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 Posted:   Mar 8, 2016 - 12:23 PM   
 By:   Morricone   (Member)

O.K. CONNERY (OPERATION KID BROTHER)

Cheesy Morricone
#61

This series is inspired by a controversial 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 special score one at a time, sort of like recordman.

Cheesy? As in gory giallo films? No. As in campy films like DANGER : DIABOLIK? Close but no. Cheesy as in writer-director Alberto De Martino (who made a career of making rip-offs of whatever film was currently popular) getting Sean Connery’s younger brother Neil to play a “00” agent and , eschewing any story connection, naming the film after the point of exploitation OK CONNERY. This was unheard of at the time except in lowgrade B-films like BELA LUGOSI MEETS A BROOKLYN GORILLA or with some comedy teams. To be fair this might have been a last minute decision to avoid lawsuits over the fact this film came dangerously close to James Bond copyright territory. Alberto populated the film with Bond cast members Bernard Lee (“M”), Lois Maxwell (Miss Monypenny), Anthony Dawson (the unseen Blofeld), Daniele Bianchi (Tatiana) and Adolpho Celli (Thunderball) playing similar roles. The US distributor changed the name but maintained the ploy with OPERATION KID BROTHER and only it’s final incarnation as OPERATION DOUBLE 007 gets close to what the film is about.

The De Martino films also had the only continuing collaboration between Ennio Morricone and Bruno Nicolai as co-composers so, to the benefit of neither, it is hard to tell who wrote what. Indeed whoever wrote the first “Connery” cue gets the cheesiness prize, it sounds like someone said “give me the James Bond theme but change it just enough so we don’t get sued”. Still, we can make educated guesses to a couple of Ennio’s contributions. First and foremost Morricone did write the theme song because Nicolai’s name is nowhere to be seen on the single or any other release. It is definitely 60s and tongue-in-cheek (which is what the real Bond films started to become) but is catchy and content-wise a predecessor of THE SPY WHO LOVED ME’S “Nobody does It Better”. It is used in the film quite a lot instrumentally and vocally. Warning, Morricone used Christy (the singer of “Run Man Run” from THE BIG GUNDOWN) who was a practitioner of what I call “extreme singing”. Some call it screaming but because she maintains pitch and control I deem it pushing the envelope:



Also “Varco Nel Muro” is the type of chaotic horn work Nicolai never did on his own and based on all the rock songs Ennio did at the time and contrasting with Nicolai’s I’d say “Allegri Ragazzi” was his. Otherwise among the pretty pieces Ennio “might” have scored there is “Primo Amore” and “Fiorri Gialli”. And amongst the dynamic action cues there are “Connery:Congiura”,” Turbinosamente” and “”La Preda”. The whole score has a jazzy big band feel, which is a good thing.

Cheesy is in the ear of the beholder. All composers tend to do the best they can with what they have to work with. But if I had to pick a Morricone score he seemed to work at the least and is the film and 1) the robots all sang their satiric lyrics to the title song 2) Joel was uncontrollably grooving to that melody in his chair and 3) when Morricone’s credit came up Crow uttered “Oh, most imitative…


Finally a cheesiness badge of honor was achieved when Mystery Science Theater 3000 took on this film and 1) the robots all sang their satiric lyrics to the title song 2) Joel was uncontrollably grooving to that melody in his chair and 3) when Morricone’s credit came up Crow uttered “Oh, Ennio?” the joke of which hit me as “what a surprise someone of real talent is listed here”. Anyone who walks away from this series unscathed gets a boatload of special Brownie points.






#1: INDAGINE SU UN CITTADINO AL DI SOPRA DI OGNI SOSPETTO (1969)
http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=74811&forumID=1&archive=0

#2: LA CALIFFA (1970)
http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=74838&forumID=1&archive=0

#3: REVOLVER (1973)
http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=74871&forumID=1&archive=0

#4: CANONE INVERSO (2000)
http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=74899&forumID=1&archive=0

#5: IL MERCENARIO (1968)
http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=74951&forumID=1&archive=0

#6: LA CAGE AUX FOLLES (1978)
http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=74968&forumID=1&archive=0

#7: IL MAESTRO E MARGHERITA (1972)
http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=75041&forumID=1&archive=0

#8: CACCIATORI DI NAVI (1990)
http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=75065&forumID=1&archive=0

#9: QUEIMADA (1969)
http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=75088&forumID=1&archive=0

#10: SOSTIENE PEREIRA (1995)
http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=75103&forumID=1&archive=0

#11: METELLO (1969)
http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=75147&forumID=1&archive=0

#12: DEDICATO AL MARE EGEO (1979)
http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=75194&forumID=1&archive=0

#13: HORNETS' NEST (1970)
http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=75252&forumID=1&archive=0

#14: LES DEUX SAISONS DE LA VIE (1972)
http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=75297&forumID=1&archive=0

#15: DIABOLIK (1967)
http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=75307&forumID=1&archive=0

#16: NUOVO CINEMA PARADISO (1988)
http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=75364&forumID=1&archive=0

#17: ...E PER TETTO UN CIELO DI STELLE (1968)
http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=75414&forumID=1&archive=0

#18: ANCHE SE VOLESSI LAVORARE, CHE FACCIO? (1972)
http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=75471&forumID=1&archive=0

#19: MARCO POLO (1982)
http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=75532&forumID=1&archive=0

#20: MADDALENA (1971)
http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=75566&forumID=1&archive=0

#21: ATTENTI AL BUFFONE (1975)
http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=75610&forumID=1&archive=0

#22: LE CLAN DES SICILIENS (1969)
http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=75677&forumID=1&archive=0

#23: STANNO TUTTI BENE (1990)
http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=75731&forumID=1&archive=0

#24: GLI INTOCCABILI (1969)
http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=75763&forumID=1&archive=0

#25: ALLONSANFAN (1974)
http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=75850&forumID=1&archive=0

#26: UN ESERCITO DI CINQUE UOMINI (1969)
http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=75921&forumID=1&archive=0

#27: ADDIO FRATELLO CRUDELE (1971)
http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=75927&forumID=1&archive=0

#28: IL BANDITO DAGLI OCCHI AZZURRI (1980)
http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=76000&forumID=1&archive=0

#29: UNA BREVE STAGIONE (1969)
http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=76022&forumID=1&archive=0

#30: DIMENTICARE PALERMO (1990)
http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=76084&forumID=1&archive=0

#31: OCEANO (1971)
http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=76117&forumID=1&archive=0

#32: NOVECENTO (1976)
http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=76211&forumID=1&archive=0

#33: LA STAGIONE DEI SENSI (1969)
http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=76288&forumID=1&archive=0

#34: L'AVVENTURIERO (1967)
http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=76422&forumID=1&archive=0

#35: LA COSA BUFFA (1972)
http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=76481&forumID=1&archive=0

#36: UCCELLACCI E UCCELLINI (1966)
http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=76545&forumID=1&archive=0

#37: MUSASHI (2002)
http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=76624&forumID=1&archive=0

#38: L'ASSOLUTO NATURALE (1969)
http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=76740&forumID=1&archive=0

#39: INCONTRO (1971)
http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=76801&forumID=1&archive=0

#40: LA RESA DEI CONTI (1967)
http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=76923&forumID=1&archive=0

#41: L'UCCELLO DALLE PIUME DI CRISTALLO (1969)
http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=77020&forumID=1&archive=0

#42: LA DONNA INVISIBILE (1969)
http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=77140&forumID=1&archive=0

#43: EL GRECO (1964)
http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=77199&forumID=1&archive=0

#44: I PUGNI IN TASCA (1965)
http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=77318&forumID=1&archive=0

#45: LE MARGINAL (1983)
http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=77371&forumID=1&archive=0

#46: MOSÈ (1974)
http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=77460&forumID=1&archive=0

#47: BLUEBEARD (1972)
http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=77589&forumID=1&archive=0

#48: I PROMESSI SPOSI (1989)
http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=77659&forumID=1&archive=0

#49: L'UMANOIDE (1979)
http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=77761&forumID=1&archive=0

#50 IL PRATO (1979)
http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=77778&forumID=1&archive=0

#51 THIEVES AFTER DARK (1985)
http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=81675&forumID=1&archive=0

#52 BANDITS IN ROME (1968)
http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=97451&forumID=1&archive=0

#53 GINO BARTALI L'INTRAMONTAB
http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=101927&forumID=1&archive=0

#54 THE RED TENT (1969)
http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=101953&forumID=1&archive=0

#55 MALAMONDO (1962)
http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=101989&forumID=1&archive=0

#56 IL GRANDE SILENZIO (1968)
http://filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=112714&forumID=1&archive=0

#57 METTI UNA SERA A CENA (1969)
http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=112751&forumID=1&archive=0

#58 FORZA ITALIA (1978)
http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=113968&forumID=1&archive=0

#59 LA DISUBBIDIENZA (1981)
http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=114017&forumID=1&archive=0

#60 CHRONICLE OF A HOMICIDE (1972)
http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=114134&forumID=1&archive=0

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 8, 2016 - 7:20 PM   
 By:   SilverSounds   (Member)

61 posts into your fantastic series and the diversity continues. I know that some prefer to have their favorite composers stay within certain boundaries. The Maestro obviously prefers the opposite approach and always seems to be searching for new directions to explore . Other scores from 1967 include: L'Avventuriero, Faccia A Faccia, Dalle Ardenne All'Inferno and Il Giardino Delle Delizie (there were of course others too!) but these are sufficient to show the diversity within one year. The cheesy ingredient was missing, but you have now added it and we thank you for that!

 
 Posted:   Mar 8, 2016 - 7:38 PM   
 By:   Saul Pincus   (Member)

So happy to see you back at writing these. Thank you, and keep 'em coming as you can.

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 8, 2016 - 8:29 PM   
 By:   OnyaBirri   (Member)


Cheesy is in the ear of the beholder.


You're right, and I wouldn't trade side one of OK Connery for "The Mission," "Days of Heaven," or Morricone's entire post-1980 output, for that matter.

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 8, 2016 - 9:31 PM   
 By:   woelfeljb   (Member)

Doesn't a cheesy film call for cheesy music? Italian comedies are about as broad and cheesy as any ever made. Some are funny. if you get with them, others are painfully painful. Morricone worked with the same director on other occasions and did serious music for those serious films.

Some of this discussion strikes me is like saying that Patton is a better score then Gremlins, as if both films called for the same type of music and Goldsmith somehow just blew it with Gremlins.

I prefer any composer's non cheesy music so I wouldn't rate this high in either on an artistic scale, but if you like cheese....Italy has got it and saying this score is cheesy is appropriate.

As the real Connery said in his Oscar winning performance, scored by Morricone. "You don't bring a knife to a gun fight."

 
 Posted:   Mar 9, 2016 - 12:28 AM   
 By:   BillCarson   (Member)

Keep em coming henry. You might want to check the last two pars of your text mate.

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 9, 2016 - 3:11 AM   
 By:   Gorbadoc   (Member)

While this is of course not Morricone's best score by any means, I really like the catchy title song and I don't think it sounds like a Bond rip-off at all.

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 9, 2016 - 6:05 AM   
 By:   Tall Guy   (Member)

Yep - great performance by Christie of a minor song in EM's portfolio.

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 10, 2016 - 1:21 PM   
 By:   Morricone   (Member)

Doesn't a cheesy film call for cheesy music? Italian comedies are about as broad and cheesy as any ever made. Some are funny. if you get with them, others are painfully painful. Morricone worked with the same director on other occasions and did serious music for those serious films.

Some of this discussion strikes me is like saying that Patton is a better score then Gremlins, as if both films called for the same type of music and Goldsmith somehow just blew it with Gremlins.

I prefer any composer's non cheesy music so I wouldn't rate this high in either on an artistic scale, but if you like cheese....Italy has got it and saying this score is cheesy is appropriate.

As the real Connery said in his Oscar winning performance, scored by Morricone. "You don't bring a knife to a gun fight."


Indeed that dichotomy, how do you reconcile great music (what this series was started on) and cheesiness? First I looked up the second definition of the word.

chees·y
adjective
2. informal
cheap, unpleasant, or blatantly inauthentic.
"a big cheesy grin".

Well the first part – cheap- is automatically taken care of, I don't think anyone was paid a lot of money for this score.

The last-inauthentic -from the assignment itself, a James Bond rip-off film if there ever was one. BTW my gut tells me Nicolai wrote that first “Connery” cue that sounds like a slowed down James Bond theme. Only because it was Morricone, and his name, who got these assignments and he probably could call the shots. Reworking someone else’s theme wouldn’t inspire him and he knew Nicolai had the skills to walk that fine line without pushing it into copyright infringement.

It is only the middle one that doesn’t fit because even when he puts something unpleasant in his music he wants you to hear it and it is for a purpose (like that grating little riff in the middle of THE HATEFUL 8. This brings us to what I deem the greatness in this stuff. A composer as marvelously talented as Lalo Schifrin on THE LIQUIDATOR is coming from “how do I imitate Bond and still retain my voice?” I get a sense when Morricone gets an assignment like this, or doing arrangements for Italian rock stars, he sits down at his table (not at a piano or with any other instrument) and with his encyclopedic knowledge of music asks himself what is it about this style of music that makes me interested or excited? This is how he imitates no one ever. BTW my classical knowledge is limited but I am told he does the same with some of his greatest influences. Whether it is Bach, Palestrina or Verdi he tends to get the gist of the style and seldom quotes.

So that is why if you do play that OK CONNERY title song, unless you are totally allergic to that type of music, you can’t help getting into it’s groove. And, in a nutshell, that is how I got to “great chessiness”. And I am standing by it. ;-)

 
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