Thursday, February 22, 2007

Countdown At the Movies

Cross-promotion time again. My latest gather column is up. A free taste (to get you hooked)...

We're doing a musical movie countdown this week in honor of the 79th Academy Awards, coming to a TV screen near you this Sunday, the 25th.

As it's too easy to include musicals with great music - from Singing in the Rain to Hair, I excluded them from this list of movie songs and music that plays on an extended engagement in my Theater of Memory.

10. "Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be)" - from The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)

Featured in Alfred Hitchcock's 1956 remake of his 1934 original, and sung by Doris Day. "Que Sera, Sera" received the 1956 Academy Award for Best Original Song. It was the third Oscar in this category for songwriters Jay Livingston and Ray Evans.

The song has an interesting history, considering that Hitchcock initially didn't want Doris Day (she was a part of a package deal in order for Hitchcock to secure the services of Jimmy Stewart) and didn't want a song for the movie, even though the studio was pressing him to use something to feature Day's voice.

Hitchcock figured out how to get a song in the movie - in fact, it became a key plot element - and changed his opinion about Day, who he later said did a fine job. He commissioned Livingston and Evans to write something that "had a foreign title" and was to be "sung to a little boy." The two had recently seen the Ava Gardner film, The Barefoot Contessa, where the character played by Rossano Brazzi had the family motto "Che Sera, Sera." Evans and Livingston switched the Italian "Che" to "Que," apparently feeling that Spanish was more accessible in the U.S. than Italian, and came up with the lyrics.

Continuing the comedy of errors, Doris Day was not at all thrilled by the prospect of singing "Que Sera Sera." In fact, she refused to record it, until ultimately bowing from pressure by Paramount. Reportedly, she did the song in one take and walked out of the studio saying, "That's the last time you'll ever hear that."

Of course, the song became a signature piece for Day, who would use it as the theme for her television sitcom series, and sing snippets of it in several of her other movies, including Please Don't Eat the Daisies and The Glass-Bottom Boat.

Sources: Google Answers; Wikipedia

9. Theme from per un Pugno di Dollari (A Fistful of Dollars) - Ennio Morricone (as Dan Savio) (1964)

Da-da-da-dah! WAH WAH WAH! Hired by Leone for Per un pugno di dollari on the strength of some of his song arrangements, Morricone would revolutionize how Westerns sounded, just as Leone would bend the Western movie genre totally out of shape. The soundtrack's exceedingly strange instrumentation included bells, electric guitars, harmonicas, and a jew's harp, and would be repeated with variations in the two succeeding Man with No Name movies.

Source: IMDB

No comments: