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Last week's Night Lights show, a tribute to the 1950s and early 60s work of pianist and arranger/composer Andre Previn, is up for online listening: Jazz Of All Trades: The Eclectic Andre Previn It includes music from the adolescent Previn's Ellington album, two of his West Coast jazz collaborations, selections from the My Fair Lady album and Subterraneans soundtrack, and more.
The Subterraneans, the only novel of Jack Kerouac's to be adapted to film so far, was released in 1960, when the media fever surrounding the Beat Generation (much of it inspired by the publication of Kerouac's On the Road in 1957) was still at a high pitch. Hollywood took great liberties with Kerouac's story of a romance between his narrator stand-in (Leo Percepied, played by George Peppard) and a young half-black, half-native American bohemian--for starters, the woman was played by the very white Leslie Caron. The soundtrack, however, was composed by Andre Previn, and it features a number of West Coast jazz luminaries--Gerry Mulligan (who also appears in the film as a hip street priest), Art Pepper, Russ Freeman, Shelly Manne, and Red Mitchell. Carmen McRae also appears, singing an updated beatnik version of "Coffee Time." We'll hear both dialogue and music from the film, including some selections only recently released on a new version of the soundtrack from Film Score Monthly. You can listen live Saturday night at 11:05 p.m. (9:05 California time, 12:05 a.m. NYC time) or in the Night Lights archives, where it will be posted Monday afternoon. Some tidbits that didn't make it into the program: Ranald Macdougall, the director replacement for the fired brother team of Dennis and Terry Sanders, originally opened the film with the credits rolling over a Pollock/Rothko-like painting that dissolved into Gerry Mulligan playing his saxophone, the light gleaming off his crucifix. This was replaced in the final version by a much more conventional opening showing San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge in daytime. The words that appear onscreen were originally almost an exact quote of Allen Ginsberg's description of "the subterraneans" (his character is named Adam Moorad in the book); they were altered in a manner that rendered them more neutral and cliched. The film was originally supposed to be shot in black-and-white for a more austere aesthetic; it ended up being done in Cinemascope and Metrocolor. Article on the movie version of Kerouac's SUBTERRANEANS Photograph of the real-life model for "Mardou", the love interest of Kerouac's who inspired the book: Next week: American jazz in French new-wave cinema.