“Here`s a man who would not take it anymore.”

November 30, 2009 by  
Filed under Music

taxi driver poster“He`s a prophet and a pusher, partly truth, partly fiction-a walking contradiction.” The Pilgrim, Chapter 33-Kris Kristofferson

Betsy (Cybill Shepherd) is reminded of that song when she is having coffee with Travis Bickle (Robert DeNiro). Yesterday was a rainy, cloudy day, so I stayed in and watched Taxi Driver on Netflix. To my surprise, it was Bernard Hermann who did the music for Martin Scorsese`s shocking film. Hermann died before the film was released, which was on February 8, 1976.

New York is a very different city today than it was in 1975. The footage captures the streets in a more decayed state, as Travis coasts solemnly in his yellow cab. But listen to the cool soundtrack, with I believe a soprano saxophone, carrying the main theme, as Bickle gradually morphs to madness. The music is cool and jazzy, while Travis is anything but cool.

In the final scene of violence, when the bad guy, Sport, gets his just deserve, listen for the pounding kettle drums Taxi Driver Jodie(maybe its timpani drums) as the mohawked Bickle engages in the dramatic shootout, that he was always longing for. The ending can be interpreted in two completely different ways. Which way do you take it? (Read Roger Ebert`s thoughts on this wiki page).

Finally, this film was conceived from a diary of an assassin. It then, in turn, puts some crazy ideas in the head of another assassin want to be. Sometimes Art holds a mirror up to truth, but more infrequently, Art actually influences the outcome of history (truth). Chew on that… That floppy hat of Jodie Foster (Iris) amazes me. And the seedy gun dealer has long hair? Unfair!

Martin makes us deal with some very heavy issues here. Troubling yes, but necessary… Drop the Tiger story. It`s nothin`…but emptiness…study the floppy hat…

The Scariest Screeching Strings Of Terror Ever: Bernard Hermann`s “Psycho”

October 8, 2009 by  
Filed under Music

PsychoThe cellos, violins, and violas screech during The Shower Curtain scene, as Marion Crane crumples to the ground. That`s chocolate syrup, not blood pouring down the drain. The silhouette of the old woman with the very large knife dashes out of the musty Bates Hotel room. The score to Psycho is wall to wall, and is an equal to the plot, images, and stars (Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, and Vera Miles). Bernard Hermann used only strings for the Psycho score, primarily because of budget concerns.

As we crawl towards October 31st, we seek out our most cherished Horror films and we also Psycho iisearch for music that best captures these spooky sentiments of spirit. Bernard Hermann`s Psycho tracks is at the top, for me. Norman Bates loses it when looking at Marion Crane undress; through a peephole he stares in an adjacent bird-stuffed office. Listen to the undulating strings as the scene builds, the dynamics and staccato rapture, then the sound of water and the camera focuses on a frozen eyeball. Terror strings, then “Mother, oh God!”

Psycho iiiThe tones of Bernard Hermann here have kept me frightened out of my wits for my entire life! While there are other greats in the gallery of horror, with scary soundtracks, like John Carpenter`s Halloween, I believe that the scariest accolades must go to B.H. and Psycho.