Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Bond Music: Dr No

In belated tribute to Skyfall, which everyone and their Mum has seen although I haven't here are some thoughts on the most important bit of the Bond Films - the music. The opening sequence of Dr No.

This is the first Bond film and so the first time this music gets used. Things to note:
- The twiddly bit at the start of the main theme which is soon[1] lost, followed by a shot and the big band jazziness of that now over-familiar music. I don't know if I can ever recreate the feelings, which included shock and excitement, the first time I heard it. (It would have been a Roger Moore film, not this one)
- The weird, almost psychedelic dotty credits, and the way Dr No jumps around the screen. Crazy.
- Then it goes all bongo dance party! It says this film is going to the Caribbean.
- And a third change, to the pop-calypso Three Blind Mice, which moves us neatly into the first scene of the film (unless my memory of it is wrong).

What to make of it? It's a bit of a mess frankly - three perfectly good pieces of music, all of which would do fine to introduce the film, but just jammed together like me DJing. Still, this is par for the course, and I really like all those dots running around the screen like some kind of out of control computer program.

Also, Under the Mango Tree

More Calypso. They really wanted to use the music to localise us in this film. On an unrelated note, see the stunt sequence from 1.35 to 2.05. Connery and Andress run along a pier past a couple of dozen extras, climb down to the boat, have a brief fight with the guys on it, untie it and sail it away, all in one shot. Pretty cool!

Sadly I have less to say than I thought. Maybe I'll do better with From Russia With Love.

[1] Soon as in next year's From Russia With Love unless I'm mistaken

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

I Read Dickens: Christmas Stories

Hey haven't we been here before? I check and yes, I've already reviewed a collection of Dickens Christmas Stories back in June. But these are different Christmas Stories. It's like Christmas comes every year, and every year Dickens wrote something for the various publications he was involved with at different times! So what have we got?

In this edition some stories are frustrating, due to them being collaborations with other writers, and the chapters by the other writers are missing. In four cases we get Dickens start, and Dickens end and the middle is missing. The general shape of the middle is obvious, but a few details niggle at me. Not enough to make me go and search out full versions though. I can't recommend these.

We have a ghost story, which is not especially good. There's a slightly over sweet story about an orphan bringing people together into a makeshift family. There's some misunderstandings leading to people having adventures. And there's a funny but overlong comparison of railway buffet rooms in England and France, the latter of which "...there were - I do not exaggerate - actually eatable things to eat."  This, of course, from the point of view of the Mugby Junction refreshment room staff.

Read This: For completists really
Don't Read This: If you're already frustrated by Dickens better works