Film Score Monthly
FSM HOME MESSAGE BOARD FSM CDs FSM ONLINE RESOURCES FUN STUFF ABOUT US  SEARCH FSM   
Search Terms: 
Search Within:   search tips 
You must log in or register to post.
  Go to page:    
 
 Posted:   Dec 27, 2010 - 10:27 AM   
 By:   Morricone   (Member)

INVESTIGATION OF A CITIZEN ABOVE SUSPICION
Indagine su un cittadino al di sopra di ogni sospetto
Great Italian Ennio Morricone scores #1

This series is inspired by a controversy thread where someone posited the idea that besides THE MISSION and some Sergio Leone westerns Ennio Morricone hasn't written anything great. Rather than making my usual comment that most of Morricone's great scores are from Italy and trying to get Americans to listen to them is like getting them to see movies with subtitles, I decided to take another tact. Since I am at an age where I will only be able to make my case a finite number of times I decided to turn this into a series presenting each great score one at a time, sort of like recordman.

And I decided to begin with the score that sold me on Morricone. You see back in 1965 I saw the film A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS and hated both the film and the score. The film seemed like a bad Hammer film, taking an American genre and adding more blood on a low budget. Not what I expected from a remake of a classic Kurosawa film from a few years earlier YOJIMBO. And the score seemed totally anachronistic and out of whack with the film (years later I found there was a reason for this). Being a relatively new film score collector I made a note to avoid this Morricone character, I had bigger fish to fry.

Jump to 1970. INVESTIGATION OF A CITIZEN ABOVE SUSPICION wins the Oscar for best foreign film and I go to see it at a sold out show at the local Vagabond Theater. This movie blows me away, the closest thing to Kafka I have ever seen on screen. And the score! The music seems to propel the movie forward. Like all great film scores it is attached to an extraordinary film that could work without it, but with it it takes it over the top making it a bonafide classic. Who is this Morricone guy? I immediately backtrack to all that I'd missed and started an 11 year search for this score that, of all things, finally culminated with it coming out on an American label Cerberus.

And this was also an all-important movie for Morricone too. You see A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS made him king of b-movie scoring, working hard on tons of spaghetti westerns, giallos, horror movies, B-gangsters, exploitation sex films, etc. But INVESTIGATION put him on the A-movie map. And despite how Sergio Leone tells it, Stanley Kubrick hired Morricone to do CLOCKWORK ORANGE based on seeing this film. In fact Morricone is asked to repeat his INDAGINE score almost as often as he is requested to do the westerns. That is why in the following years after this you will hear many a Morricone score with a similar theme but slightly different, he is skilled enough not to bore us with too close a match. Appropriately when the Academy gave him his life achievement Oscar they included this theme prominently amongst a montage of his best work.

To be fair to soundtrack fans this may be something like PSYCHO as not a totally pleasant listening experience. Given the paranoid nature of the story there are only a couple of themes in it. But like all great scores it is a perfect marriage of film and music. Most composers would have gone with the absurdist nature of the piece creating some circusy calliope music. But Morricone takes his cue from Gian Maria Volonte's great central performance, full of driving energy while keeping the music going in circles underlining the Kafkaesque qualities. And, like Kafka, the paranoia is based on absurdities in a political context. It is all of a piece.

As an aside I found in my coffeetable book on Morricone a telling anecdote. It seems when director Elio Petri approached Ennio with this film he explained that he never works with the same composer twice. So this would be a one time collaboration. Morricone agreed. After the film comes out it wins an Oscar and becomes an international success and Petri doesn't make another move for the rest of his career without Ennio at his side.



Here is how the film opens and the music sets the tone right off the bat:






#2 http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=74838&forumID=1&archive=0
#3 http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=74871&forumID=1&archive=0
#4 http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=74899&forumID=1&archive=0
#5 http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=74951&forumID=1&archive=0
#6 http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=74968&forumID=1&archive=0
#7 http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=75041&forumID=1&archive=0
#8 http://filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=75065&forumID=1&archive=0
#10 http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=75103&forumID=1&archive=0
#11 http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=75147&forumID=1&archive=0
#12 http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=75194&forumID=1&archive=0
#13 http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=75252&forumID=1&archive=0
#14 http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=75297&forumID=1&archive=0
#15 http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=75307&forumID=1&archive=0
#16 http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=75364&forumID=1&archive=0
#17 http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=75414&forumID=1&archive=0
#18 http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=75471&forumID=1&archive=0
#19 http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=75532&forumID=1&archive=0
#20 http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=75566&forumID=1&archive=0
#21 http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=75610&forumID=1&archive=0
#22 http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=75677&forumID=1&archive=0
#23 http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=75731&forumID=1&archive=0
#24 http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=75763&forumID=1&archive=0
#25 http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=75850&forumID=1&archive=0
#26 http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=75921&forumID=1&archive=0
#27 http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=75927&forumID=1&archive=0
#28 http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=76000&forumID=1&archive=0
#29 http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=76022&forumID=1&archive=0
#30 http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=76084&forumID=1&archive=0
#31 http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=76117&forumID=1&archive=0
#32 http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=76211&forumID=1&archive=0
#33 http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=76288&forumID=1&archive=0
#34 http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=76422&forumID=1&archive=0
#35 http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=76481&forumID=1&archive=0
#36 http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=76545&forumID=1&archive=0
#37 http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=76624&forumID=1&archive=0
#38 http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=76740&forumID=1&archive=0

 
 Posted:   Dec 27, 2010 - 11:22 AM   
 By:   Peter Greenhill   (Member)

Great post Henry. A post that makes it worth staying on this board, intelligent, detailed and interesting. Have never seen this film but do have the score. He usually includes the main theme in his concert programme.

Must get hold of the DVD.

 
 Posted:   Dec 27, 2010 - 1:09 PM   
 By:   wayoutwest   (Member)



Just picked up the score to Investigation of a Citizen earlier in the year,have to confess that I have never really been taken by that one yet,but sure it is just a matter of time before I do have not listened to it much.
Never thought that much of a number of scores in my collection by Morricone even went of his music and never listened to any for over a year.Within this last 18 months or so have found myself getting totally immersed in a number of his scores that I never really cared for before.

There is so many sides to Morricone many I have explored and loved and others I'm still getting into as my taste slowly evolves, used to hate his Giallo scores but now find I love listening to them.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 27, 2010 - 3:25 PM   
 By:   Rozsaphile   (Member)

Good luck in your worthwhile project. I am one of the many who have never quite "got" Morricone and who hasn't seen enough of his films to form valid judgments.

You say this music sets the tone. I sensed (chiefly from the odd instrumentation) that the tone was somewhat goofy, even cartoonish. I was expecting the scene to build to some sort of gag -- or perhaps a bit of horror (which is really a kind of gag). But perhaps I still don't get it. Tone can be a personal thing, and we are all conditioned by our previous listening and moviegoing experiences.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 27, 2010 - 4:52 PM   
 By:   Morricone   (Member)

Good luck in your worthwhile project. I am one of the many who have never quite "got" Morricone and who hasn't seen enough of his films to form valid judgments.

You say this music sets the tone. I sensed (chiefly from the odd instrumentation) that the tone was somewhat goofy, even cartoonish. I was expecting the scene to build to some sort of gag -- or perhaps a bit of horror (which is really a kind of gag). But perhaps I still don't get it. Tone can be a personal thing, and we are all conditioned by our previous listening and moviegoing experiences.


Well yes you got that right. It does end with a bit of horror but youtube only had this much of the scene. The idea being the more outrageous this "citizen above suspicion" behaves and others are blamed the more ideas of justice, public trust and moral turpitude become jokes. Since you are a Rozsaphile I'll use the example of PROVIDENCE where the music seems oddly melodramatic. Something doesn't seem quite right until you get to the end and find out how to interpret the whole story and whose tragedy this really is. Great music works on a number of different levels.

 
 Posted:   Dec 27, 2010 - 5:35 PM   
 By:   On the Score   (Member)

Keep me posted when this screens in LA again, as I don't think the film is on DVD. Have wanted to see this for a while!

 
 Posted:   Dec 27, 2010 - 6:10 PM   
 By:   ToneRow   (Member)

INVESTIGATION OF A CITIZEN ABOVE SUSPICION
Indagine su un cittadino al di sopra di ogni sospetto
Great Italian Ennio Morricone scores #1
As an aside I found in my coffeetable book on Morricone a telling anecdote. It seems when director Elio Petri approached Ennio with this film he explained that he never works with the same composer twice. So this would be a one time collaboration. Morricone agreed. After the film comes out it wins an Oscar and becomes an international success and Petri doesn't make another move for the rest of his career without Ennio at his side.


Thanks much for initiating an ongoing [with hope, it'll be ongoing] series highlighting Morricone soundtracks from non-English language cinema.

It will probably be a tall order to attract members who are on the fence regarding Morricone's scores and try to persuade them to investigate his works from films that do not have high profiles in English-speaking countries. The heading of this thread, for instance, might not pique the curiosity of soundtrack collectors unfamiliar with most of Morricone's oeuvre ; only those who ALREADY know that Morricone scored INVESTIGATION OF A CITIZEN ABOVE SUSPICION will likely chime in with their comments.
Ironically, your article will probably be read by persons already aware of the merits of Morricone's scores - and the audience you wish to "convince" may avoid this thread due to their unfamiliarity with its content.

I recall reading somewhere that Morricone's score for this Elio Petri film is regarded as a prime example of classicism (stating that Morricone pattern this score on musical principles hailing from the Classical era). I consider this to be an above-average Morricone score, but it's not one of my personal favorites. Still, I imagine that, since this picture won an Oscar, you start off your series of articles with its soundtrack as a foundation of sorts.

May I recommend future titles? - such as Morricone's music for films directed by Giuseppe Patroni Griffi (METTI, UNA SERA A CENA and/or ADDIO, FRATELLO CRUDELE), or Marco Bellocchio's I PUGNI IN TASCA? (these are just a few of what I think are Morricone's finest efforts)

I'm intrigued by that coffeetable book's anecdote, though, because in 1968 Ennio Morricone scored Elio Petri's UN TRANQUILLO POSTO DI CAMPAGNA (A QUIET PLACE IN THE COUNTRY), so his collaboration with Petri did not begin with INVESTIGATION OF A CITIZEN ABOVE SUSPICION... which came about 2 years later ... confused ...

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 27, 2010 - 6:26 PM   
 By:   Preston Neal Jones   (Member)

And, BTW, when and how did you revise your feelings about FISTFUL -- or did you? And just what WAS the reason for the anachronistic sound?

(I don't know exactly how limited your time is, as you referenced above, but you've begun a wonderful project and as far as I'm concerned yoiu can keep on telling us bedtime stories like Scheherezade forever...)

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 27, 2010 - 7:20 PM   
 By:   joan hue   (Member)

I second your request, Preston. I too wonder if Morricone learned to like the score for A Fistful of Dollars. I remember watching it in a theater in 1965 and being shocked by its score AND loving it because is was thematic yet so different from anything I'd ever heard.

Also, you said you found that score anachronistic, "But years later I found the reason for this." Hope you'll share that reason. Dying to know.

Haven't seen Investigation Of A Citizen, but I hope to someday.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 27, 2010 - 9:28 PM   
 By:   Morricone   (Member)



Thanks much for initiating an ongoing [with hope, it'll be ongoing] series highlighting Morricone soundtracks from non-English language cinema.

It will probably be a tall order to attract members who are on the fence regarding Morricone's scores and try to persuade them to investigate his works from films that do not have high profiles in English-speaking countries. The heading of this thread, for instance, might not pique the curiosity of soundtrack collectors unfamiliar with most of Morricone's oeuvre ; only those who ALREADY know that Morricone scored INVESTIGATION OF A CITIZEN ABOVE SUSPICION will likely chime in with their comments.
Ironically, your article will probably be read by persons already aware of the merits of Morricone's scores - and the audience you wish to "convince" may avoid this thread due to their unfamiliarity with its content.

I recall reading somewhere that Morricone's score for this Elio Petri film is regarded as a prime example of classicism (stating that Morricone pattern this score on musical principles hailing from the Classical era). I consider this to be an above-average Morricone score, but it's not one of my personal favorites. Still, I imagine that, since this picture won an Oscar, you start off your series of articles with its soundtrack as a foundation of sorts.

May I recommend future titles? - such as Morricone's music for films directed by Giuseppe Patroni Griffi (METTI, UNA SERA A CENA and/or ADDIO, FRATELLO CRUDELE), or Marco Bellocchio's I PUGNI IN TASCA? (these are just a few of what I think are Morricone's finest efforts)

I'm intrigued by that coffeetable book's anecdote, though, because in 1968 Ennio Morricone scored Elio Petri's UN TRANQUILLO POSTO DI CAMPAGNA (A QUIET PLACE IN THE COUNTRY), so his collaboration with Petri did not begin with INVESTIGATION OF A CITIZEN ABOVE SUSPICION... which came about 2 years later ... confused ...


Indeed I had to look into this interview again. They are discussing INVESTIGATION but then he says "when I first worked with Elio he said he never worked with the same composer twice". I assumed he was talking about INVESTIGATION but obviously he was referring to A QUIET PLACE IN THE COUNTRY. The rest fits Petri's IMDB listing. He hadn't worked with any composer twice before Morricone. Thanks for the correction and the suggestions.

 
 Posted:   Dec 27, 2010 - 9:42 PM   
 By:   Advise & Consent   (Member)

In 2006, the CBC ran a documentary called:The Power of Nightmares. The show was tracked with various music to great effect.

Among the titles there was: Paul Sawtell (Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea), John Carpenter (Prince of Darkness), Brian Eno (Another Green World - "In Dark Trees") and most importantly Ennio Morricone : Le Trio Infernal, Ogro (very effective) and A Citizen Above Suspicion. The Morricone cues were the most effective in nailing the conspiracy and paranoia elements of the subject matter.

The music may sometime seem quirky I admit, but at the same time it fits the films to a tee. Somehow, the films would be incomplete without Morricone's deft touch.

Cheers!

P.S . Ogro was used as the trailer music for Bugsy. Very, very effective. Almost makes you want to see the film.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 27, 2010 - 9:56 PM   
 By:   Morricone   (Member)

And, BTW, when and how did you revise your feelings about FISTFUL -- or did you? And just what WAS the reason for the anachronistic sound?


Morricone saw the film and proceeded to write a traditional score along the lines of his first western GUNFIGHT AT RED SANDS. But Leone said he heard this arrangement Morricone did of a Woody Guthrie song "Pastures of Plenty" and wanted that instead. Now just listen to it:



That is literally an arrangement meant for a Woody Guthrie song that is used to score a western (right down to the male vocal changed "with the wind" to "we can fight"). So Morricone wrote the rest of the score and with his skills moded the style that Leone insisted upon onto the follow-up films. I'll stick to my guns that in the first film it is the most jarring. But, I, like the rest of the world, got used to it. By the time you got to THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY both Leone and Morriccone fine-tuned their styles to perfection. But even though Morricone wrote and developed the spaghetti western style we all know, it was Leone who came up with the idea first.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 27, 2010 - 10:50 PM   
 By:   joan hue   (Member)

Wow, what an interesting video. I sure do hear amazing similarities. Thanks for all this great information.

 
 Posted:   Dec 27, 2010 - 11:00 PM   
 By:   ToneRow   (Member)

Indeed I had to look into this interview again. They are discussing INVESTIGATION but then he says "when I first worked with Elio he said he never worked with the same composer twice". I assumed he was talking about INVESTIGATION but obviously he was referring to A QUIET PLACE IN THE COUNTRY. The rest fits Petri's IMDB listing. He hadn't worked with any composer twice before Morricone.

Hhmmm... this makes me wonder if Elio Petri had a hazy memory, or if he was misquoted, or dismissive of his earlier films:

Elio Petri twice worked with the same composer two times (4 separate productions) before collaborating with Morricone in 1968:

Petri with Piero Piccioni:

  • L'ASSASSINO (1961)
  • THE TENTH VICTIM (1965)

    Petri with Ivan Vandor:

  • I GIORNI CONTATI (1963)
  • NUDI PER VIVERE (1964 documentary)

    Appears to me that there are only 3 times Petri utilized a composer only once: Nino Rota in 1963, Armando Trovajoli in 1964, and Luis Bacalov for WE STILL KILL THE OLD WAY in 1967.

    Curious, isn't it? wink

  •  
     
     Posted:   Dec 27, 2010 - 11:30 PM   
     By:   Morricone   (Member)

    Well it isn't Petri talking. So Morricone has the problem and so do I. I was obviously looking at Elio's writing credits when I checked past composers. I didn't notice those came up first. I also ignored the documentary. With all this slop on my first listing perhaps I am too old to do this stuff. Perhaps some younger guy should try.

     
     Posted:   Dec 28, 2010 - 3:23 AM   
     By:   ToneRow   (Member)

    Well it isn't Petri talking. So Morricone has the problem and so do I. I was obviously looking at Elio's writing credits when I checked past composers. I didn't notice those came up first. I also ignored the documentary. With all this slop on my first listing perhaps I am too old to do this stuff. Perhaps some younger guy should try.

    You're writing just fine regarding your appreciation of Morricone, Morricone!
    Speaking for myself, I'd tend to be leary of refering to anecdotes! big grin

    The only reason I'm a little more aware of Petri's filmography is because Piero Piccioni is my favorite Italian film composer. I own THE TENTH MAN on Mainstream LP, EasyTempo CD, and Anchor Bay DVD. I have been aware of the existence of Petri's 1961 L'ASSASSINO for years (thanks to the Faber book on foreign films), but I've never been able to find this on home video anywhere ... plus ... I'm probably one of the few members on this message board who would notice these details (though I'm not in anyway an expert on international titles as - say - a John Bender is).

    So ... go ahead; continue plugging away on your Morricone favorites. Composers such as Ennio Morricone and Maurice Jarre and many others need someone to champion their lesser-known (i.e. non-English) works. Notice that posters/writers (like a Mark Ford or a Thomas Rucki) can go in depth on American film scores, yet hardly ever mention films and soundtracks from other countries...so we're needed (just like Emma Peel). smile

     
     Posted:   Dec 28, 2010 - 6:44 AM   
     By:   Loren   (Member)

    The last "de-luxe" INDAGINE digipack release is very good.
    Though it unfolds its marvels only in the bonus STEREO tracks (tracks 19-25).
    Some grammar mistake is in the Cinevox habit but we can tolerate it ("insabiata" what?).
    I am not sure this is best Morricone's music, but surely it is revolutionary work.

     
     
     Posted:   Dec 28, 2010 - 9:49 AM   
     By:   Preston Neal Jones   (Member)

    Joan and I, among others, are still awaiting your further explanation(s) on FISTFUL with bated breath. (Or is it hated death?)

     
     
     Posted:   Dec 28, 2010 - 10:37 AM   
     By:   Morricone   (Member)

    Joan and I, among others, are still awaiting your further explanation(s) on FISTFUL with bated breath. (Or is it hated death?)

    Joan liked the one I gave above. You're hard to please. wink

     
     
     Posted:   Dec 28, 2010 - 12:30 PM   
     By:   Morricone   (Member)

    Well it isn't Petri talking. So Morricone has the problem and so do I. I was obviously looking at Elio's writing credits when I checked past composers. I didn't notice those came up first. I also ignored the documentary. With all this slop on my first listing perhaps I am too old to do this stuff. Perhaps some younger guy should try.

    You're writing just fine regarding your appreciation of Morricone, Morricone!
    Speaking for myself, I'd tend to be leary of refering to anecdotes! big grin



    Thanks. The truth is practically all my knowledge is based on anecdotes and I am getting old and my memory is getting fuzzy. After 2 days searching for my coffeetable book (too embarassed to say it) I found the exact quote:

    Page 106 The director told me straightaway that he only intended to work with me that once, as was his general habit with composers. However I am proud to say that I made a total of seven feature films with him.

    The gist is the same but not exactly. I also got an e-mail saying I couldn't have seen INVESTIGATION at the Vagabond since it played at another theater. After thinking about it I explained I saw it at a one week qualifying run at the Vagabond. Which is true but it made it impossible for me to have seen it after it won it's Oscar as I seem to have worded above. I got the generalities right but the details are wrong. This is the internet. I will be called on it. And as you see in other threads some would call them lies.
    What the hell! I'll keep going until I'm too drained. Then maybe I'll go the way of the other oldsters Kraft and Kimmel.

     
    You must log in or register to post.
      Go to page:    
    © 2014 Film Score Monthly. All Rights Reserved.