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Classical Notes

Roll Credits: July 12, 2011 - Romantic Films

Posted at 1:21 PM on July 12, 2011 by ClassicalMPR (1 Comments)
Filed under: Roll Credits

Breakfast at Tiffany's

The Romantic film comedies of the fifties and early sixties were memorable not only for their stories and stars, but for a kid growing up at the time, they amounted to some early imprints of that elusive quality that was soon to go out of fashion: elegance. By 1965 the Beatles had changed music (or maybe everything) and fashion was following. The studio system and its icons were fading: Cary Grant, Spencer Tracy, Katherine Hepburn, Gregory Peck, Bette Davis, James Stewart, et al.

Although no adolescent or teenager of the time could safely suggest rock 'n roll wasn't an unalloyed boon to mankind, I felt the loss of something I never actually had. Identity to a great extent was being limned by clothes as well as taste in music, and I looked nostalgically at the age of twelve (the year of Sgt. Pepper) to a time when everybody dressed pretty much the same. It was the force of personality, of wit and the deft negotiations with power, and society and the opposite sex that seemed to make someone interesting. The characters that were Grant, or Peck, or Stewart (speaking from the guy's point of view) had a certain order to them, while the world I lived in was gaudy, democratic, anarchic (and admittedly, intensely interesting in its way).

So when I see The Apartment, or My Fair Lady, or Casablanca, or countless others, I'm struck by what they have in common, as different as the movie experiences are. Elegance was personality free to operate within a fairly narrow range of assumptions, and accessories. A nice, neat, theatrical range, perhaps. The world seemed a little simpler than it would be, Vietnam era and ever after.

In this edition of Roll Credits Lynne Warfel and I explore movie themes from romances of these years, and some more recent, too. But it's notable how many of the later romantic comedies, like Sleepless in Seattle or You've Got Mail, leaned on tunes from the forties and earlier. And of course in the fifties you had the movie composer who helped define the time, the always elegant, and sometimes quaintly jazzy, Henry Mancini.

We'll pursue that elusive elegance in Charade, Breakfast at Tiffany's, and the movies mentioned above, as well as The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, Sabrina, Topkapi, An Affair to Remember, and Carousel.

Bill Morelock


Kurt Weill/Maxwell Anderson - September Song Walter Huston, vocal ASV 5246

Herman Hupfeld, arr. Chertock - As Time Goes By
Michael Chertock, piano
Telarc 80357

Charles Williams - The Apartment
RCA 60393

Bernard Herrmann - The Ghost and Mrs. Muir: The Late Sea; Forever
Bernard Herrmann, conductor
Studio Orchestra
Varese Sarabande 5850

Frederick Loewe/Alan Jay Lerner - My Fair Lady: I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face
Original Cast Recording
Rex Harrison, vocal
Sony 89997

Henry Mancini - Charade
Studio Orchestra
Big Screen Records 24503

Manos Hadjidakis - Theme from Topkapi
Nic Raine, conductor
City of Prague Philharmonic
Silva 1052

Harry Warren/Hugo Friedhofer - An Affair to Remember
John Mauceri, conductor
Hollywood Bowl Orchestra
Philips 446 681

Jule Styne/Comden & Green - Make Someone Happy
Jimmy Durante
Warner Archives 734

Alex North - Unchained Melody
John Mauceri, conductor
Hollywood Bowl Orchestra
Philips 446 681

Rodger & Hammerstein - If I Loved You from Carousel
Original Soundtrack Recording
Gordon MacRae, vocal
Angel 27352

Rodgers & Hammerstein - Out of My Dreams from Oklahoma
Original Sountrack Recording
Shirley Jones, vocal
Capitol 46631

Frederick Hollander - Sabrina
Charles Gearhardt, conductor
National Philharmonic
RCA 422

Herman Hupfeld - As Time Goes By
Harry Nilsson, vocal
RCA 3761

Henry Mancini/Johnny Mercer - Moon River from Breakfast at Tiffany's
Audrey Hepburn, vocal
Big Screen Records 24503

Roll Credits homepage

Comments (1)

I missed Monday's show--so glad I found it on your website. It cut out about 2/3 of the way through but fun while it lasted!

Good choices but I wish you'd had time for my favorite theme from an Audrey movie-Two for the Road. Another great "Romance" tune: Theme from "A Man and A Woman". Think about them if you do a "Sixties" show.

Thought for another future show topic--cartoons! For a start, Silly Symphonies (and Merry Melodies), had to be in some movies-- "Who Shot Roger Rabbit?", at least. Was Bug's Barber of Seville or the Wagner one iin any film? And wasn't there a Rocky and Bullwinkle Movie?

Posted by Linda | July 14, 2011 6:46 PM