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 Posted:   Oct 19, 2020 - 7:41 AM   
 By:   OnyaBirri   (Member)

When films feature diagetic/source music that does not fit with the time period of a film or TV show, does this bother you?

Or is it more about the piece of music capturing a mood or feel, regardless of whether the characters truly could have heard this music at the time?

Ms. Birri and I are watching the current season of "Fargo," which takes place in 1950. A jazz combo in last night's episode is playing Bobby Timmons' "Moanin'," which was not debuted until Art Blakey recorded it in 1958.

And don't get me started on the aluminum Christmas tree, which would not have been in production until nearly ten years later.

 
 Posted:   Oct 19, 2020 - 9:00 AM   
 By:   Stefan Huber   (Member)

This is really an interesting topic. I generally dislike the dubbing of pop or rock music in period movies - like "A Knight's Tale" or the stuff Tarantino does (although he has an impeccable taste in music).

I'm pretty fond of the "vice versa" idea, however. The characters in different movies living in their own sphere or time due to the use of similar (or the same music): Nino Rota's use of the same themes in several Fellini movies or Miklos Rozsa's use of the same source music in "Quo Vadis" and "Ben-Hur."

 
 Posted:   Oct 19, 2020 - 9:12 AM   
 By:   NSBulk   (Member)

I just learned yesterday Wooly Bully is from 1965, but it opens "Splash" which is presumably set in 1964.

 
 Posted:   Oct 19, 2020 - 9:15 AM   
 By:   John Schuermann   (Member)

Yeah, it bugs me to a certain extent. Not music related, but it bugged me that there were numerous references to Godzilla in the TV series M*A*S*H despite the fact that the Korean War ended a year before the first Godzilla movie came out.

Of course the biggest music example I can think of would be hearing both "Brazil" and Williams' own "The Long Goodbye" in a Star Wars movie, both as diegetic source cues. I appreciated hearing them, but boy, did it pull me out of the movie. Of course, it doesn't take much to pull me out of a Star Wars movie - I find it hard enough to get into them. wink

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 19, 2020 - 9:27 AM   
 By:   OnyaBirri   (Member)

Thanks all.

I think we may be discussing a few different, albeit related, uses of music.

If a director places a contemporary pop song over, say, a montage of a medieval bloodbath, the characters in the film are not hearing that song.

Similarly, with the "Wooly Bully" example, were the characters in the film hearing the song, or was it used to establish a connection with the viewers?

These are relevant topics, but I am specifically talking about characters in a film/TV show hearing a piece of music that did not yet exist, as in my example of the 1950 jazz combo playing a tune that was not written until 1958, and the 1950 audience is grooving to the music.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 19, 2020 - 9:36 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

Yes, Onya, important delineation there. We're not talking regular non-diegetic scores, but diegetic/source music only.

It depends. If the song or cue is from more or less the same period as the film is set, I don't mind. I tend not to notice the years of the compositions, anyway. So if a song emanating from a jukebox in a bar or something is from 65 and the film is set in 64, no worries. It passes straight over my head. But if the gap is bigger, and down to just sloppy research, I have more of an issue. I'm trying to think of examples, but can't really remember any off the top of my head.

 
 Posted:   Oct 19, 2020 - 9:42 AM   
 By:   NSBulk   (Member)

Similarly, with the "Wooly Bully" example, were the characters in the film hearing the song, or was it used to establish a connection with the viewers?

It was being played by a band and people were dancing to it.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 19, 2020 - 10:06 AM   
 By:   OnyaBirri   (Member)

Similarly, with the "Wooly Bully" example, were the characters in the film hearing the song, or was it used to establish a connection with the viewers?

It was being played by a band and people were dancing to it.


OK, thanks!

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 19, 2020 - 10:09 AM   
 By:   OnyaBirri   (Member)

Yes, Onya, important delineation there. We're not talking regular non-diegetic scores, but diegetic/source music only.

It depends. If the song or cue is from more or less the same period as the film is set, I don't mind. I tend not to notice the years of the compositions, anyway. So if a song emanating from a jukebox in a bar or something is from 65 and the film is set in 64, no worries. It passes straight over my head. But if the gap is bigger, and down to just sloppy research, I have more of an issue. I'm trying to think of examples, but can't really remember any off the top of my head.


It will of course depend upon the specific audience member's musical knowledge. I realize that, in the grand scheme of things, a song being off by a year may not be a big deal to most viewers. But when I experience this, it makes me wonder what other period details are being missed that I'm not aware of.

I think that one of the reasons my Fargo example seemed so egregious was the appearance of an aluminum Christmas tree, ten years too early, in the same episode.

 
 Posted:   Oct 19, 2020 - 10:16 AM   
 By:   Stefan Huber   (Member)

Yes, Onya, important delineation there. We're not talking regular non-diegetic scores, but diegetic/source music only.

It depends. If the song or cue is from more or less the same period as the film is set, I don't mind. I tend not to notice the years of the compositions, anyway. So if a song emanating from a jukebox in a bar or something is from 65 and the film is set in 64, no worries. It passes straight over my head. But if the gap is bigger, and down to just sloppy research, I have more of an issue. I'm trying to think of examples, but can't really remember any off the top of my head.


We've seen in "Back To The Future" what a difference a mere two years can make wink

 
 Posted:   Oct 19, 2020 - 11:09 AM   
 By:   Mike Matessino   (Member)

Guilty as charged and I'm highly sensitive to it.

Recent example is in Ford v. Ferrari aka Le Mans '66 there is a moment where "I Dream of Jeannie" is playing on a background TV. The scene takes place during the first season of that series but they are playing the more familiar theme song from the later seasons.

In Somewhere in Time, a lady in a hotel room is humming "You Made Me Love You." It's supposed to be June 1912 but the song didn't debut until the following year.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 19, 2020 - 11:44 AM   
 By:   Steven Lloyd   (Member)


In Somewhere in Time, a lady in a hotel room is humming "You Made Me Love You." It's supposed to be June 1912 but the song didn't debut until the following year.


What's more problematic about SOMEWHERE IN TIME (which I can't embrace as a story as much as I'd like to, for the sake of John Barry's score) is its taking place mostly in 1912 -- yet the Jane Seymour character identifies the piece "Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini" as her favorite piece of music ... although Rachmaninoff didn't compose it until 1934.

I have read that when the director originally wanted to use a Mahler piece, Barry talked him out of it and himself suggested the Rachmaninoff. Barry had the better idea dramatically, despite the anachronism. (And it fits this discussion, since the two main characters do listen together to that music during the picture.)

 
 Posted:   Oct 19, 2020 - 11:45 AM   
 By:   thx99   (Member)


In Somewhere in Time, a lady in a hotel room is humming "You Made Me Love You." It's supposed to be June 1912 but the song didn't debut until the following year.


Perhaps she, too, was a time traveler! wink

 
 Posted:   Oct 19, 2020 - 11:49 AM   
 By:   thx99   (Member)


What's more problematic about SOMEWHERE IN TIME (which I can't embrace as a story as much as I'd like to, for the sake of John Barry's score) is its taking place mostly in 1912 -- yet the Jane Seymour character identifies the piece "Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini" as her favorite piece of music ... although Rachmaninoff didn't compose it until 1934.


Assuming that this script (https://www.scripts.com/script-pdf/18481) matches what was eventually filmed, Elise actually doesn't recognize the Rhapsody but possibly mentions having seen Rachmaninoff conduct:

Elise: That's beautiful! What is it?
Richard: That's Rachmaninoff, from the Rhapsody.
Elise (or Richard?): I saw him with the philharmonic once.
Elise: I love his music, but I've never heard this piece.
Richard: Really? Well, I'll introduce you to it sometime.


I have read that when the director originally wanted to use a Mahler piece, Barry talked him out of it and himself suggested the Rachmaninoff. Barry had the better idea dramatically, despite the anachronism. (And it fits this discussion, since the two main characters do listen together to that music during the picture.)


In the Richard Matheson novel on which the film is based, Bid Time Return, it was Mahler's 9th Symphony, as I recall, that formed a connection between Richard and Elise.

 
 Posted:   Oct 19, 2020 - 12:43 PM   
 By:   Basil Wrathbone   (Member)

In Ben-Hur, at Arrius' party, they played source music that wasn't written until almost two thousand years later.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 19, 2020 - 1:06 PM   
 By:   eriknelson   (Member)

Chronological errors are deliberately rampant in MOULIN ROUGE (2001), in which pop songs from the MTV generation are performed in a circa 1900 cabaret setting. The film was a big hit, but in my opinion it was ridiculous.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 19, 2020 - 1:17 PM   
 By:   OnyaBirri   (Member)

Chronological errors are deliberately rampant in MOULIN ROUGE (2001), in which pop songs from the MTV generation are performed in a circa 1900 cabaret setting. The film was a big hit, but in my opinion it was ridiculous.

Well, that would be more of an example of deliberate post-modern ahistoricity, so in that context, I think that is fine.

I think, though, that when there is a deliberate attempt at period detail - or if the viewer is led to believe that period detail is the aim - then it is more problematic.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 19, 2020 - 4:22 PM   
 By:   villagardens553   (Member)

It bothers me, usually. It depends on a few things. First of all, I think film makers should make an attempt to get this right. If a combo is playing "Moanin'" in 1950, I think they could have found something from the forties that would have worked just as well. Furthermore, "Moanin'" is a great example of what became known as soul-jazz, and that sound was pioneered by Art Blakey in the fifties. So, "Moanin'" is not only mis-used in its chronological timeline, it represents a style of music that had not yet happened! It's almost as if the combo was playing Miles Davis' "Bitches Brew."
That being said, most people wouldn't notice, and it it worked dramatically, okay, but they still should have used something from the 40s, Monk or Parker.

 
 Posted:   Oct 19, 2020 - 6:31 PM   
 By:   George Komar   (Member)

In Ben-Hur, at Arrius' party, they played source music that wasn't written until almost two thousand years later.

LOL!

 
 Posted:   Oct 19, 2020 - 6:58 PM   
 By:   Wedge   (Member)

Of the three bordello source cues in THE GREAT TRAIN ROBBERY, which is set in 1855, only one is chronologically accurate: "I Dreamt I Dwelt In Marble Halls," which dates to 1843. As for the others, "Champagne Charlie Is My Name" is from 1866, and "Pretty Polly Perkins Of Paddington Green" is from 1864.

 
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