: Paganini: After A Dream
Runners Up: La Passerella Di Addio • Over the Rainbow • Pavane Pour Une Infante Defunte • There’s A Small Hotel • Zip • The Lady Is A Tramp • Bewitched • Around the World • Call Me Irresponsible • Blue Skies • The Girl from Ipanema • New York City Blues • The Best Is Yet to Come • Mas Que Nada • Quando Quando Quando • Main Title • Partners of the Heart • Happiness • I Wish I Could Forget You • Loving You • No One Has Ever Loved Me
133 THURSDAY 6 NOVEMBER 2014
I Wish I Could Forget You – Donna Murphy & Jere Shea
Passive-aggressiveness served with a side of Sondheim can always be forgiven.
Opening in 1994 and based on an Italian movie, “Passion” tells the story of Fosca, a sick and frail woman who falls in love with Giorgio, a young and handsome soldier. Awww, how sweet, and he falls for her, right? …. Mmm, not exactly. After some manipulation, Fosca gets Giorgio to have feelings for her. I would say she bullied him into loving her, but this is Sondheim; he doesn’t write for bullies, only for the misunderstood. Needless to say, things don’t end up well for anyone involved.
In I Wish I could Forget You Fosca begs Giorgio to write her a letter. He shouldn’t worry, though. She’s prepared one letter already, which she’s ready to dictate to him. And dictate she does, a beautiful Sondheim letter.
Here’s a woman yearning for love, and since she has never been loved, she has created a fantasy in her mind of what love is, but she doesn’t get it right. It is heartbreaking to see how she thinks that playing a victim is the way to get to Giorgio’s heart. “And though I cannot love you, I wish that I could love you” are a few of the words she makes him write. The letter is used against Giorgio in the end. Now, is Fosca really that naïve? Or is this a well-calculated plan? After all, Sondheim doesn’t write for fools either.
TO BE CONTINUED…
Song Title: I Wish I Could Forget You – 1994 Artist: Donna Murphy & Jere Shea
Genre: Musical Composer: Stephen Sondheim Lyricist: Stephen Sondheim Album: Passion
Favourite Lyrics: I don’t know how I let you so far inside my mind, / But there you are and there you will stay / How could I ever wish you away? / I see now I was blind. / And should you die tomorrow, / Another thing I see. / Your love will live in me.
Runners Up: Finale