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Intrada plans to release one new CD next week.


The British Academy of Film and Television Arts has announced their latest nominations for their movie awards, including Original Music:

BlacKkKlansman - Terence Blanchard
If Beale Street Could Talk - Nicholas Britell
Isle of Dogs - Alexandre Desplat
Mary Poppins Returns - Marc Shaiman
A Star Is Born - Bradley Cooper, Lady Gaga, Lukas Nelson


Justin Hurwitz won the Golden Globe for Best Original Score, Motion Picture for First Man, and "Shallow" from A Star Is Born won Best Original Song, Motion Picture.


CDS AVAILABLE THIS WEEK

A Dog's Way Home - Mychael Danna - Sony [CD-R]
Escape Room - Brian Tyler, John Carey - Sony (import)
Mortal Engines - Tom Holkenborg - Backlot
Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle - Nitin Sawhney - WaterTower [CD-R]

Valley of the Boom - Kyle Dixon, Michael Stein - Sony [CD-R]


IN THEATERS TODAY

Alone in the Dead of Night - Maxwell Sterling
Anthem of a Teenage Prophet - Andrew Harris
Ashes in the Snow - Volker Bertelmann
The Aspern Papers - Vincent Carlo
Buffalo Boys - Yudhi Arfani, Zeke Khaseli
A Dog's Way Home - Mychael Danna - Score CD-R on Sony
Perfect Strangers - Victor Reyes - Score CD Perfectos Desconocidos on Quartet
Replicas - Pepe Ojeda, Mark Kilian
Rust Creek - H. Scott Salinas
Sgt. Will Gardner - Jay DeMarcus
The Upside - Rob Simonsen


COMING SOON

January 18
The West Wing [one-disc] - W.G. Snuffy Walden - Varese Sarabande
January 25
Capernaum
 - Khaled Manzour - Decca
Serenity
 - Benjamin Wallfisch - Milan
February 1
How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
- John Powell - Backlot
February 8
We the Animals - Nick Zammuto - Temporary Residence
February 15
Alita: Battle Angel - Tom Holkenborg - Milan
February 22
Free Solo - Marco Beltrami - Node
March 1
Dorian Gray - Charlie Mole - Filmtrax
Date Unknown
Calypso/Italia '61 in Circarama
 - Angelo Francesco Lavagnino - Alhambra
The Cisco Kid in The Gay Amigo
 - Albert Glasser - Kritzerland
Mad Macbeth
 - Susan Dibona, Salvatore Sangiovanni - Kronos
A Man Called Peter
 - Alfred Newman - Kritzerland
Non Lasciamoci Piu
 - Fabio Frizzi - Kronos
Oma Maa
 - Pessi Levando - Kronos
Superman - John Williams - La-La Land
Valley of Shadows
 - Zbigniew Preisner - Caldera


THIS WEEK IN FILM MUSIC HISTORY

January 11 - Charles Previn born (1888)
January 11 - Francesco De Masi born (1930)
January 11 - Michael J. Lewis born (1939)
January 11 - Robert Prince records his score for The New Adventures of Wonder Woman episode “Spaced Out” (1979)
January 11 - Ron Jones records his score for the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The High Ground" (1990)
January 11 - David Whitaker died (2012)
January 12 - Joseph Gershenson born (1904)
January 12 - Pino Calvi born (1930)
January 12 - Franco Piersanti born (1950)
January 12 - Miklos Rozsa begins recording his score to Men of the Fighting Lady (1954)
January 12 - Frank LaLoggia born (1954)
January 12 - Jeremy Sams born (1957)
January 12 - Maurice Jarre begins recording his score for Mandingo (1975)
January 12 - John Williams begins recording his score for Family Plot (1976)
January 12 - Bryan Senti born (1983)
January 12 - Basil Poledouris begins recording his score to Amerika (1987)
January 12 - David Newman records his score for the Amazing Stories episode "Such Interesting Neighbors" (1987)
January 12 - Luis Bonfa died (2001)
January 12 - Sadao Bekku died (2012)
January 13 - Richard Addinsell born (1904)
January 13 - Bruno Coulais born (1954)
January 13 - Trevor Rabin born (1954)
January 13 - Frederick Hollander begins recording his score for Sabrina (1954)
January 13 - Richard Hazard records his score for the Mission: Impossible episode “Kitara” (1971)
January 13 - John Frizzell records his score for the Star Trek: Enterprise episode “Proving Ground” (2004)
January 14 - Hans J. Salter born (1896)
January 14 - Mark Lawrence born (1921)
January 14 - Lex de Azevedo born (1943)
January 14 - T Bone Burnett born (1948)
January 14 - Elmer Bernstein begins recording score to The Great Escape (1963)
January 14 - Jerry Goldsmith begins recording his score for Von Ryan’s Express (1965)
January 14 - Dave Grohl born (1969)
January 14 - Maurice Jarre begins recording his score for Plaza Suite (1971)
January 14 - Harry Nilsson died (1994)
January 14 - Fred Myrow died (1999)
January 14 - Harvey R. Cohen died (2007)
January 14 - Angela Morley died (2009)
January 15 - Alessandro Cicognini born (1906)
January 15 - Cy Feuer born (1911)
January 15 - Kenyon Hopkins born (1912)
January 15 - Fonce Mizell born (1943) 
January 15 - Don Caron born (1955)
January 15 - David Raksin begins recording his score for The Vintage (1957)
January 15 - Franz Waxman begins recording his score for Count Your Blessings (1959)
January 15 - John Cavacas begins recording his score for the Buck Rogers in the 25th Century episode “Journey to Oasis” (1981)
January 15 - Georges Delerue records his score for the Amazing Stories episode "Dorothy and Ben" (1986)
January 15 - Georges Delerue records his score for the Amazing Stories episode "Without Diana" (1987)
January 15 - Ron Jones records his score for the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "11001001" (1988)
January 15 - Les Baxter died (1996)
January 16 - Kenyon Emrys-Roberts born (1923)
January 16 - Alain Jessua born (1932)
January 16 - John Carpenter born (1948)
January 16 - Franz Waxman begins recording his score for A Place in the Sun (1951)
January 16 - Nicholas Carras records his score for Date Bait (1959)
January 16 - Atticus Ross born (1968)
January 16 - John Williams begins recording his score to The Fury (1978)
January 17 - Ryuichi Sakamoto born (1952)
January 17 - Charles Bernstein begins recording his score for Love at First Bite (1979)
January 17 - John Williams begins recording his score to Return of the Jedi (1983)
January 17 - Harry Robinson died (1996)
January 17 - Rolf Wilhelm died (2013)

DID THEY MENTION THE MUSIC?

BEAST OF BURDEN - Tim Jones
 
"The film’s flashbacks, which are either too clipped or excessively scored, are even less organic, effectively stepping on the actors’ toes. The flimsiness of Adam Hoelzel’s screenplay is only further heightened by the film’s unsightly monochromatic look, which amplifies the cheapness of the ever-present green-screen work. Where 'Locke' was able to visualize a compelling interior world for Tom Hardy’s protagonist while hinting at an emotionally rich exterior world without him ever leaving the driver’s seat, 'Beast of Burden' fails to do so for Sean even when freeing him from the restrictive point of view of the script’s central conceit. The uninspired writing and directing leaves Radcliffe virtually on his own to breathe life and a sense of urgency into a character with less shades of complexity than his farting corpse in 'Swiss Army Man.'"

Derek Smith, Slant Magazine

BEAUTY AND THE DOGS - Amine Bouhafa
 
"The film’s lead character is Mariam (Mariam Al Ferjani), a single student who’s attending a university party she helped organize (in the book she was 28 and had a fiancé). At the club, she gossips with her girlfriends, dances and runs into the handsome Youssef (Ghanem Zrelli), with whom she finally goes outside. Ben Hania captures Mariam’s journey from the bathrooms into the club in one fluid Steadicam shot that always stays close to the characters, with the film’s emotionally telling score, by Amine Bouhafa, at a certain point taking over from the pumping diegetic beats and the focus puller similarly doing his part to help tell the story."
 
Boyd van Hoeij, The Hollywood Reporter

DOCTOR STRANGE - Michael Giacchino
 
"The pothead poetry extends to Michael Giacchino's music: if you don't stay for the post-credits scenes (and you should), stay for the sitar duels of the MCU's most luxurious score yet. Clearly, Marvel still has rabbits to pull from the hat."
 
Kevin Harley, The List

"Most disarming is Michael Giacchino’s safer-than-a-town-square-in-Middle-America score. Giacchino is one of the best composers working today, but he’s completely wrong for the visuals and trippy nature of everything else Derrickson is seemingly trying to accomplish. 'Strange' is the sort of movie that screams for the talents of Jóhann Jóhannsson, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, Abel Korzeniowski or even Hans Zimmer, Carter Burwell or Cliff Martinez for Pete’s sake. Not only can you catch a refrain of Giacchino’s iconic 'Star Trek' theme during the picture, his score (or Derrickson’s choice of using it) hampers what should have been an incredibly moving scene between Swinton and Cumberbatch (a moment that would likely have brought audiences to tears if the music was removed completely)."
 
Gregory Ellwood, The Playlist
 
"But if the usual Marvel headaches feel unusually pronounced here, it’s only because this film does so much to transcend them. 'Captain America: Civil War' was bogged down by surface-level squabbles about the ethics of power and it looked like an episode of a network TV show; this movie is obstinately about nothing and it looks like an acid trip. 'Avengers: Age of Ultron' had more characters than it knew what to do with; this has approximately 10 speaking parts (11 if you count Stan Lee). 'Ant-Man' cast Atlanta as San Francisco; 'Doctor Strange' lets Nepal, Hong Kong, London, and New York all play themselves. That’s not all -- miracle of miracles, there’s finally a Marvel movie with a memorable, personality-driven score! That’s what you get when you hire Michael Giacchino."
 
David Ehrlich, IndieWire

"As a contained standalone this is the most inventive Marvel has allowed its movies to get so far, which is a positive indication for new freshness as Phase 3 rolls out. The 3D work is immersive when Derrickson shoots in naturalistic settings on location in Kathmandu, and transportive when he uses it to distort depth and perception in its more fantastical sequences -- made even more otherworldly by a memorably electric Michael Giacchino score. 'Doctor Strange' is propelled by one dazzlingly intricate VFX set piece after another. It manages to top each successive sequence leading up to a mind-bending climax in which the neon-lit streets of Hong Kong provide the backdrop as Strange and his wizard pals face off in a battle manipulating the most invisible of intangibles: Time."
 
Jen Yamato, The Daily Beast
 
"On the surface, 'Doctor Strange' pushes the Marvel Cinematic Universe in a bold new direction. By eschewing the usual stories of technologically-gifted playboys and noble super soldiers for a world ruled by magic, 'Doctor Strange' feels fresh. It crackles with energy, moving from one plot point to the next, not wasting any moment. This was also the first time I ever noticed the musical score on my first viewing of a Marvel film -- it doesn’t create an iconic theme for its hero but imbues the film with the appropriate mood. The visuals are electrifying and CGI is used very well to build a world far different than anything else we’ve seen in superhero adaptations recently. But for all of its wondrous world-building and trippy effects, 'Doctor Strange' isn’t the evolutionary step forward for Marvel that it needs to be storytelling-wise. Underneath all of its improvements, the core narrative is something we’ve seen countless times."
 
Angelica Jade Bastien, RogerEbert.com
 
DON'T TALK TO IRENE - Erica Procunier
 
"Paul Sarossy’s cinematography coats the action in bright hues, and Erica Procunier’s score (aided by some cheesy pop hits, such as Milli Vanilli’s 'Blame It on the Rain') is similarly upbeat. Though there are no real surprises to be found along the way to the film’s conclusion, McLeod’s turn as the bizarre yet indefatigable Irene helps sell the film’s misfit-makes-good sentimentality. So too does Davis, who proves an entertaining disembodied voice of reason, whether she’s relating to Irene’s girth-related insecurities by discussing her own awkward teen feelings about her height, or emboldening the girl to embrace her defiant outlaw spirit with references to 'Thelma and Louise.'"
 
Nick Schager, Variety

LEANING INTO THE WIND: ANDY GOLDSWORTHY - Fred Frith
 
"Roger was duly transfixed while observing the Scotland-based environmentalist’s immersive process, declaring that, 'Watching this movie is like daydreaming.' Alas, much like Roger nearly 15 years ago, I have only just discovered the existence of 'Rivers and Tides,' thanks to the arrival of its sequel, 'Leaning into the Wind: Andy Goldsworthy.' This time, Thomas Riedelsheimer -- a German director, photographer, cameraman and editor who captures images worthy of National Geographic that are heightened by a sculptor’s sense of space and proportion -- concentrates on showing how his now-61-year-old subject has evolved since they last collaborated. Once again, the percussively primordial jazz soundtrack that intensifies the sense of wonder and discovery onscreen is composed and performed by Fred Frith. But there is something new, too, in the form of Goldsworthy’s dad-indulging daughter, Holly, and Riedelsheimer’s son, Felix, who both act as assistants to their mutual fathers."
 
Susan Wloszczyna, RogerEbert.com
 
"Picking up where he left off, Riedelsheimer 'Leaning Into the Wind' is another soothing, vérité portrait of the artist at work, the largely non-narrative documentary flowing behind Goldsworthy like a breeze at his back. Newcomers don’t need to worry, as a beguiling sense of dislocation is part of the film’s meditative charm. Set to an active, ambient score by Fred Frith and carried downstream by Goldsworthy’s soft British drone (the guy looks like Ian Holm and sounds like a hypnotherapist), the film appears less interested in celebrating its subject’s work than it does in lulling viewers into a state of contemplative submission."
 
David Ehrlich, IndieWire

"'Rivers and Tides' clicked with viewers not just because of its beauty and novelty, but because it had a sort of blood-pressure-lowering effect -- it was like a relaxation exercise in which you actually learned something. Seeing no reason to mess with a good thing, Riedelsheimer’s very handsome package (including his own cinematography, this time in HD) makes few significant alternations, maintaining the same alert yet tranquil pacing and tenor. He also fruitfully brings back composer Fred Frith, who contributes another diverse, imaginative chamber score."
 
Dennis Harvey, Variety
 
LOOKING GLASS - Mark Adler, Kristin Gundred
 
"Before then, and even for a little while after, 'Looking Glass' builds promisingly. Cage, bearded and clad mostly in flannel, is in a compelling (but not sleepwalking) low-key mode. The motel signage gives off an appropriately noirish glow. The electronic score by Mark Adler and Kristin Gundred pulses. And the mysteries steadily accumulate: Why does the previous owner seem so eager to ditch his motel? Why do so many of the motel’s regulars insist on staying in room number 10? Why does this have multiple regulars and few other guests? Why does the sheriff (Marc Blucas) seem both chummy with and intensely suspicious of Ray? And why does the movie start losing tension after it introduces a murder mystery of sorts?"
 
Jesse Hassenger, The Onion AV Club

MIDNIGHTERS - Chris Westlake
 
"While its convoluted storyline never fully convinces, Midnighters never lets up on the tension, making it easy to go along with its contrivances. Working with an obviously low budget, debut helmer Ramsay stages the occasionally gory proceedings cleanly and efficiently, aided by Alexander Alexandrov's impressive widescreen lensing and Chris Westlake's suitably tense musical score. The relatively unknown performers are fully convincing in their not particularly fleshed-out roles, with Horton especially effective as the slick detective whose charms are deceptive."
 
Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter

MISS SLOANE - Max Richter
 
"At 132 minutes, 'Miss Sloane' is far too long for a film that ultimately just wants to pull the rug from underneath you. The dialogue is quick and Max Richter’s score attempts to guide the film through some breakneck twists and turns but the pacing feels slow because the shot selection is fairly static and unimaginative. Unlike Danny Boyle or David Fincher were able to do with their Sorkin-scripted films, director John Madden ('Shakespeare in Love') can’t find an interesting visual way to add to the talky script. And ultimately too much happens in 'Sloane' to feel authentic. But Chastain is revelatory and that’s the film’s biggest selling point."
 
Brian Formo, Collider
 
MOHAWK - Wojciech Golczewski
 
"Geoghegan’s eye for detail and squirm-inducing moments of violence and torture is a keen one, and he and cinematographer Karim Hussain turn the empty spaces into areas where hidden threats can emerge unnoticed. Along with the score by Wojciech Golczewski, the technical aspects of the film prove crucial as they build an otherworldly and disturbing tone. With a more finely honed script, 'Mohawk' might not have had the polish of its bigger budgets counterparts, but it would have been a worthy pick in the sea of independent cinema. Even still, with its politically charged themes of oppression and the genocide of Native Americans, and the play on how history has been presented in the past, 'Mohawk' is a fascinating and engaging tale of bloody revenge."
 
Ally Johnson, The Playlist

"After much torture, carnage and murder on both sides, one character opines, 'We’re the only monsters left out here' -- a cue for 'Mohawk,' having already dabbled in dreamy visions of an unholy figure wearing an animal skull for a mask, to dive headfirst into more overt supernatural territory. That segue is executed with aplomb by Geoghegan, who maintains consistent command over his material’s tone even at its trickiest moments. Aided by Wojciech Golczewski’s creepy score of menacing synth tones and growling noises, Karim Hussain’s superb cinematography, and a cast of performers who manage to eschew cartoonishness at just about every turn, the director confidently operates on the edge between grim realism and out-there insanity. In the process, he provides more than a few unforgettable images, the most striking of which is a wide shot of Calvin holding Joshua’s mouth shut as they hide from their adversaries behind a giant tree’s upturned roots."
 
Nick Schager, Variety

"In his day job as a film publicist, Geoghegan is well known to the kind of horror fiends (and critics) who come to Fantasia; his first film, 2015's haunted-house pic 'We Are Still Here,' played directly to that crowd. He doesn't seem to want to shake that mood entirely here: As we move through the woods of New York state, characters tend to make their entrances as if in a thriller's shock-cut. The trees of these woods aren't packed densely enough to explain why people so frequently fail to see each other coming. That tendency, a comfort with extreme gore, and Wojciech Golczewski's mildly Carpenter-esque score are our main clues that Mohawk will not remain 100 percent in the realm of historical realism. But until the third act, Geoghegan and co-writer Grady Hendrix keep the conflict realistic and very personal."
 
John DeFore, The Hollywood Reporter
 
NOVEMBER - Jacaszek
 
"This, I’m happy to report, is only some of the rampant insanity dispensed by 'November,' which is transfixing and frequently funny in both an intentional, and an I-can’t-believe-it’s-going-this-far, sort of way. Mart Taniel’s monochromatic cinematography is all grimy black surfaces and blooming white lighting, and, when coupled with impressionistic interludes and slow-motion sequences, his visuals lend the action a sumptuous, dreamlike atmosphere. Jacaszek’s score is similarly mesmeric, full of ominous chanting, choral singing, and orchestral strings that contribute to its otherworldly mood. The result is a film that feels legitimately fantastical, and incapable of being explained in anything approaching a lucid manner."
 
Nick Schager, The Daily Beast

"Also significant is one-named Polish composer Jacaszek, whose score mixes drones, burbles, and lupine howls with occasional bursts of electric guitar. The rock'n'roll flourishes, the only modern touches, seem to propel 'November' even deeper into the primordial forest."
 
Mark Jenkins, NPR

"Though the emotional pull of this love triangle grows more compelling in the second half, for much of its running time 'November' prefers to beguile us with the strangeness of its setting and characters. Mart Taniel's fine monochrome lensing in general presents fantastic scenes with a matter-of-fact clarity that enables Sarnet's deadpan comedy; a score by Polish musician Jacaszek throws in just enough menacing electric guitar cues to raise the possibility that all this will end in real horror. Sarnet's previous features, even a 2011 adaptation of Dostoyevsky's 'The Idiot,' appear to have gone unseen in the English-speaking world. Judging from 'November,' that should change right away."
 
John DeFore, The Hollywood Reporter

THE NEXT TEN DAYS IN L.A.

Screenings of older films, at the following L.A. movie theaters: AMPASAmerican Cinematheque: AeroAmerican Cinematheque: EgyptianArclightArena CineloungeLACMALaemmleNew Beverly, Nuart and UCLA.

January 11
ALIEN (Jerry Goldsmith) [Nuart]
THE HOUSE WITH A CLOCK IN ITS WALLS (Nathan Barr), THE ESCAPE ARTIST (Georges Delerue) [New Beverly]
JACKIE BROWN [New Beverly]
THE SECOND GAME [UCLA]
THE SHINING (Wendy Carlos, Rachel Elkind)  [Cinematheque: Aero]
 
January 12
ADAM'S RIB (Miklos Rozsa) [Cinematheque: Egyptian]
THE HOUSE WITH A CLOCK IN ITS WALLS (Nathan Barr), THE ESCAPE ARTIST (Georges Delerue) [New Beverly]
FULL METAL JACKET (Abigail Mead), FILMWORKER [Cinematheque: Aero]
UNBREAKABLE (James Newton Howard), SPLIT (West Dylan Thordson) [Cinematheque: Egyptian]
 
January 13
EYES WIDE SHUT (Jocelyn Pook) [Cinematheque: Aero]
HONEY, I SHRUNK THE KIDS (James Horner) [UCLA]
THE HOUSE WITH A CLOCK IN ITS WALLS (Nathan Barr) [New Beverly]
ROUSTABOUT (Joseph J. Lilley), THE MAIN ATTRACTION (Andrew Adorian) [New Beverly]

January 14
ROUSTABOUT (Joseph J. Lilley), THE MAIN ATTRACTION (Andrew Adorian) [New Beverly]

January 15
THE MAN WITH BOGART'S FACE (George Duning), DEADLY ILLUSION (Patrick Gleeson) [New Beverly]
VIVA LAS VEGAS (George Stoll) [LACMA]

January 16
AMARCORD (Nino Rota) [Laemmle Royal]
THE LONG GOODBYE (John Williams), THE BLACK BIRD (Jerry Fielding) [New Beverly]
THEY LIVE (John Carpenter, Alan Howarth) [Cinematheque: Egyptian]

January 17
CLIFFHANGER (Trevor Jones) [Laemmle NoHo]
THE LONG GOODBYE (John Williams), THE BLACK BIRD (Jerry Fielding) [New Beverly]
WALKABOUT (John Barry), THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH (Michael Phillips) [Cinematheque: Egyptian]

January 18
CABARET (John Kander, Ralph Burns), LUCKY LADY (Ralph Burns) [New Beverly]
CONTEMPT (Georges Delerue), LE PETIT SOLDAT (Maurice Leroux) [Cinematheque: Aero]
DONNIE DARKO (Michael Andrews) [Nuart]
JACKIE BROWN [New Beverly]
THE WITCHES (Stanley Myers) [Cinematheque: Egyptian]

January 19
ALPHAVILLE (Paul Misraki), MADE IN USA [Cinematheque: Aero]
ARTHUR (Burt Bacharach) [New Beverly]
CABARET (John Kander, Ralph Burns), LUCKY LADY (Ralph Burns) [New Beverly]
DON'T LOOK NOW (Pino Donaggio), COLD HEAVEN (Stanley Myers) [Cinematheque: Egyptian]
HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN (Frank Loesser, Walter Scharf) [New Beverly]
OUR MAN IN HAVANA [UCLA]

January 20
BAD TIMING (Richard Hartley), EUREKA (Stanley Myers) [Cinematheque: Egyptian]
HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN (Frank Loesser, Walter Scharf) [New Beverly]
THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE (David Amram), SUDDENLY (David Raksin) [New Beverly]
ONE PLUS ONE [Cinematheque: Aero]


THINGS I'VE HEARD, READ, SEEN OR WATCHED LATELY

For anyone who's curious as to what Steven Soderbergh heard, read, saw or watched in 2018, as per his custom he has listed all of them, day by day, on his website.

When I was in San Francisco recently over the Thanksgiving holiday, I had the chance to track down a key location from one of my all-time favorite movies, Alfred Hitchcock's Family Plot, and seeing the "real" house owned by William Devane and Karen Black in the film inspired me to re-read the film's source novel, Victor Canning's The Rainbird Pattern.

I'd read it once before, probably in the late '70s during the peak of my Hitchcock obsession, and reading it again 40 years later, as my familiarity with the film version has only grown, was a fascinating lesson in adaptation, in how a film from a book can be so similar yet so different.

The most obvious immediate difference is that the novel is set in England while the film is set in an unnamed California city, an amalgam of San Francisco (the cathedral, the distinctively hilly street on which the villains live) and Los Angeles (the home Barbara Harris and Bruce Dern share) locations. The switch from the UK to the US is almost unsurprising, since the film is the kind of "cozy" comedy-mystery that is often associated with the UK, but in fact, though the novel is largely quite close to the film in its storyline, the tone is quite different. While Canning's book is hardly humorless, it is in no way a comedy, which becomes clearer over the course of its narrative.

The principal plot elements are the same, as are the character names [stop reading here, if you want to avoid spoilers for film or novel]. An elderly spinster named Julia Rainbird employs questionable psychic Blanche Tyler to track down the illegitimate nephew who was given up for adoption as a baby, and Blanche's boyfriend George Lumley helps her investigate the whereabouts of the now-adult nephew. Meanwhile, we follow a parallel storyline in which two operatives of a top secret government agency, Bush and Grandison (in the Hitchcock film they're just FBI agents, but in the novel they have more secret and sinister proclivities), are trying to catch a man known as "The Trader," who is kidnapping important figures in return for a ransom of diamonds. The plots converge when it becomes clear that Edward Shoebridge, the missing nephew, is the same person as The Trader, as Blanche discovers when she tracks down Shoebridge and his female accomplice and has the bad luck to glimpse their latest abductee, an archbishop.

At that point in the narrative, the plots of the novel and film diverge distinctly. Hitchcock's movie briefly builds to a mildly tense but ultimately light-hearted and charming conclusion, while Canning's book takes such dark turns that it's hard to imagine how anyone thought to turn it into a comedy, as the "Rainbird pattern" of the title becomes disturbingly clear in the novel's final moments.

Counterintuitively enough, the "back story" of the film is much darker than that of the novel. In the book, Shoebridge had a great relationship with his adopted parents, kept their family name, and rejects the opportunity to be welcomed as the Rainbird family heir. In the film, Shoebridge murdered both his adopted parents in his youth, faked his own death with a gravestone over an empty grave (the "family plot" of the title), and assumed a new name, "Arthur Adamson."

It would be fascinating to see someone attempt a more tonally faithful adaptation of The Rainbird Pattern; according to IMDB, there have been no further Canning adaptations in the 43 years since Family Plot came out (and the author, who had many TV credits, died in 1986).

In the very early days of the Internet, I had some communication with Family Plot screenwriter Ernest Lehman on the Writers Guild Bulletin Board. I mentioned the story that Hitchcock blamed his pacemaker on his working relationship with the writer -- "Ernie Lehman gave me this" -- while Lehman replied that it was probably Hitchcock's wife, Alma Reville, who told that story, because "Hitchcock never liked to give a writer credit."

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Comments (2):Log in or register to post your own comments
Someone should start a thread on Hitchcockian films that would be regarded as classics if they'd been directed by Hitchcock.

On another note, my beef of the week is with the critical meltdown that accompanied BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY's awards success. Now I'm no fan of co-director Bryan Singer and I know nothing about Queen, but for me BOHEMIAN RHAPSOIDY was the only film I saw in 2018 that was consistently lucid while building to an electrifying last reel (compare to the "huh-is-that-it?" endings of ROMA, FIRST MAN and THE FAVOURITE). For these increasingly rare qualities it won huge popularity among the great unwashed (closing in on $800m worldwide). One might have more sympathy with the critics if just one of their anointed films was as good as they told us it was, but A STAR IS BORN, to take an example, was a reheated souffle lurching from story beat to story beat with some fashionable incoherence (chiefly relating to Cooper's puzzling family dynamics). Not a terrible film by any means, but gee whiz, if that's Best Picture material then the industry is in dire straits.

This is considered a classic, but the most Hitchcockian film I ever saw, not directed by Hitchcock, was Witness For the Prosecution, directed by Billy Wilder.

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Franz Waxman records his score for Stalag 17 (1952)
Gary Hughes died (1978)
Georges Delerue records his score for L’Homme Qui Revient De Loin (1972)
Heinz Roemheld's score for Union Station is recorded (1950)
John Williams begins recording his score for How to Steal a Million (1966)
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