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Jazz in movies

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Nobody's seen "They Saved Hitler's Brain"? A crappy movie, but that first part of the score is pretty intriguing.

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I suggest ANYONE with interests in jazz beyond 1957 hard bop check out Stormy Monday. The following is from the All Movie Guide.

Stormy Monday is a four-person character study in which style is all that matters. This tautly constructed, deftly executed crime thriller is set in economically depressed Newcastle England. Sting plays Finney, a relatively honest Newcastle jazz-club owner who crosses the path of crass American gangster Cosmo (Tommy Lee Jones). Flaunting his wealth at every opportunity, Cosmo wants to involve Finney in a land development deal — if only he'll give up his club. Both men are enamored of Kate (Melanie Griffith), who becomes a pawn in their ongoing one-upsmanship. Kate and her lover (Sean Bean) try to prevent Finney from corrupting his own sense of values by wallowing in the gutter with Cosmo. Stormy Monday, the first feature-length directorial effort of former jazz musician Mike Figgis, who also wrote the script and composed the score, tells its story using subtle shadings of character and a vivid evocation of its Newcastle setting rather than through violent action. Figgis's moody direction of his excellent screenplay is quietly effective and brimming with visual nuance and irony — particularly in its perceptive take on love, money, jazz, and economic necessity. — Hal Erickson

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Figgis is supposed to be pretty handy with a trumpet.

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What's the name of that movie with Crusie that has the hologram of Trane playing My Favorite Things?

Oh yeah! That's in 'Vanilla Sky', at a party scene.

Another Cruise/ jazz reference. Hmmm. :huh:

And yet another in "Jerry McGuire." Tom plays a tape or CD for Renee that someone has given him, and it's Mingus (I think "Better Git It in Your Soul" but I could be wrong). Tom asks "What is this shit?" and turns it off.

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About 40 minutes into the movie, the Cruise character takes Foxx to a jazz club (I won’t explain why, but it is plot driven). They walk into the club and there is a group of ‘musicians’ on the bandstand, playing. Now, actors miming the playing of instruments is one of my cinematic pet hates- it rarely, if ever, looks convincing. However… not only are these guys miming but… get this… they’re miming to ‘Spanish Key’ by Miles Davis!!!!   :o  :huh::blink:

I thought that was pretty ridiculous, though must admit that I wouldn't complain if more movies used "Spanish Key" in the soundtrack. :)

Anyway, an odd directorial choice that’s still bothering me days later.

Any other nominations for worst (or best) use of jazz in a movie? Any other unexpected jazz references from movies/ tv/ books? The more incongruous and unlikely the better.

I really dig the Preservation Hall Band on Woody Allen's Sleeper. Kind of incongruous considering the topic of the film, but fits it perfectly.

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A couple of movies with jazz related themes worth checking out are:

Blue Ice: A thriller set in London starring Michael Caine as an ex spy who now runs a jazz club. Bobby Short also appears.

Lulu on the Bridge: A rather odd little film starring Harvey Keitel as a jazz sax player with Mira Sorvino as the love interest.

Anyone recall either of these?

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Yes, Blue Ice had Pete King playing alto and Charlie Watts playing drums, among others.

I found some similarities between this film and one I saw on TV recently titled The Score with Robert DeNiro as club owner (and thief). The performers in that one are Cassandra Wilson and Mose Allison.

Mike

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Now you guys have me thinking....

In Blazing Saddles the black Sheriff is dressed in his Gugcci finest while Basie's April In Paris is heard, then the camera pull back to show the whole Basie Band playing in the middle of the desert.

Later when the town people are running in fright from the dreaded Mongo character and a peasant screams " Mongo.....Santamaria!"

Edited by marcello

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Most recent example I can think of is the appearance of a few musicians pretending to be the Gerry Mulligan/Chet Baker quartet in LA Confidential. Nice touch, I forget which tune it was (& I think it was right off the original hit single, not modern musicians recreating it).

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"Constantine"...I got a laugh when Keanu Reeves put a stylus to Brubeck's "Time Out" LP.

"The Notebook" has some very nice jazz...

I'll Be Seeing You - Billie Holiday

Alabamy Home - Duke Ellington

Always And Always - Benny Goodman

String Of Pearls, A - Glenn Miller

Diga Diga Doo - Rex Stewart/The Ellingtonians

One O'Clock Jump - Benny Goodman

I'll Be Seeing You - Jimmy Durante

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I really dig the Preservation Hall Band on Woody Allen's Sleeper.  Kind of incongruous considering the topic of the film, but fits it perfectly.

Well now, jazz references in Woody Allen movies... where do we start...? :rolleyes:

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So that's three appearance for Tom Cruise in this thread...

I've never seen it but I'm assuming there aren't any jazz references in Top Gun :cool:

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Most recent example I can think of is the appearance of a few musicians pretending to be the Gerry Mulligan/Chet Baker quartet in LA Confidential. Nice touch, I forget which tune it was (& I think it was right off the original hit single, not modern musicians recreating it).

Yeah, I was thinking of LA Confidential too. About an hour in, some lookalikes play 'Making Whoopee' and 'The Lady Is a Tramp'. Nice use of music in that film... and a great movie too.

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"Constantine"...I got a laugh when Keanu Reeves put a stylus to Brubeck's "Time Out" LP. 

Brubeck's music also makes an appearance in the current flick Wedding Crashers, where his "Blue Rondo a la Turk" provides the music for a touch football game montage.

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I suggest ANYONE with interests in jazz beyond 1957 hard bop check out Stormy Monday.

ah you beat me to it. I second the recommendation for this movie. Among other things there's a Polish free jazz outfit that jam in a couple of scenes, and summarily piss off innocent bystanders lol

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Just thought about this one...

Francis Ford Coppola's fine (if now dated) thriller 'The Conversation'. Gene Hackman is the surveillance whiz and amateur jazz saxophonist. A few minutes into the film we see him 'practicing' tenor along with a record (which I can't identify).

Gene Hackman. Great actor. Lousy mimer.

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Interesting! Thanks for that link, Michael.

It doesn't surprise me that Hackman actually played for the film- he's that kind of an actor- but it still doesn't look too convincing. I guess that may be more a question of editing from different takes making it look out of synch.

I strike Mr. Hackman's name from my bad miming list.

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There's a nice free jazz sequence in Rosemary's Baby performed by (I assume) K. Komeda's group w/Tomasz Stanko.

Guy

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I haven't seen this one in ages, but according to this

http://www.aquariusrecords.org/bin/search....word=shirconvcd

the jazz "records" were newly created by the film's scorer David Shire and - Hackman actually played the saxophone for the scenes.

Mike

Interesting! Thanks for that link, Michael.

It doesn't surprise me that Hackman actually played for the film- he's that kind of an actor- but it still doesn't look too convincing. I guess that may be more a question of editing from different takes making it look out of synch.

I strike Mr. Hackman's name from my bad miming list.

The Conversation is one of my favorite '70s films, and easily my favorite Copolla.

Great link. Very interesting about the score and Hackman's playing; I didn't know that stuff.

It never struck me that Hackman was miming. Usually that really bugs me, though not being a reed player it's harder for me to tell in cases like this one. Guess I know now why I wasn't bothered in this film. I'll have to watch it again soon (I own it on DVD).

Edited by Kalo

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I saw Stealth this weekend and it's not that good or believable about a runaway jet fighter that is run by a computer where the Navy Brass calls the computer's inventor and you see him putting down an lp of Monk Alone. I think I was the only one in the theater to see that and get excited. My son and nephew looked at me like I was nuts.

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Duke and the Count in Paris Blues (Paul Newman and Sydney Poitier), can't actually remember if they make an appearance, but the score is Duke's.

And Duke shows up jamming with Jimmy Stewart in Anatomy of a Murder.

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All this reminds me that one film I really wanna see is Hellzapoppin.....

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Check out the very last Thin Man movie (SONG OF THE THIN MAN, 1947) in the DVD box that comes out tomorrow. The series was obviously running out of gas, but it's worth a watch just for the interplay between Powell/Loy and the "bop" musicians running around in the picture (the plot centers around the murder of a jazz bandleader).

Then there's Kay Kyser's big band in the haunted-house film YOU'LL FIND OUT--the only movie in which Bela Lugosi, Peter Lorre, and Boris Karloff all appear together.

Another one I've never seen--only read about, and viewed some of the Carmichael clips from it--is YOUNG MAN WITH A HORN. Supposedly a bastardized version of Dorothy Baker's bastardized novel about a Bix-like musician.

Pimpin' for Night Lights programs, but check out The Subterraneans, The Wild One, and The Connection for some archived shows about jazz in the movies. I've got more on tap for the next couple of years.

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PLEASE, some "free music" fan check out Blue Monday. I can't believe no person responded to this. Not even Sting fans. Someone must have it for rent.

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