Director Brian de Palma’sphantasmagorical phantom of the opera rock opera in the vein of Mephistopheles featuring the music from sensational songwriter Paul Williams who also plays Swan and the fantastic Jessica Harper (actress, composer, singer & writer)as Pheonix. William Finley plays Winslow/The Phantom and Gerrit Graham is Beef.
I’d never sell my soul to the devil-just your ordinary little soulful MonsterGirl for sure!
When you think of iconic composers there are a host of names that probably come to mind, from Bernard Herrmann to James Horner, Jerry Goldsmith to Lalo Schiffrin… the list goes on BUT
Because I watch so much vintage mystery television I’ve become acquainted with the genius of Mort Stevens, Pete Rugolo and Georges Dunning.
But recently while delving into some Alfred Hitchcock Hour I was struck at the core of my heart strings by a particular man who’s themes kept popping up throughout the very powerful first season of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour.
Doing research I found that Lyn Murray worked with Hitchcock on To Catch A Thief 1955 as well as Joseph Losey’sThe Prowler 1951 with Van Heflin. Lyn Murray is one of those composers that slips through the cracks, as we pay attention to the very moving pieces of film or dramatic television theatrics.
Emotions are evoked by the scenery or fine acting, but what lies behind the mood is the brilliants of the music that carries the set piece and plot to the level of catharsis. I haven’t been able to stop humming several of Murray’s themes. They’ve been flying around my head like wonderful little moths attracted to the porch lite.
I’ve been so moved by his work that I’ve decided to give him just a little bit of attention here at The Last Drive In. Hopefully next time you’re watching an episode 35 in all of Alfred Hitchcock you’ll take notice and appreciate this extremely evocative composer. Lyn Murray has also done a tremendous amount of work for motion pictures, television like Kraft Suspense Theater, DRAGNET and made for tv movies.
He has a very unique almost quirky sense of beautiful timing, with arrangements that utilize the most dissonant strings, horn sections and flute and whose melodies often take a right turn when you think it’s going left. His music tugs at the heart and fits each scenario so well, you couldn’t imagine hearing anything else underscoring the dramatic scene. Quite often bringing a heave to my chest and tears in my eyes.
From The Alfred Hitchcock Hour-The Paragon, Final Vow, What Happened Was all poignant contributions with their moments that were emotionally elevated by the intricate composition and arrangements by Lyn Murray.
For The Twilight ZoneLyn Murray was responsible for Passage for Trumpet with Jack Klugman. Wonderful episode very close to my heart.
Here’s a smattering of Murray’s style.
THE ALFRED HITCHCOCK HOUR ‘The Paragon’
THE ALFRED HITCHCOCK HOUR ‘What Really Happened’
THE ALFRED HITCHCOCK HOUR “Final Vow’
From ABC Movie of the Week- LOVE HATE LOVE 1971
Trailer TO CATCH A THIEF 1955
Twilight Zone -‘PASSAGE FOR TRUMPET’ (1960)
PROMISE HER ANYTHING 1965
THE PROWLER 1951
THE BIG NIGHT 1951
KRAFT SUSPENSE THEATER ‘JUNGLE OF FEAR’
MORE ABOUT LYN MURRAY AND HIS RENOWNED RADIO CAREER AT THIS LINK BELOW
The Film Score Freak wants to pay tribute to The Man of a Thousand Faces, the inimitable Lon Chaney Sr. who’s evocative style of physical performance, volatile and poignant, effusive, penetrating and always sublime characterizations created some of the most memorable roles in cinematic history.
Happy Birthday Lon Chaney, we here at The Last Drive In wish you never get slapped, never to be unknown, never to be in the shadows or swing from a bell unless you’re ringing it for joy, to keep your wonderful face unmasked and the music playing til the ends of time, no matter how many thumbs or arms or legs you have, or whatever unholy mischief you might be up to, we adore you forever from here to Zanzibar….
Produced by Mark Hellinger and directed by Jules Dassin, the film is a strikingly potent Prison Noir Masterpiece. Brute Force (1947) is one of my all time favorite films that transcends genre labeling. The entire cast performs the piece like a well oiled Tanker filled with nitro glycerine speeding out of control. With a collection of characters pushed to the brink of fury, dominated by a sadist who reigns over the social institution and the beautiful women who wait for the men who are never coming home.
Richard Brooks wrote the screenplay and William H Daniel’s was responsible for the explosive cinematography that grips you by the throat. With an equally compelling score by the master composer Miklós Rózsa.
Starring Burt Lancaster is Joe Collins, Hume Cronyn is the savage and psychopathic Captain Munsey, Charles Bickford is Gallagher, Yvonne De Carlo is Gina Ferrara, Ann Blyth plays Ruth, Ella Raines is Cora Lister, Anita Colby is Flossie, Sam Levene is Louie Miller #7033, Jeff Corey plays the rat ‘Freshman’ Stack, John Hoyt plays Spencer, Jack Overman is Kid Coy, Sir Lancelot is Calypso and Jay C Flippen is Hodges the guard.
I couldn’t resist mashing up in the mixing bowl, this brutal bit of noir with my tough as satin nails ‘The Simple Truth’ somehow the confluence of visual collective upheaval and raw honesty of my song… a track off my debut album ‘Island’
for the international label Kalinkaland Records, just seemed to feel right to me… I hope you enjoy this little homage. Here’s MonsterGirl asJo Gabriel lending her music to a fire storming montage of images from Brute Force–
Growing up in the 7os, a lot of what inspired me to follow my journey as a singer/songwriter had much to do with the brilliant, evocatively poignant and memorable compositions by artists like the great Paul Williams. I still can’t listen or sing one of his iconic songs without becoming a fountain of tears, melting into an emotional puddle of ‘feelings.’ His contribution to the world as a singer/songwriter has been so immense, that I feel inadequate just showing a little love here, instead of doing one of my long winded posts.
But I am too agitated with excitement about the documentary Paul Williams Still Alive, and to have found him alive and well on Twitter. I love you, We love you Paul Williams.
You have given us a magical, alchemical concoction of music that will forever flare up like molten gold in our hearts. It’s so good to see you again.
So here’s a just a little reminder of SOME of the things this beautiful, brilliant man has brought us from his heavenly throne where he sits with the other musical angels.
From the new documentary, here’s the official trailer for Paul Williams Still Alive
Karen Carpenter sings Rainy Days and Mondays
Kermit the Frog sings The Rainbow Connection from The Muppet Movie
Karen Carpenter sings We’ve Only Just Begun
Barbra Streisand sings Evergreen from A Star is Born
Jessica Harper sings Old Souls from Phantom of The Paradise
Here’s to the immortal genius! – With love Jo Gabriel the little singer/songwriting MonsterGirl
Based on actor/author Thomas Tryon’sbest selling novel, about the duplicity of innocence and evil in the incarnation of twin boys. Set in the depression era during a hot and dusty summer of 1935. The atmosphere of rural quaintness is painted beautifully by cinematographer Robert Surtees.
Niles and Holland Perry (Chris and Martin Udvanoky) live with their extended family on a rural farm. The boys are looked after by their old world and arcane, loving Russian Grandmother Ada (the extraordinary icon Uda Hagen.)
The sagely mysterious and angelic Ada has taught the boys a special and esoteric gift from the old country she calls ‘the game.’
When several inextricably grotesque accidents beset the town, the clues start to point toward Niles’ wicked brother Holland who may be responsible for the gruesome deaths.
Norma Connolly plays Aunt Vee, Victor French co-stars as the drunken swarthy handyman Angelini, Lou Frizzell is Uncle George, Portia Nelson as the uptight Mrs. Rowe, Jennie Sullivan as Torrie and a young John Ritter as Rider.
Tryon’s story is a most hauntingly mysterious journey through the eyes of a child, a macabre and provocative psychological thriller from the 70s that has remained indelible in triggering my childhood fears, filled with wonder and the impenetrable world of the supernatural. I plan on doing a broader over view of this film as I am prone to be long winded. But for now The Film Score Freak would like to focus on the film’s hauntingly poignant score contributed by one of my favorite and in my opinion one of THE BEST composers of all time, Jerry Goldsmith.
Barbra plays Daisy Gamble, a woman based on Bridie Murphy, who knows when the phone’s going to ring, and talks to flowers helping them to flourish. She seeks help from a doctor who specializes in hypnosis to help her quit smoking. Once she’s under, she becomes regressed back to several past lives and quite a few animated personalities, one of which he falls madly in love with. Co-Starring Yves Montand and Jack Nicholson, Simon Oakland, Larry Blyden and Bob Newhart.
With music by Burton Laneand lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner, sung by the unchallenged songstress of the millennia Barbra Streisand, here’s just one of the spectacular, and transcendental songs of the film.
On a Clear Day You Can See Forever sung at the film’s coda
I love working with the films that have inspired me, adding my musical voice to the images, not because I flatter myself as a couch surfing filmmaker, rather as a way of expressing my eternal gratitude for the release and fulfillment that film has given me since I was a little monster girl singer/songwriter. So without any further adieu…!
Here’s to the beauty and the beast in all of us… cheers-MonsterGirl