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 Posted:   Aug 20, 2013 - 4:42 AM   
 By:   Regie   (Member)

Tonight I've watched again this absolutely hilarious film from 1959. Rock Hudson and Doris Day in one of the three films they starred in together - the other two being "Lover Come Back" and "Send Me No Flowers" (which is the funniest of all three).

Frank De Vol wrote the music for this film which includes the catchy, but somewhat dated, title theme. But the best part is the atmospheric music throughout the film. It's just like a cartoon, with the music providing a lot of the gags. When Rex Stetson (the alias of Rock Hudson) is trying to seduce the Doris Day character the music goes into a catchy spoof of Texan music, complete with clip-clopping of horses. Right throughout there is a theme which the Hudson character is writing and the composer uses various guises of this theme to provide many of the laughs in the film.

So, yes, very much constructed like a cartoon in the way the old Warner Brothers classic cartoons used music for gags. It was fundamental to the humour, yet non-diegetic. "Pillow Talk" uses a combination of diegetic and non-diegetic music for the laughs.

Can anybody else think of a comedy where music is used to cue the gags and highlight the humour. I think the Jack Black character does this diegetically in "School of Rock", if I remember correctly. But that is more overtly about the music anyway.

 Posted:   Aug 20, 2013 - 6:16 AM   
 By:   MusicMad   (Member)

I've posted before of my love for this film, e.g.:

though I do have a slight preference for her later film Move Over, Darling

By the time Send Me No Flowers was released this type of sex-comedy was dying (dead?) and hence I think the humour therein is a little more slapstick.

As for music driving the film/humour may I suggest Cat Ballou ... even though the last act becomes tiresome, it's great fun until then with Messrs. Cole and Kaye providing wonderful story-telling vocal accompaniment.


 Posted:   Aug 20, 2013 - 7:46 AM   
 By:   John McMasters   (Member)

Although not a romantic comedy (well, I guess, it is sort of...) Elmer Bernstein's score for AIRPLANE! contains many musical gags. Bernstein, in other comic scores, tends to play it a bit more straight.

De Vol's comedy scores, if I am not mistaken, usually help tweak the comedy in many ways with funny asides and "mickey mousing". I love his score for GOOD NEIGHBOR SAM (directed by the great David Swift) -- which as I recall is both lovely and funny.

Henry Mancini is also a master of comedic scoring -- I watched "Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation" again the other night and was amazed at how good his score is at creating a deeply affective sentimental mood and some awfully funny moments.

Walter Scarf, in his scores for Jerry Lewis, also is a comedic genius, IMHO.

John Williams also assayed this genre in his music for JOHN GOLDFARB PLEASE COME HOME. The terrific march in 1941 also serves some comedic purpose.

Ernest Gold also proved a master at this in IT'S A MAD MAD MAD MAD WORLD. I am sure others will come up with many more!

 Posted:   Aug 20, 2013 - 8:02 AM   
 By:   John McMasters   (Member)

Also David Grusin's DIVORCE AMERICAN STYLE integrates musical gags brilliantly.

Are there examples of this in Ennio Morricone's scores for comedies? I am thinking of his quirkly and funny score for MY NAME IS NOBODY as perhaps in this type of scoring.

Neal Hefti surely brought a great deal of comedy to his scores, too!

 Posted:   Aug 20, 2013 - 2:23 PM   
 By:   Regie   (Member)

Congratulations, you people REALLY KNOW your music!! (I was patently wrong about "School of Rock".)

It's a particular aspect of film scoring which has only just drawn my attention, following the viewing of "Pillow Talk" yesterday. I think it would be quite a specialized art, much like writing or arranging music for those brilliant WB Looney Tunes. The music is there, but also not there - if that makes any sense. In short, it's integrated into the comedic action. With sound removed these would be entirely different experiences.

Actually, when I taught film to students in school one of my strategies was to have them view a scene without any sound and COMPARE it to one which had musical accompaniment. I remember using segments from "Shine" for this and it beautifully illustrated the point about just how much affective musical scoring can shape the way we respond. Which makes the achievement of silent film just that bit more remarkable, when you think about it!!

 Posted:   Aug 20, 2013 - 2:23 PM   
 By:   Regie   (Member)

Duplicated post!

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