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This is a comments thread about FSM CD: The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing
 
 Posted:   Aug 9, 2010 - 8:04 PM   
 By:   dogplant   (Member)

Love this disc: two super little scores. I actually love both treatments, as different as they are. JW's has the bright-eyed energy of his "Sugarland"-era jazzy Americana; Legrand's has an infectious, sweet and almost minimalist charm. Is the movie worth watching?

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 9, 2010 - 8:35 PM   
 By:   Ed Nassour   (Member)

Love this disc: two super little scores. I actually love both treatments, as different as they are. JW's has the bright-eyed energy of his "Sugarland"-era jazzy Americana; Legrand's has an infectious, sweet and almost minimalist charm. Is the movie worth watching?

No. I worked on that turkey. Not only is it not worth watching, but during location filming in Arizona, Sarah Miles' boyfriend was found dead in an Arizona motel room. It was ruled a suicide, but some felt he was murdered after he beat up Sarah Miles because he thought she was having an affair with co-star Burt Reynolds. It ended up tainting the entire production.

At the time the film was being made, MGM was being run by Jim "smiling cobra' Aubrey who I later learned from someone who worked for him was hired specifically to destroy MGM. If that's true he did an excellent job.

The whole time I worked there which was from 1968 to 1973 I could see how one MGM feature after another was tampered with with by Aubrey. There wasn't a director working there at the time who had anything nice to say about him. Sam Peckinpah threatened to kill him.

The original score for "Cat Dancing" was composed by Michel Legrand, but was dumped. I never got to hear any of it to be able to comment on it. I heard two stories. One was he recorded samples in Paris an then shipped them to the studio. The other story was he recorded the entire score there using a dupe of the work print that was shipped to him.

What Williams composed is the one bright spots of the entire movie. I believe back then Williams was writing his best scores. I love "The Reivers." Williams was more inventive back then. Then after "Star Wars" he seemed to get stuck in a rut while Jerry Goldsmith continued to compose very compelling score that varied so much in style from film to film that he was called a 'chameleon composer' by some in the business.

 
 Posted:   Aug 9, 2010 - 8:53 PM   
 By:   dogplant   (Member)

Thanks for the insight, Ed. Pretty interesting.

Incidentally, if you've not heard Legrand's score, you can check out the samples of that and JW's sweet music here:

http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/cds/detail.cfm/CDID/223/

 
 Posted:   Aug 9, 2010 - 9:10 PM   
 By:   Zoragoth   (Member)

The movie's a turkey? Say it ain't so! I recently picked it up on sale from the Warner Archive print on demand service but haven't watched it yet ...

 
 Posted:   Aug 9, 2010 - 9:27 PM   
 By:   Lukas Kendall   (Member)


Ed, from the best documentation we had, Legrand recorded his score in Culver City. Williams's recorded his only a week later -- the replacement was that rushed. We put this in the liner notes.

Lukas

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 9, 2010 - 9:51 PM   
 By:   Ed Nassour   (Member)

The movie's a turkey? Say it ain't so! I recently picked it up on sale from the Warner Archive print on demand service but haven't watched it yet ...

Well, compared to today's abysmal crud, it's a masterpiece!

All kidding aside, it's OK. I'm jaded because of my involvement.

I tried to watch it when Encore's Western Channel ran it. I couldn't look at more than a few minutes before switching it off.

I saw several movies made at MGM during Aubrey's reign as either being ruined by his tampering or bad to begin with because he purposely green-lighted bad scripts.

Just as Aubrey was hired by Kirk Kirkorian in 1969, Fred Zinnemann's project, "Man's Fate" was cancelled. Zinnemann had put a lot of effort into developing it. Aubrey shelved it just a week before it was to begin principle photography. The reason given was it was too costly. The real reason was the genuine possibility it would have been a successful film. Zinneman never did get it made, but he went on to direct "The Day of the Jackal" for Universal which was both a critical as well as financial hit.

One day we had to run "Cat Dancing" for Aubrey. The film's director Dick Sarafian was barred from the lot. Aubrey walked into the big theater on the MGM lot and right before we started he asked the film editor if he had tossed out one of the reels as ordered. That was a trick Aubrey came up with to ensure a movie would bomb. He'd randomly have a reel removed thus confusing the audience.

As I remember it, no reel was removed. He looked at the film and when it finished he smiled saying "ship the piece of s--- just as is" and left.

The one film Aubrey left alone was David Lean's "Ryan's Daughter." I also worked on that one. Lean was very powerful. No one fooled with him. But I suspect Aubrey having read the script realized the movie would bomb so he left it alone.

After we ran the 70mm answer print for Lean, he thanks all of us and left. Just as the door to the theater closed, one of the color timers said, "That's the worst pile of crap I've ever seen."

The film was a mess. It was miscast with both Sarah Miles and Robert Mitchum looking like they'd rather have been anywhere than working on that film. Trevor Howard spent most of the time in an Irish pub getting sloshed. But the film was gorgeous to look at. To this day I've never seen better photography using 65mm. It was so sharp and grain free that at times it appeared as if I was looking through a window at real life.

The score by Jarre was dreadful. Sometimes it sounded like circus music. But since the whole movie looked as is Bozo the Clown had made it, I guess it was appropriate.

One thing Lean and cinematographer Freddie Young came up with was using a 'clear screen' in front of the lens when filming the huge waves breaking on the Irish coastline. The clear screen had been developed to mount outside the windows on the bridge of a ship. A circular piece of glass rotated rapidly tossing off the sea spray.

Here it is being used by Lean mounted in front of the lens of the Super Panavision camera:

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 9, 2010 - 9:54 PM   
 By:   Ed Nassour   (Member)

Ed, from the best documentation we had, Legrand recorded his score in Culver City. Williams's recorded his only a week later -- the replacement was that rushed. We put this in the liner notes.

Lukas


Thanks. I had a feeling that's what happened.

It's amazing how Williams came up with such a good score in so little time. I guess for some composers, pressure seems not to diminish their creativity. I read that Miklos Rozsa had little time to compose his magnificent score for "Knights of the Round Table."

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 9, 2010 - 10:14 PM   
 By:   Ed Nassour   (Member)

Ed, from the best documentation we had, Legrand recorded his score in Culver City. Williams's recorded his only a week later -- the replacement was that rushed. We put this in the liner notes.

Lukas


Thanks. I had a feeling that's what happened.

It's amazing how Williams came up with such a good score in so little time. I guess for some composers, pressure seems not to diminish their creativity. I read that Miklos Rozsa had little time to compose his magnificent score for "Knights of the Round Table."


By the way, when I tried to play the sample of Legrand's main title, it wouldn't work. I tried playing it through several programs including iTunes.

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 9, 2010 - 11:31 PM   
 By:   TerraEpon   (Member)


By the way, when I tried to play the sample of Legrand's main title, it wouldn't work. I tried playing it through several programs including iTunes.


Click the number part, instead of the title, to get a normal Mp3 file.

To play the antiquated Real Media file (which for FSM titles lets you listen to more, but less tracks), you need a special player. I for one wouldn't recommend the official player, but instead to DL Meida Player Classic at http://mpc-hc.sourceforge.net/ and then the Real Alternative plugin at http://www.free-codecs.com/download/real_alternative.htm

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 10, 2010 - 3:56 AM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)


The whole time I worked there which was from 1968 to 1973 I could see how one MGM feature after another was tampered with with by Aubrey. There wasn't a director working there at the time who had anything nice to say about him. Sam Peckinpah threatened to kill him.


Blake Edwards had a particularly rough time with Aubrey, with both "The Wild Rovers" and "The Carey Treatment" being re-cut by Aubrey. "The Carey Treatment' also marked the feature film debut for Aubrey's actress daughter Skye Aubrey. I don't think she ever acted in another feature film.

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 10, 2010 - 4:13 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

Funny you should revive this now, as I just NOW got hold of a DVD copy of this film, after a LOOOONG search. It's on my back burner of things to watch.

I think the score is so-so; not my fav Williams. The Legrand ain't too good either, but I'm thankful for the FSM CD.

I'll get back with more comments (probably in a more film-related thread) once I've seen it.

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 10, 2010 - 4:28 AM   
 By:   CinemaScope   (Member)

Reading about Ryan's Daughter, reminds me that years ago in the film lab I was working in, we had an electrician who had been one of the electricians on the Ryan's Daughter unit, he said that the shoot went on forever, & his house was bought & paid for on the earnings of that one film. Those were the days!

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 10, 2010 - 8:52 AM   
 By:   Ed Nassour   (Member)


The whole time I worked there which was from 1968 to 1973 I could see how one MGM feature after another was tampered with with by Aubrey. There wasn't a director working there at the time who had anything nice to say about him. Sam Peckinpah threatened to kill him.


Blake Edwards had a particularly rough time with Aubrey, with both "The Wild Rovers" and "The Carey Treatment" being re-cut by Aubrey. "The Carey Treatment' also marked the feature film debut for Aubrey's actress daughter Skye Aubrey. I don't think she ever acted in another feature film.


With the exception of Lean, just about every director that worked there when Aubrey was president was eventually barred from the lot.

After a heated phone conversation with Aubrey, Sam Peckinpah became so enraged that he grabbed his desk phone ripping the cord from the wall and tossing it through the plate glass window of his second story office. It narrowly missed director Jim Goldstone who was walking below. Those were the days when office phones weighed a pound or more. As it was, Goldstone was showered with glass.

Blake Edwards decided to get back at Aubrey in the film "S.O.B." by having Robert Vaughn play a thinly disguised version of him. Remember the scene where Vaughn is in drag?

Director Leonard Horn was barred from the lot, but sneaked in one day when we were running an answer print of "Corky" that starred Robert Blake. He said "Please don't let Aubrey know I'm here or he'll have the studio guards escort me to the main gate." We welcomed him in. He then began to tell us of his dealing with Aubrey and all the interference he went through. When the film was over he thanked us and sneaked out.

It was sad watching the once great MGM sinking into the muck being controlled by people who had no desire to see it flourish as a studio. The whole lot was run down when I worked there. The scoring stage was dark and dusty. But it was still being used. I went on it when "Shaft" was being scored. I believe I wandered in one day when Goldsmith was conducting his score for "The Wild Rovers." If Jerry thought the Fox stage was a dump, I wonder what he thought about the old MGM stage.

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 24, 2011 - 9:59 AM   
 By:   GoblinScore   (Member)

Got this in the other day, nice Saturday morning listen - and both scores are very good,
subtle stuff. Kinda like The Missouri Breaks 1.0

I'm thinking if I played it through without looking it would be hard to distinguish
the Williams from the Legrand, both are somewhat similar. Must have been something personal
or unsaid for Legrand to get fired, his work is not as 'way out' as I thought it might be.
Guess it's a win-win, we ended up with two nice scores out of this productions headaches!
Hilarious that Rozsa was interviewed for this one, THAT would be something!

 
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