Goodbye Again (1961) concerns 40-year-old Parisian interior decorator Paula Tessier (Ingrid Bergman), who for five years has been in a relationship with debonair French businessman Roger Demarest (Yves Montand). Paula tolerates Roger’s dalliances with the young “sluts” he picks up in nightclubs, but even though he openly admits sleeping around, he still feels compelled to deceive her—claiming, for example, that a weekend getaway with his latest young conquest (each of whom he nicknames “Maisie” to avoid confusion) is a “business trip.” Calling on a new client (Jessie Royce Landis), Paula encounters the woman’s son, Philip Van der Besh (Anthony Perkins), an American attorney learning French law who is more concerned with “living life” and seeking true love than showing up for work one time (today he would be dubbed a “slacker”). Although Philip is 15 years Paula’s junior, the young man is smitten with her and pursues her romantically. Initially she is amused by his attentions, then annoyed, but when Roger leaves town for the weekend without her, Paula humors Philip by accepting his invitation to an all-Brahms orchestral concert at Salle Pleyel. She eventually begins sleeping with him and leaves Roger, but the new relationship does not provide her happiness. Time passes and a chance meeting with Roger leads to a marriage proposal: she returns to her former lover, but matrimony does not change his ways and the film ends with the implication that Paula is doomed to a lonely existence.
Goodbye Again was released in Europe as Aimez-vous Brahms?, the title of the Françoise Sagan novel upon which the film was based. Producer and director Anatole Litvak (who had previously worked with Ingrid Bergman on Anastasia) rejected a long list of possible titles for the film’s American release (it was felt that the original would confuse U.S. audiences). He settled on Time on My Hands, planning to use a Vincent Youmans song of that name as the main theme, but when the song’s publishers set a price of $75,000 for its use in the film, Litvak balked. Tony Perkins finally suggested Goodbye Again, which 30 years earlier had been the name of a hit play in which his father had starred on Broadway. The film found success in Europe, where Perkins won an award for his performance at the Cannes Film Festival, but in America critics and audiences were generally unenthusiastic.
At the concert attended by Paula and Philip midway through the film, an orchestra is heard performing the final movement of Brahms’s Symphony No. 1 prior to intermission and the third movement of his Symphony No. 3 after the interval. (It is somewhat unrealistic that Paula and Philip are shown rushing back to the concert upon hearing the signal that the second half of the concert is about to begin, only to arrive at the back of the hall to hear music that comes more than 20 minutes into the symphony.) In contrast to the sunny optimism of the Symphony No. 1 finale (matched by the mood of the film’s main characters during the opening half of the concert), the melancholy theme of the “Poco allegretto” from the Third Symphony reflects the sudden tension between them following an uncomfortable conversation during the intermission in which Philip forces Paula to question her relationship with Roger.
This movement falls in the Third Symphony where one would expect a scherzo, but instead Brahms concocted an intermezzo that is neither fast nor slow, neither comic nor tragic. Musicologist Michael Steinberg has written of this music: “Brahms gives us one of his most wonderful melodies, one that sounds as natural and unstudied as possible even while it is full of rhythmic subtleties and surprises.” While it was natural that composer Georges Auric would adapt this melody for the main theme of his Goodbye Again score, the Frenchman provides his own rhythmic surprises, casting Brahms’s triple-meter tune in a square duple meter against jazz harmonies.
Auric, born in France on February 15, 1899, was the youngest member of Les Six, a loose-knit group of French composers influenced by Erik Satie and Jean Cocteau. Auric studied at the Paris Conservatoire and at the Schola Cantorum; his teachers included Vincent D’Indy and Albert Roussel. Auric’s concert music is often characterized by charming melodies cast against spiky, complex harmonies. His prolific output included operas, many ballets, orchestral works and much chamber music.
Auric’s first film score was for Cocteau’s Le Sang d’un poète (1930) and he scored a number of other important French films, including Cocteau’s La Belle et la bête (1946) and Orphée (1950), René Clair’s À nous la liberté (1931), and Henri-Georges Clouzot’s Le Salaire de la peur (1953, known to English-speaking audiences under the title The Wages of Fear). When Arnold Bax was unable to fulfill a commitment to score a lavish British film adaption of George Bernard Shaw’s Caesar and Cleopatra (1945), Auric stepped in and this led to a long string of scores for British films (many produced by Ealing Studios), including: Dead of Night (1945), Hue and Cry (1947), Passport to Pimlico (1949), The Lavender Hill Mob (1951) and The Titfield Thunderbolt (1953). Other familiar English-language films with Auric scores include Moulin Rouge (1952), Roman Holiday (1953), Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison (1957), Bonjour Tristesse (1958, based on Françoise Sagan’s first novel) and The Innocents (1961). The composer’s “Song From Moulin Rouge” was an instant worldwide hit and quickly became a pop standard.
Shortly after his work on Goodbye Again, Auric became artistic director Paris Opéra and Opéra-Comique, serving in that capacity from 1962 through 1968, and chairman of SACEM, the French performing rights society. Due to his responsibilities as an administrator, Auric largely retired from scoring films, although he did continue to write music for the concert hall. He died in Paris on July 23, 1983. A profile of Auric by Henry Kamm that ran in the December 9, 1962 issue of The New York Times offered the following description of the composer not long after he composed the score for Goodbye Again:
The wit and grace of Mr. Auric's music are also in his personal dealings. He smiles easily, and when he does his whole Gallic face shares in it, from dark eyes under heavy brows to wide, thin-lipped mouth. At 63, his taller-than-average frame stoops but slightly, and he is slim except for a waistline befitting a native of the Midi, where la bonne cuisine is a highly developed art. His rather short hair, parted at the top of the head, shows as much black as gray.
Auric’s score for Goodbye Again is almost exclusively source music: aside form the main and end titles, only two brief cues function as traditional underscore. Prior to filming the composer created at least three songs heard in the film: “Goodbye Again,” based on the aforementioned tune from Brahms’s Third Symphony; “Aimez-vous,” sung briefly by Anthony Perkins; and “Love Is Just a Word,” sung (along with “Goodbye Again”) by vocalist Diahann Carroll, who appears in a small role as a nightclub singer. English lyrics for each of these songs were provided by Dory Langdon, while Françoise Sagan contributed French lyrics for the Auric/Brahms main theme, “Quand tu dors près de moi,” (“When You Sleep Next to Me”). Recordings of the main theme were made by a number of artists (including Goodbye Again star Yves Montand) at the time of the film’s release and the song continues to be performed and recorded to this day.
A fourth melody, “No Love,” was also likely conceived as a song but is heard only in instrumental form in the film. “No Love” is associated throughout with Roger, just as Philip is attached to “Aimez-vous” and Paula is linked to the Brahms melody. In addition, several popular French tunes were used in the film as source music.
The Goodbye Again soundtrack album issued by United Artists Records (UAS 5091) at the time of the film’s release was presented in “electronic” (simulated) stereo, one of only four scores in this 20-film collection not available in true stereo. Several of the tracks on the LP were mislabeled; for consistency with the original album, we have retained the original titles for this release, but the various discrepancies are discussed below, with the album tracks listed in the (approximate) order they appear in the film.
- 13. Main Title
- String tremolos and harp glissandi introduce establishing shots of Paris, with a tragic melody interspersed with the Brahms theme (first heard upon a glimpse of a concert poster advertising an all-Brahms program) as the three principal characters are introduced hurrying through the city streets. The music continues through the credit sequence until Paula Tessier (Ingrid Bergman) arrives at her apartment.
- 24. Aimez-vous Cha Cha
- After a dinner engagement, Roger Demarest (Yves Montand) drops off Paula at her apartment, then stops his car nearby to flirt with a gorgeous young woman waiting on the curb—until her date arrives and whisks her away. This tune plays on Roger’s car radio during the scene, but in a somewhat different arrangement (the version heard here does not appear in the film). The film cuts to the house of Philip Van der Besh (Anthony Perkins) the following day as he sings the tune a cappella right before his first encounter with Paula. (Perkins’s onscreen performance of the song is the only vocal rendition heard in the film, and the album tracks that make use of this song are all instrumental.)
- 16. No Love—Charleston
- Paula and Roger dance at the Epi Club, a hot Parisian nightspot on the Left Bank frequented by a young crowd. (The filmmakers recreated the nightclub in detail on a soundstage and actual celebrities—including actor Yul Brenner and author Françoise Sagan—appear as extras in the scene, ostensibly playing themselves; they were not paid, but did receive free drinks.) Roger’s theme (“No Love”) appears as source music in an energetic Charleston arrangement. The melody is introduced earlier in the film on Roger’s car radio, right before “Aimez-vous”; it is possible that Dory Langdon provided lyrics for “No Love,” but available studio records are unclear on the point and it is only heard in instrumental form in the film and on the album.
- 17. Aimez-vous Cha Cha
- Paula is surprised to encounter a very inebriated Philip, who has been searching for her all over Paris after becoming infatuated with her earlier in the day (Perkins actually got drunk to perform the scene). Initially Paula and Roger are amused by the young man’s antics and this cha cha arrangement of “Aimez-vous” plays as source music while the couple chats with Philip as other nightclub patrons dance.
- 23. Slow Cool
- The Epi Club source music continues in the film with a slower arrangement of “No Love” and then an instrumental version of “Love Is Just a Word”; this album track does not appear in the film but features similar instrumentation as the cue that does—and thus may have been intended for the Epi Club sequence.
- 21. Say No More, It’s Goodbye
- Midway through the film, Philip drowns his sorrows at another nightclub, where a singer (Diahann Carroll) performs this vocal version of the main theme backed by a jazz combo. (It is simply called “Goodbye Again” on the film’s cue sheet, but identified with an alternate title—the first line of the song—on the album.) When she finishes singing, the combo continues playing the tune while she approaches Philip’s table and asks him to buy her a drink, which he does.
- 22. Love Is Just a Word
- Philip and the woman discuss the meaning of the word “love” and he asks her to sing him another number, at which point she signals to the musicians, who accompany her as she alternately speaks and sings the lyrics. The album includes a bit of dialogue spoken by Perkins and Carroll as an introduction to the track; the last two lines—in which she asks him if he will take her home and he agrees—are not in the finished film. This album track is significantly longer than the version heard in the film.
- 19. Roger’s Theme
- Distraught because of Roger’s absence on a 10-day business trip, Paula gives in to Philip’s advances and sleeps with him, beginning their affair. When Roger returns to Paris, Paula agrees to lunch with him at Pré Catalan, where she breaks off their relationship. This album track consists of two source music waltzes heard during their lunch: “Les Amants de Paris” by Léo Ferré and “L’ame des Poetes” by Charles Trenet. (This track is titled erroneously, as it does not feature Roger’s theme; it is most likely the track intended that should have been labeled “Valse Paree” on the Goodbye Again LP.)
- 15. Mon Paris
- This relaxed arrangement of “Aimez-vous” plays as source music at the Grand Casino in Deauville, where Roger vacations with his latest conquest. This track is also mistitled: A tune called “Mon Paris” by Vincent Scotto does appear a bit earlier in the film—on solo piano as Philip expresses joy about beginning his affair with Paula by racing his MG through the streets of Paris—but that melody is not included on the soundtrack album.
- 18. Paris Carnival
- This album track combines two source cues from midway through the film, in reverse order from their appearance in the picture. The second part of the track (1:04–1:54) is “Fraises et Framboises,” played by revelers parading down a street near Roger’s hotel room; he stands at the window thinking about Paula while his date asks him to return to bed. The first part (0:00–1:03) is “Paris Canaille” by Léo Ferré, played by the house band at Maxim’s restaurant, where Philip and Paula dine near the end of the film.
- 14. Maximite
- This waltz may have been intended for the Maxim’s sequence, as Paula spies Roger out on a date with yet another young woman, but in the finished film a waltz arrangement of the main theme is heard instead as she dances with Philip. Despite the track title, it was more likely intended for an earlier scene at a country inn, where a vacationing Philip and Paula run into Philip’s employer, Maître Fleury (Pierre Dux), having dinner with his family; the episode is an uncomfortable one and Paula subsequently overhears the Fleury children making fun of the age difference between her and Philip.
- 25. Valse Paree
- This is obviously another mistitled track, as it is clearly not a waltz. Rather, it is Roger’s theme (“No Love”), played as source music by the house band at Maxim’s. Paula continues dancing with Philip and Roger with “Maisie” but the two ex-lovers lock eyes and yearn for each other even as their dates are oblivious to their silent communication.
- 26. End Title
- Paula leaves Philip and marries Roger, but when he leaves town on business she suspects he is continuing his old habits; the film ends with a sympathetic setting of the Brahms theme. The final 0:31 of Auric’s “Finale” cue (heard here) plays over the end cast.
- 20. Theme From Goodbye Again
- To promote the film, United Artists Records asked duo pianists Ferrante and Teicher to record this instrumental arrangement (by Don Costa) of the Auric/Brahms main theme. It does not appear in the film but did chart on Billboard’s Top 40 as a single. —
From the original United Artists LP
Goodbye Again marks that rare combination of a truly great motion picture, and a musical score of equal magnitude. Starring Ingrid Bergman, Tony Perkins and Yves Montand, the film is one of tremendous dramatic content brilliantly performed by a superb cast, magnificently directed by Anatole Litvak, and photographed amid the beauty that is Paris.
Equally impressive is the music which was written by Georges Auric, and which is so important throughout the picture in setting the various moods. There is, of course, the hauntingly beautiful theme, based on a Brahms melody, and there is a tempo to fit each successive mood, from happy to sad, from the Salon to the Saloon, each melodically perfect as a backdrop to the story line as it unfolds on the screen.
There is no question that Goodbye Again is destined to be one of the memorable motion pictures of the Sixties. There is also no question that the musical score will live on for many years to come, its appeal univeral, its quality unmatched.