Monday, April 25, 2016

40 Year Itch : Someday a Real Rain Will Come

Bernard Herrmann : Main Title

Bernard Herrmann : Diary of a Taxi Driver

I have the final say, or I don’t do the music. 
-Bernard Herrmann

   In the first ten seconds of Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver, you know this is going to be a cab ride through hell. That was the kind of unsettling psychological power composer Bernard Herrmann had. We knew this of course, thanks to his collaborations with Alfred Hitchcock ( Psycho, North by Northwest, Vertigo). Directors could cut pages of dialogue and let Herrmann's music tell the story.

     This was Herrmann's last film. He had died months before the movie came out. Taxi Driver , dedicated to Herrmann, was the top movie of 1976 for five weeks. For any number of reasons, my dad wouldn't let his 12 year old son see it. The film is Scorsese's most disturbing. The paranoid, lonely, isolated Travis Bickle is his most intense character. Herrmann's soundtrack, with its late night jazz sounds and percussion, underscores an atmosphere of menace throughout the movie.

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