Due to a recent conversation with theladyrose, I have been thinking again about an idea I had a few months ago but never got around to - a neo-noir mix. Such a compilation would be a pretty interesting set... Jerry Goldsmith (Chinatown, L.A. Confidential), Mark Isham (Romeo is Bleeding, The Black Dahlia), John Barry (Body Heat), Carter Burwell (Blood Simple), David Shire (Farewell, My Lovely), Elmer Bernstein (The Grifters), John Ottman (The Usual Suspects</i>), David Grusin (Mulholland Falls), Van Dyke Parks (The Two Jakes)... hell, I could even open with a piece from Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid, which, though comedic, certainly falls into the category... this would start the disc off from the king of classic noir, Miklós Rózsa himself. Of these, I need to actually get full-bandwidth editions of The Black Dahlia and L.A. Confidential, but I have all the others. I briefly considered including Bernard Herrmann's Taxi Driver and Trevor Jones' Dark City, but on further consideration I decided that they really didn't fit into the noir genre... if I were to include those, I'd ought to include Blade Runner as well. Neither, really, does Basic Instinct fit here... I have said in the past that Jerry Goldsmith changed the sound of noir with that score, I stick to that. But I would go so far as to say that Basic Instinct is a newer, more post-modern breed of noir² as distinct from both classic and neo noir, which tend to be rooted more in the modern (often with very overt Freudian themes). Noir is, after all, a genre of aesthetic, and the differences between classic noir and neo noir are minor, at best; perhaps a bit more sexually explicit, and with the introduction of jazz into the palette. Basic Instinct does not follow this aesthetic, and while it would be impossible to dismiss it from the noir genre completely, the tone is significantly different from either of its antecedents. This is serendipitous, as I think that the stylistic departure from the other material on this disc might not work terribly well.
As I was going through my collection looking for candidates for the neo noir mix, I came across a few scores for films that almost qualify... and decided that an American gangster movie mix would make a great double bill with the other mix. Such a disc could include Nino Rota (The Godfather films), Carter Burwell (Miller's Crossing), Elmer Bernstein (Hoodlum, Oscar), Ennio Morricone (Bugsy, State of Grace, The Untouchables), Thomas Newman (Road to Perdition), Patrick Doyle (Donnie Brasco, Carlito's Way) and maybe even Bill Conti (F.I.S.T.)...? Possibly? I dunno. My only regret for such a project is that I couldn't include any of Alex North's delicious score for John Huston's fantastic Prizzi's Honor... a laserdisc I kick myself for never having gotten, especially as it had an isolated music and effects track. Actually, this film could use a decent DVD release as well. Seeing as that I have all of these, I might start work on this one first.
I have taken care of my Time Warner bill and on Thursday morning or thereabouts, the cable guy will show up and I will be on my own broadband again for the first time since I went on the leave of absence. I can't really complain about my current lack of internet coverage right now seeing as that I was kinda just stealing it for two years or so... but not having ready access to the internet forces one to have to do some pretty desperate things. Last night Intrada, in their never-ending quest to keep my bank account from ever expanding, announced two new releases. I had to ask waystone via text message to find out what the releases were; Pino Donaggio's Hercules and Don Ellis' The Seven-Ups paired with Johnny Mandel's rejected score for the same picture and The Verdict. Hercules will be fun, but if I had missed out on The Seven-Ups, I'd have to go to find out the last person who placed a bulk order just to put one up on eBay and bleed them, real slow. In order to prevent this potentially disasterous, not to mention slighly illegal act, I was forced to prowl my neighborhood in the car with my laptop's WiFi radar on to find an unsecured network to make sure that I didn't miss them, as they are both very limited (1000 for the Donaggio, 1200 for the Ellis/Mandel).
I'm curious to hear what Mandel did for The Seven-Ups, as it is the music from M*A*S*H and The Last Detail that I am most familiar with, which is a completely different animal from this sort of thing. The Last Detail would make an interesting release... but Ellis' score for The Seven-Ups is in the same prickly vein as the two French Connection films... no way I was going to miss that. None. One of these days I'm going to have to do a revisit of Urban Danger...
¹ - Irony
² - Just to put things straight... while I do believe that Basic Instinct changed the noir genre (especially with regards to what it tended to sound like), I really have to admit that I just don't like that film. I love Goldsmith's score, but that's just about it. Frankly, Paul Verhoeven has thus far proven to be the only force in the known universe that can possibly make tits boring.