Writer-director Peter Bogdanovich (1939-2022) rose to fame as part of the "New Hollywood" movement of cinematic auteurs. While these maverick filmmakers shattered conventions and reshaped film to modern sensibilities, many had a deep and abiding love of the medium - and perhaps none more so than Bogdanovich. The onetime film critic and Museum of Modern Art programmer wrote extensively about Alfred Hitchcock, Orson Welles, and Howard Hawks; shot The Last Picture Show in black-and-white; and almost singlehandedly resuscitated the screwball comedy genre. One constant in his filmmaking was his inventive use of music. Cherry Red's El imprint has just celebrated his legacy with a new 4-CD collection. The Golden Age of Peter Bogdanovich: Music from His Films of the Hollywood Renaissance and His Influences offers two discs of music from his films, and two more from the works of Orson Welles and John Ford.
El's box opens with a disc of music from 1971's The Last Picture Show. Bogdanovich's third film (including the low-budget Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women, for which he took no credit under his real name) proved to be his breakthrough. Adapted from Larry McMurtry's coming-of-age novel and co-written with McMurtry, the drama set in a 1950s Texas town starred Timothy Bottoms, Cybill Shepherd, Academy Award nominees Jeff Bridges and Ellen Burstyn, and winners Cloris Leachman and Ben Johnson. The stark, subtle film created a mood that haunted and enchanted audiences; it grossed an impressive $29 million on a $1.3 million budget and was nominated for eight Oscars. Bogdanovich eschewed a traditional score, instead setting the film entirely to pre-existing pop and country-and-western songs that might have been heard on the radio in 1951-1952 Texas. The songs were presented as diegetic, or source, music, i.e. the characters as well as the audience were hearing them.
Two soundtrack albums were released in 1971. Hank Williams' prominent songs received their own album on MGM Records, with nine Williams selections bolstered by one from Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys ("Faded Love"). Columbia Records issued a second LP with tunes from Tony Bennett, Jo Stafford, Frankie Laine, Johnnie Ray, Eddie Fisher, and others. The presentation here replicates El's 2012 standalone release, featuring all of the songs from both soundtracks plus a handful of others, for a total of 28 period tracks.
Bogdanovich followed up The Last Picture Show with the stylish and side-splitting Barbra Streisand/Ryan O'Neal vehicle What's Up, Doc? (1972). The following year came the touching Depression-era comedy-drama Paper Moon. Like The Last Picture Show, it was shot in black-and-white and featured a score of period songs. The "road picture" starred Ryan O'Neal as a con man and his real-life daughter Tatum as an orphaned girl who just might be his daughter - and proves herself adept at the "family business." Paper Moon was nominated for four Oscars, winning one for ten-year-old Tatum O'Neal; she became the youngest-ever winner of a competitive Oscar. Paramount Records issued the soundtrack. The 15-song album included period American standards performed by Paul Whiteman and His Orchestra ("It's Only a Paper Moon"), Ozzie Nelson and His Orchestra ("About a Quarter to Nine"), Bing Crosby ("Just One More Chance"), Hoagy Carmichael ("Georgia on My Mind"), and Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra ("After You've Gone").
El reissued the original album in 2009, adding an album's worth of music from jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt. Those tracks are dropped here in favor of eleven classic Cole Porter tunes as heard in Bogdanovich's 1975 musical At Long Last Love. While the cast of At Long Last Love (including Cybill Shepherd, Madeline Kahn, and Burt Reynolds) performed their own vocals, this release features an array of 78 RPM-era recordings by Judy Garland and Johnny Mercer ("Friendship"), Ozzie Nelson ("At Long Last Love"), Lee Wiley ("Find Me a Primitive Man"), and more.
Disc Three of this new package focuses on Bogdanovich's friend, mentor, and influence Orson Welles. It opens with a suite composed and conducted by Bernard Herrmann of his music for 1941's Citizen Kane as originally broadcast on CBS Radio in 1949. It continues with a 1960 interview of Welles discussing Kane, the film often recognized as the greatest of all time, and then presents a truncated version of Henry Mancini's score to 1958's Touch of Evil. The noir starring Charlton Heston, Janet Leigh, and Marlene Dietrich inspired a typically delicious score from the prolific and versatile Mancini. Unfortunately, this 15-track presentation is five tracks shorter than El's 2008 release. The disc is rounded out with two Erik Satie compositions from Welles' 1968 French film The Immortal Story and a clip of Welles as an actor in Richard Fleischer's 1959 drama Compulsion.
The final disc looks back at the movies of western legend John Ford. The main portion of the disc is dedicated to Max Steiner's score to the John Wayne/Natalie Wood-starring epic The Searchers (1956). Steiner's expansive, sweeping music matched the stunning VistaVision widescreen picture. El previously issued The Searchers on CD in 2007 and anthologized music from Wayne and Ford's collaborations on Music from the Westerns of John Wayne and John Ford (2009) and John Ford/John Wayne: Classic Westerns (2015). Stray pop tracks from two more Wayne/Ford classics, Three Godfathers (1948) and Rio Grande (1950), conclude the musical journey.
The individual discs are housed in a slipcase, and a thick 36-page booklet has numerous photos from the movies as well as uncredited liner notes that are choppy but generally informative. Although mostly a repackaging of previous El titles, The Golden Age of Peter Bogdanovich: Music from His Films of the Hollywood Renaissance and His Influences is a worthwhile listen for fans of the late director and his purple patch of memorable filmmaking.
Various Artists, The Golden Age of Peter Bogdanovich: Music from His Films of the Hollywood Renaissance and His Influences (Cherry Red/El ACME365CDX, 2022) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada)
CD 1: The Last Picture Show (1971)
- Why Don't You Love Me Like You Used to Do - Hank Williams
- Cold, Cold Heart - Hank Williams
- Bouquet of Roses - Eddy Arnold and His Tennessee Plowboys
- Hey, Good Lookin' - Hank Williams
- Rose, Rose, I Love You - Frankie Laine
- Slow Poke - Pee Wee King
- Anything That's Part of You - Eddy Arnold
- A Fool Such As I - Hank Snow
- Shrimp Boats - Jo Stafford with Paul Weston and His Orchestra
- Cold, Cold Heart - Tony Bennett
- The Thing - Phil Harris
- Lovesick Blues - Hank Williams
- The Wild Side of Life - Hank Thompson
- Kaw-Liga - Hank Williams
- Please Mr. Sun - Johnnie Ray
- Give Me More, More, More (Of Your Kisses) - Lefty Frizzell
- Half as Much - Hank Williams
- Wish You Were Here - Eddie Fisher
- Solitaire - Tony Bennett
- Wheel of Fortune - Kay Starr
- Blue Velvet - Tony Bennett
- You Belong to Me - Jo Stafford
- My Son Calls Another Man Daddy - Hank Williams
- I Can't Help It (If I'm Still in Love with You) - Hank Williams
- Back Street Affair - Webb Pierce
- Faded Love - Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys
- Jambalaya (On the Bayou) - Hank Williams
- It's in the Book (Part One) - Johnny Standley
CD 2: Paper Moon (1973)
- It's Only a Paper Moon - Paul Whiteman and His Orchestra feat. Peggy Healy
- About a Quarter to Nine - Ozzie Nelson and His Orchestra
- Until the Real Thing Comes Along - Leo Reisman and His Orchestra feat. Larry Stewart
- Flirtation Walk - Dick Powell
- Just One More Chance - Bing Crosby
- One Hour with You - Jimmie Grier and His Cocoanut Grove Orchestra feat. Donald Novis
- I Found a Million Dollar Baby - Victor Young and His Orchestra with The Boswell Sisters
- The Object of My Affection - Jimmie Grier and His Orchestra feat. Pinky Tomlin
- Georgia on My Mind - Hoagy Carmichael and His Orchestra
- A Picture of Me Without You - Paul Whiteman and His Orchestra feat. Ramona Davies and Ken Darby
- On the Banks of the Ohio - The Blue Sky Boys
- My Mary - Jimmie Davis
- After You've Gone - Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra
- Let's Have Another Cup of Coffee - Enric Madriguera and His Hotel Biltmore Orchestra feat. Richard Berry
- Sunny Side Up - Johnny Hamps' Kentucky Serenaders feat. Frank Luther
At Long Last Love (1975)
- Let's Misbehave - Irving Aaronson and His Commanders feat. Phil Saxe and Chorus
- I Get a Kick Out of You - Paul Whiteman and His Orchestra feat. Ramona Davies
- Just One of Those Things - Richard Himber and His Ritz-Carlton Orchestra feat. Stuart Allen
- Most Gentlemen Don't Like Love - Bea Wain with Larry Clinton and His Orchestra
- It's De-Lovely - Eddy Duchin and His Orchestra feat. Jerry Cooper
- Find Me a Primitive Man - Lee Wiley with Bunny Berigan's Music
- From Alpha to Omega - Joseph Rines and His Hotel St. Regis Orchestra
- Down In the Depths (On the 90th Floor) - Ruby Newman and His Orchestra feat. Florence Case
- Friendship - Judy Garland and Johnny Mercer with Victor Young and His Orchestra
- At Long Last Love - Ozzie Nelson and His Orchestra
- You're the Top - Paul Whiteman and His Orchestra feat. Peggy Healy and John Hauser
CD 3: Orson Welles
Welles Raises Kane (Suite) (Bernard Herrmann) (July 3, 1949 CBS Radio)
- Theme and Variations
- Pursuit and Happiness
Orson Welles in Conversation with Huw Wheldon (March 13, 1960 Monitor Arts program)
- Orson Welles on Citizen Kane
Henry Mancini, Touch of Evil (1958)
- Main Title
- Orson Around
- Tana's Theme
- Son of Raunchy
- Strollin' Blues
- Borderline Montuna
- Lease Breaker
- Background for Murder
- Rock Me to Sleep
- The Big Drag
- The Boss
- Bar Room Rock
The Immortal Story (1968)
- Gnossiennes No. 3
- En plus from Trois morceaux en forme de poire (Three Pieces in the Shape of a Pear)
- Orson Welles in the Courtroom Scene
CD 4: John Ford
The Searchers (1956)
- Main Title/The Searchers
- Ethan Returns
- Meet Martin
- Locket for Debbie
- Ethan and Aaron/The Searchers
- Goodbye, Ethan
- Posse Rides
- Comanches/Edwards' Ranch at Sundown
- Debbie at the Tombstone
- Martin Dragging His Saddle/Burning Ranch
- The Searchers/Indian's Grave
- Ethan Joins the Posse
- The Searchers/Indians Surround the Posse/Death Chant/Indians Charge Into the River
- Saddle Up/The Searchers
- No Bonfires
- Ethan Returns from Scouting
- Brad Dies/The Searchers
- Laurie and Martin
- Laurie and Martin Argue
- Ethan's Dummy Ruse
- News of Debbie
- Camp by the Lake
- Buffalo Herd/Buffalo Drums
- The Searchers/Cavalry Crosses the Snowfield
- Scar's Teepee
- Debbie Refuses to Leave
- Aarow Hits Ethan/The Searchers
- Laurie Warns Martin
- Martin to the Rescue
- The Searchers/Martin Shoots Scar
- Attack on the Indian Village
- Reunion of Ethan and Debbie
- End Title/The Searchers (Ride Away)
- The Searchers (Ride Away) - The Sons of the Pioneers
- The Searchers (Ride Away) - Danny Knight
- Sweet Lorena - The Norman Luboff Choir
- Lorena - Johnny Cash
Three Godfathers (1948)
- The Last Round-Up - The Norman Luboff Choir
Rio Grande (1950)
- Down by the Glenside (the Bold Fenian Men) - The Sons of the Pioneers
- I'll Take You Home Again, Kathleen - The Sons of the Pioneers
I was so excited by the headline, and what a major, major let-down reading about the actual content...
First thing, only cds 1 and 2 are really related to Bogdanovich, the rest is by directors he befriended, admired, interviewed and championed, but whose work has nothing to do with PB from a musical/filmical point of view.
But mostly: the main reason for a music-related Bogdanovich project would be to highlight his muse and companion Cybill Shepherd's vocals... non foremost a singer, she always had an endearing voice and a witty and charming deliver...
They completely removed, from "At long last love", the original performances by Shepherd, Reynolds, Kahn etc, and replaced them with versions that have nothing to do with the film, or with Bogdanovich (maybe the label didn't own the rights; luckily the original soundtrack was released by Varese a few years ago).
What’s more, they could have made this special by including an overdue reissue of the lovely LP "Cybill Does It... ...To Cole Porter", which was produced by Bogdanovich (different Cole Porter project, nothing to do with the film)... but that is AWOL as well.
The supreme irony is we’re getting a big Cybill Shepherd photo on the cover, and yet she’s not singing one single note in the whole set…
I can easily picture Mr. B. rolling in this grave. This is not just a missed opportunity, looks like a bit of a travesty to me...
Good dissection. What were they thinking?
Joe Marchese says
As mentioned in the article, this release is largely a repackaging of the label's past (public domain) releases. It's an enjoyable listen despite what it's not - and it's worthwhile if it leads a single listener to discover the films (and the related albums such as the AT LONG LAST LOVE soundtrack).
Joe, I just can't see how this hodgepodge of film soundtracks, not-film soundtrack, interviews with other directors, other directors' film soundtracks - is going to lure in any new fan, and it's certainly going to disappoint longtime fans.
I understand public domain, but generally if you do things on the cheap, results will follow accordingly.
Who's going to pay $30 for this "thing"?
The casual listener?
The film buff? Not me, and I love PB's work.