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 Posted:   Feb 20, 2021 - 8:19 AM   
 By:   OnyaBirri   (Member)

Ms. Birri and I re-watched this amazing films last night, fir the first time in maybe 20 years. I believe this was the first major film that Q scored.

I have long had the LP and CD, and am very familiar with the music on the album.

Listening to the music in the film, it is clear that Q took a very different approach for the album, and that it was not simply a case of re-recording the music. While I did recognize some passages that were similar between the film and the LP, there was lots of music in the film not on the LP, and vice versa. In other cases, it sounded like passages were re-orchestrated for the LP, but that perception may be in part due to different miking techniques between the film and LP.

I'm wondering if the the film music tracks still exist, and if so, would there be any possibility of an expansion. I would think there would be at least some audience for this, given the film's reputation and Q's involvement.

What are your thoughts?

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 20, 2021 - 11:39 AM   
 By:   Graham Watt   (Member)

I'll make that my next mission, to watch the film tomorrow. There's nice-looking copy up on Da Toob - certainly looks great on my big telly when I'm reclining on the bed.

As regards Q's music, I was pretty sure I bought the LP at 58 Dean Street in London in about '79, but I don't recognise the track titles or the presence of a dialogue track - info provided by SoundtrackCollector. My brother would be the custodian now. I've asked him if he can check for me. The film is rolling as I write this. We're up to the titles now. Both the title music and the beautiful pre-credits sequence are familiar but not exactly burned into my memory. I'll get back to you on this.

I just caught up with PRESSURE POINT, which coincidentally (it was a spontaneous viewing choice) had some points in common with THE INTRUDER, which I rabbited about here recently. So I have to prepare my PRESSURE POINT rabbit first.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 20, 2021 - 11:44 AM   
 By:   OnyaBirri   (Member)

I'll make that my next mission, to watch the film tomorrow. There's nice-looking copy up on Da Toob - certainly looks great on my big telly when I'm reclining on the bed.

As regards Q's music, I was pretty sure I bought the LP at 58 Dean Street in London in about '79, but I don't recognise the track titles or the presence of a dialogue track - info provided by SoundtrackCollector. My brother would be the custodian now. I've asked him if he can check for me. The film is rolling as I write this. We're up to the titles now. Both the title music and the beautiful pre-credits sequence are familiar but not exactly burned into my memory. I'll get back to you on this.


Thanks Graham. Have you seen the film previously?

 
 Posted:   Feb 20, 2021 - 11:45 AM   
 By:   Justin Boggan   (Member)

I have nothing more to add than a list of three composers the director asked to score the film:
http://rejectedfilmscores.125mb.com/supposedly.html

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 20, 2021 - 11:50 AM   
 By:   OnyaBirri   (Member)

I have nothing more to add than a list of three composers the director asked to score the film:
http://rejectedfilmscores.125mb.com/supposedly.html


Thank you. I thought Henry Mancini was instrumental in getting Jones the gig.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 20, 2021 - 11:57 AM   
 By:   Graham Watt   (Member)

Interesting info there about Gil Evans and John Lewis, Justin. Had no idea about that.

Onya, I have seen the film, but it was decades ago. I recall it as being great, but I only watched it because Ivan Butler had classed it as a horror film in one of his books on the genre, and I was even more of a horror geek then than I am now. I think the "hand on the spike" scene was the bit I was waiting for, but I've matured a little since then.

 
 Posted:   Feb 20, 2021 - 11:57 AM   
 By:   Thomas   (Member)

Never seen the film, but as I mentioned to Onya on the Cheers Zoom I've always loved Andy Williams' version of the song...

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 20, 2021 - 12:02 PM   
 By:   OnyaBirri   (Member)

Never seen the film, but as I mentioned to Onya on the Cheers Zoom I've always loved Andy Williams' version of the song...



Yes, this is incredible. I think that is the definitive reading of that song, worthy of Scott Walker. Tony Bennett's version is good also.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 20, 2021 - 12:10 PM   
 By:   villagardens553   (Member)

Mancini was instrumental in getting Quincy hired for Mirage, not The Pawnbroker. Lumet's movie was a New York film, but Mirage was Hollywood film written by Peter Stone ("Charade" "Father Goose") and starring Gregory Peck, so very Hollywood and very white. God forbid it should be scored by a black person!

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 21, 2021 - 3:26 AM   
 By:   Graham Watt   (Member)

My brother sent me some photos of the LP of which he is now custodian. So I did buy it afer all. Quincy Jones mentions in the liner notes that "some of the material was extented or adapted" for the album. He does give special mention to Tony Ortega for his sax work, and to Dick Hazard and Billy Byers for the orchestrations. I think they worked on the original soundtrack, but it could also be understood from the wording that the same musicians contributed to Q's re-recording. If that's the case, that would include Freddie Hubbard on trumpet. Is there a reliable site which lists which musicians played on which soundtracks? I imagine it's scattered all over the Net and might be quite a task to research.

I'm going to see if I can find the LP release online to listen to, and to try to understand why I recall so little of it offhand, whereas I know THE DEADLY AFFAIR back to front, and I haven't heard that for over thirty years. By the way, my LP of THE PAWNBROKER has the same content as the old Mercury release from 1965, but it might actually be the Japanese copy from a decade later which I (my brother) have (has). Dean Street Records in London did seem to sell quite a few of those if memory serves - which it increasingly doesn't. I never picked up the CD which coupled THE PAWNBROKER with THE DEADLY AFFAIR. Is the content of THE PAWNBROKER on that the same as that of the LP?

I'll be back later after I watch the film.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 21, 2021 - 7:11 AM   
 By:   OnyaBirri   (Member)

I never picked up the CD which coupled THE PAWNBROKER with THE DEADLY AFFAIR. Is the content of THE PAWNBROKER on that the same as that of the LP?

It is the same, except that the CD adds Sarah Vaghan's version of the title song, which had been released as a 45.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 21, 2021 - 7:32 AM   
 By:   Rozsaphile   (Member)

The film was seared into my memory from the first. I think I bought the LP but never in my wildest imagination imagined that anybody would try to concoct a "title song." The opening lines do suggest a kind of relevance to Steiger's tortured character, but then the lyric turns into a conventional romantic thing.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 21, 2021 - 8:13 AM   
 By:   OnyaBirri   (Member)

The film was seared into my memory from the first. I think I bought the LP but never in my wildest imagination imagined that anybody would try to concoct a "title song." The opening lines do suggest a kind of relevance to Steiger's tortured character, but then the lyric turns into a conventional romantic thing.

How is that different from any other film theme that had lyrics added to it? Most main title songs are intended to have a more general resonance outside the context of the film.

But I do hear what you are saying. "The Pawnbroker" exists from a period in U.S. cinema in which certain films were leaning into 70s auteur territory, but still rooted old-skool Hollywood conventions.

At any rate, the song is not sung in the film, so the lyrics to the tune are inconsequential.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 21, 2021 - 12:07 PM   
 By:   Graham Watt   (Member)

Interesting that Rozsaphile mentions the song (for the album) being almost unimaginable in its connection to a film such as this. Quincy Jones said as much in his sleeve notes, adding that he managed to steer it away from typical "mush". I suppose he had no choice but to defend it on the LP.

So, I've just watched the film. It's not an easy watch, and although I realise that the Steiger character is complex and left empty of emotion from the horrors that he had been through, I sometimes felt that someone showing that complete lack of emotion, even hostility, to all those around him would have resulted in zero interraction with anyone. And yet he has his caring family-by-proxy, the lonely social worker who tries to reach out to him as a kindred spirit, his affair with the wife of one of his friends who died in the concentration camp... it struck me as vaguely unconvincing at first, but it all comes together if you have patience.

The black and white photography is stunning. I think that if you took any frame from all those shots of grubby New York, it would make a fantastic 2,000-piece jigsaw puzzle.

Loved the music, but being a conventional old fuddy-duddy at heart, I did wonder if the jazz worked dramatically. And what's with the hothouse "Deep South" sound? Seemed more like Tennessee Williams territory. I was surprised and amused to hear "Soul Bossa Nova" used as source music in one of the scenes.

Yes, there seemed to be a LOT of differences between the LP cuts and the score as heard in the film. The movie has plenty of moody underscore and some quite beautiful cello-based work which I don't think made it to the album. Even the up-front jazz pieces sounded like different takes, but I only dipped into the album tracks which are up on YouTube, so I can't be sure. I absolutely loved the sound of the piano both in the film and on the LP. Wikileaks names Dave Grusin as pianist, adding the likes of such giants as Oliver Nelson and J.J. Johnson among the personnel.

If the original tracks were available, it would make a GREAT release if combined with the LP cues. It would be a "can't have one without the other" situation. I feel that way about Oliver Nelson's ZIGZAG score. After being used to the LP for decades, I snapped up the FSM release which coupled it with the film tracks, and it's brilliant. Wouldn't do away with either of the two versions. They complement each other to perfection, and I think that would be the case with THE PAWNBROKER too.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 21, 2021 - 3:20 PM   
 By:   Rozsaphile   (Member)

The black and white photography is stunning.

As is the editing (Ralph Rosenblum), showing Lumet's obvious desire to imitate the subliminal cutting made famous by Resnais in Hiroshima Mon Amour.

Cameraman was the great Boris Kaufman, whose career goes all the way back to Vigo's Zéro de conduite. Oscar for On the Waterfront. In the same year as The Pawnbroker, he shot the gorgeous slow-motion lyricism of The World of Henry Orient. Talk about versatility!

I was so shaken by the film that I walked uptown afterward from the Beekman on 57th Street to the pawnshop location, which is displayed in the closing shot: Park Avenue at 116th Street. It was an empty storefront.

I must have cared for the music, since I bought the album. But it didn't stick with me.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 23, 2021 - 4:15 PM   
 By:   OnyaBirri   (Member)

Interesting that Rozsaphile mentions the song (for the album) being almost unimaginable in its connection to a film such as this. Quincy Jones said as much in his sleeve notes, adding that he managed to steer it away from typical "mush". I suppose he had no choice but to defend it on the LP.

As I mentioned earlier, I don't think the theme is no different than many of that era's main themes that had lyrics added to them. Those lyrics conveyed more general themes that many could relate to. They typically do not reference characters or scenes in the respective films.

Loved the music, but being a conventional old fuddy-duddy at heart, I did wonder if the jazz worked dramatically. And what's with the hothouse "Deep South" sound? Seemed more like Tennessee Williams territory. I was surprised and amused to hear "Soul Bossa Nova" used as source music in one of the scenes.

I didn't pick up on a "Deep South" sound this time. I perceived the jazz as portraying then-contemporary New York.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 23, 2021 - 4:51 PM   
 By:   Howard L   (Member)

Steiger was brilliant, positively brilliant in the title role. But that was him in just about everything his presence graced. But here...oh, my.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 24, 2021 - 3:50 AM   
 By:   Graham Watt   (Member)

Onya, the "Deep South" sound I referred to appears in what YouTube calls the "Main Title". It certainly isn't the Main Title, but rather the music for the opening sequence. Isn't there a kind of Alex North does Tennessee Williams bluesiness about that? I love those long-held string passages starting about 02:35. Perhaps we were supposed to imagine that Rod Steiger and his family were out cotton pickin' and we weren't meant to know initially that it was, crucially, Europe.



That's actually pretty close as to how it's heard in the film, except for the smooth finish to the track for LP purposes.



Here it is in the film itself. I think it's a wondrous combination of music and visuals. You'll have to skip ahead about 8 minutes or something to get to the actual Main Titles, with the New York jazz sound.



 
 
 Posted:   Feb 24, 2021 - 6:57 AM   
 By:   OnyaBirri   (Member)

Onya, the "Deep South" sound I referred to appears in what YouTube calls the "Main Title". It certainly isn't the Main Title, but rather the music for the opening sequence. Isn't there a kind of Alex North does Tennessee Williams bluesiness about that? I love those long-held string passages starting about 02:35. Perhaps we were supposed to imagine that Rod Steiger and his family were out cotton pickin' and we weren't meant to know initially that it was, crucially, Europe.

Where does that play in the film? The early scene in which Steiger is on the lounge chair in the backyard? The melody does have a bluesy quality. But considering that cue is played primarily by strings, with bowed basses arpeggiating the harmony below, and harpsichord answering the strings' melodic phrases, I always interpreted that cue as Europe meets the U.S. I do hear a bit of Streetcar, now that you mention it, but I don't pick up on a sultry southern vibe in Q's cue.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 24, 2021 - 8:03 AM   
 By:   Howard L   (Member)

I hear a classic A. Northish sound on the order of "brain" music a la recent Zoom. Something akin to aural stream of consciousness. Am planning to bring that up in a future session.

 
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