Friday, 25 February 2011

Musical Interludes

A few favourite musical itnerludes from films which are not, in fact, musicals:

Tiny Dancer by Elton John - Almost Famous
Cameron Crowe defined his formative years with music, so it is obvious that he would make an appearance somewhere in here. This particular beat is one of the most beautiful reconciliations ever made on screen, and even more remarkably, it was done without any dialogue. I don't want to spoil it for anyone who hasn't seen it, but this is possibly my favourite music-only scene.

Only You by Erasure - The Office Christmas Special (Not a film, I know...).
I wasn't old enough to be a romantic (not New Romantic, mind...) in the 80's, but if ever a synth track moved me to tears, it was this.

Blue Moon by Bobby Vinton (?) - An American Werewolf in London
Not only did they cram every known song with "Moon" in the title into the film (except for grumpy Cat Steven's Moonshadow), but they actually worked! The delicious counterpoint of Bobby's soft, slightly distant (yet somehow beckoning...) voice over the horrifically painful transformation... makes that scene stick in the darkest pits of the memory.

Louie Louie by The Kingsmen - Animal House
Yes, I have a bit of a Landis fetish (don't get me started on Blues Brothers...). As the Freshers are inaugurated, all hell breaks loose in Delta Tao Kai, the party as rowdy and 'narchic as the music.

Danke Schoen by Wayne Newton - Ferris Bueller's Day Off
Don't know many women called Wayne... Anyway. Forget Twist and Shout, that was too artificial; Danke Schoen is the sequence when Ferris busts out proper, unleashing his hypermagnetic ego.

Danny Boy by ??? - Miller's Crossing
As If Carter Burwell's score wasn't great enough, the Coen's combine a haunting old Welsh classic with a mesmerising hunter/hunted setpiece, to create something altogether mythical.

Save Me by Aimee Mann - Magnolia
Not so much the song or the scene, but the beat of the last image in the film. Just as the guitars kick the song from maudlin to fighting back, Claudia smiles for the first time in the whole movie... And then the screen goes black. Brilliant. People say this film is depressing? It's not - this single beat is one of the most uplifting, hopeful things I have ever seen.

I Wish I Knew (How It Would Feel To Be Free) by The Billy Taylor Trio - Film '72 ->
Again, not really a film tune, per se, but I will forever associate this tune with the comfort of Bazza's "and why not"'s. A great tune that in instrumental form says "sit back and relax, for the next half hour you're with your best and oldest friend". Nina Simone's version is a classic, too.

The Self-Preservation Society by Quincy Jones - The Italian Job
Charlie and the lads look to be stretching away from the (not so long) arm of the Italian law. With millions of quid of gold bullion in their red, white and blue Minis, this cheeky, chirpy pub singalong pipes up, and you're celebrating with them before the finish line.

Layla by Derek and the Dominos - Goodfellas
Forget the coke-addled grunting of the first half of the song - the piano-driven coda complements one of the most beautiful montages of crime ever seen.

Enough of mine - does anyone else have any favourites they'd like to pop in here?

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