Intelligent Filmmaker!

Keith is the first graduate of the LSC Cinema program (’16). Read he blog, he gets it! https://www.keithlafountaine.com/blog/2017/8/16/baby-driver-and-the-relationship-between-sound-and-image

 

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FM is On!

One film that was not part of the Cinema 3320 was “FM”, a musical calvacade of 1960’s counter culture expressed in the 1970’s. The fight for rock and roll, free airwaves and the push back against growing corporate overreach.   This film lead to the develop on WKRP in Cincinnati, an impactful TV show that made music lovers reconnect with FM radio int he 1980’s.  The film launched the careers of many unique talent like:

Here is more about the film:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FM_(film)  & http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0077532/

The rock culture put forth and followed by FM proves that fans or listener can be engaged to find kinship with content that represents their values. Thus the success of  WKRP can be drawn from the irrelevance championed in FM.  In Hit Makers: The Science of Popularity in an Age of Distraction (Penguin Press) music is used as guide for design how items or issues in our world become popular.

Also check this out…

Rock History Straight as the Crowe Flies

My favorite thing about the film Singles is the way that the cinematography, the art direction and the wardrobe show the importance of music by its unique imagery. As well, it allows the characters a lot of room as they try to express themselves as a well-developed person due to the music and art that visually represent their lives.

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Idealists

The apartment dwelling music lovers stress their attitude through clothing – the T-shirts and coats they wear. When you look at their apartment musical design it’s reflected with tickets of shows or posters for events they’ve been collecting, These love of rock cultural references bring light to the shadows of their personalities. Singles and rock ‘n’ roll movies talk about how music inspires the expression of love. When you look at the characters; like the our hip architect or the environmentalist, the waitress and the struggling rock ‘n’ roll star; they all have rock ‘n’ roll tributes, designs, posters and experimental content in their homes so with listening the music you see them experience music.

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Their Community

Grunge Music, a style of hard rock and alternative rock and angst-ridden lyrics was created for people in the 1990s. Certain pieces of music represent drivers to the storytelling – whether it’s seeing Chris Conrnell and Soundgarden or hearing Paul Westerberg and the Smashing Pumpkins reflects the key moments of the story in Singles. Through story/performance segments, the music underscores the story the way American Graffiti licensed songs added something of purpose. An orchestra of songs and different artists made a wise showing off the Seattle cultural music that was wise for Seattle startups pocketbooks, be it coffee shops or non-profits.

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Citizen Dick

Another key aspect about Singles and modern rock ‘n’ roll soundtrack films is the way that music makes characters find love, whether it was each other across the room in a club or because they hear music. Rock to musicians channel the wild sexuality tied to music by bring to feeling an expressive moment of their relationship with the listener. Music clarifies what they’re trying to do, why they’re trying to be and how they’re trying to express themselves to their partners.

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The intersection of life

Music pieces of Singles do a great job of capturing the commitment to the environment, open to drugs, ease sexual contact and raw power of music that existed in Seattle in 1985-1995. That sound of alternative lifestyles is shown in another way shape or form – that I don’t care how I look. Just how it sounds

Singles is Cameron Crowe’s love story to rock ‘n’ roll and their music movement and the burgeoning idealists wanted to do good do well by doing good. But then what happens is Crowe can’t let that of love rock ‘n’ roll get away and really he begins to explore his own personal love of rock ‘n’ roll through his wife Ann Wilson and part of the friendship with Peter Frampton to look at his old life in the film Almost Famous. His success as a writer for Rolling Stone and his life story to becomes a tale of how rock ‘n’ roll creates love between artists and roadies and Band-Aids and parents and teachers and writers and sometimes even having that sort of develop into a lifestyle.

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Writing

Almost Famous becomes a bible of great rock ‘n’ roll stories looking at the life fantastic. The 1970s, the man of the time David Bowie, Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones pop up as sort of counterculture musicians to express what society was stealing so they are revered and enjoyed. Even the bus ride with Elton John’s Tiny Dance celebrates writers. Later you want to root for the song Fever Dog for wannabes like Stillwater so that writers get great comments said about them and groupies want them. Not just the hot guitarist.

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WIlliam & Penny

At this time in US society the “rock ‘n’ roll star” was at his highest influential level. The film talked about how to become famous and how to deal with babes and how to overcome buddies when they turn you into something more than a human being. Remembering the qualities that you should have it that human dealing with other humans it staked in the audiences ground. And we see how Russell deals with his feeling for the boy and girl. Especially when there is a love triangle of guitar god, groupie and wide-eyed journalist.

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Stillwater

Almost Famous chronicles a version of Cameron Crowe being a cub reporter, William, and getting an opportunity to write for the most famous rock ‘n’ roll newspaper at time and looking at a band whose only goal is to realize that famous song: “I want to see my picture on the cover of the Rolling Stone” It culminates with what they go through hurting helping ignoring and loving each other to get there.

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The Cover!

The band leads find their success in celebrity, and young man finds his success in freedom and their groupie Penny takes her shot at her success and search for freedom. She realizes she should be searching to not just be almost famous. Yet they use their love to motivate each other. Every time I watch the film, it makes me long to work in the record business music business and radio business in that time period. It made everyone feel like they are all on the cusp of greatness.

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Poster

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Tour

Time, Space and Drugs Breed Rock

In my humble opinion, Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” (1982) could be one of the most intellectually provocative rock ‘n’ roll films I’ve ever seen. The album as a soundtrack to a film was deep in meaning and introduced the world Bob Geldof, of the Boomtown Rats, who plays a young boy, Pink, whose father died in the WW II. The film is similar to Tommy, who is channeling the British reconstruction postwar imagination. The Wall’s Composer/Director Roger Waters (a founding Pink Floyd band member) following in Townsends logic of some type of rock opera or rock animated film, is where the story of Pink and his search for A connection, some emotion or recognition.

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Pink

The Wall is the story of a boy who becomes a famous rock ‘n’ roll star who then finds himself depressed, his girlfriend cheating on him and the only way out is becoming the leader of Third Reich type neo-Nazi organization.

Pink finds himself as the leader of the children, who use music for power and that’s Roger Water’s story of The Wall. It’s all a provocative fantasy in Pink and Water’s head. Again with great rock ‘n’ roll soundtracks comes the mixture of teen angst, raw sexuality sexual expression. In The Wall, teens are bullied by British strict professors that don’t allow them to have any creative freedom or any artistic freedom because their mother-like wives pressure those same educators.

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Kids vs Prof.

The kids have to fight to have their freedom of expression and part of the musical expression is expressing themselves sexually. That sexual context is mostly brought forth through animation and a nod to 1970’s Monty Python like Basque women who are pollinated by roving flowers which could be the young men of the 1980s generation who are looking for love/mother because they didn’t get any love from their mother. Again we see Waters expressing what him and the band grapple with and want to articulate onscreen. Their music is choreographed to animation, live-action and futuristic expression of a world driven by hammers, barbed wire and broken glass under their feet with intention towards changing society’s rules and norms. The Wall is mesmerizing as it is mysterious and it allows audiences to make up their own mind on how to use the music and lyrics in their lives.

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Heil Pink

There are some sneaking comparisons to 24 Hour Party People (2002, like the neo-Nazi movement in the UK that flares us every time the Labor party makes strides or the labor unions strike to try improve their economic situation. They obscure Joy Division’s fame and create a poor image of the young adults wanting artistic expression. But opposite of The Wall who looks back, 24 Hour Party People looked forward at how society had to move on from the post war industrial society that was impacted by the early 1989 financial crash in the UK and the Eastern European move towards openness. 24 Hour Party People is the story about Tony Wilson, who created the Manchester tech-rock music scene and wanted to be a rock imprassario no matter what it took. With his influence Manchester went to “Madchester”, it was the early 1980s to early 1990s, which was a very hedonistic time in British music because of the impact of the recession on English manufacturing.

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Joy Divison rocks

The recession impacted cities like Manchester and rural UK cites, that began to lose manufacturing business. This gave young people angst combined with a music show that was produced by Grenada TV in Manchester and Hosted by Wilson that drove musicians to try to develop their careers in the punk genre. Artist like Joy Divison, who went on to become New Order, A Certain Ration, The Durutti Column and the Happy Mondays were connected to society by the amount of fear and the punk movement, so their music had meaning.

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Tony’s Show

The malaise of not having jobs engaged their fans and we’re looking for an escape, which came through ecstasy and marijuana. That drug pull created a decadent club scene. Joy Division, The Happy Mondays spawned bands like The Farm, EMF and 808 State who expressed feeling of anxious and oppression against society, that they were being left out left behind. 24 Hour Party People music represented rock ‘n’ roll music as the escapism of the rave party lifestyle. The film placed little values on relationships between, husband & wives, artists & managers, even bands and their fans.

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Rave man!

What was unique about 24 hour Party People, is while the music scenes, the music artists and the bands were all real people – it was a story of the life and times of a journalist who largely builds his career off the music scene he instills. He is played by Steve Coogan, a very successful actor in England and all historical people a played by actors, even a few cameos by the real participants where in the film. While more straightforward, Pink Floyd’s The Wall has Geldof inhabit Water’s musical personality and with the help of Bob Hoskins in a cameo and other actors they convey The Wall’s attitude of depression. But similar to A Hard Days Night, and Purple Rain, music as art and the ironic comedic style in a film help portray a story that revolves around a real music scene.

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Steve Coogan is here

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The Wall

Fame & Fortune? Have to Risk the Soul

The 80’s and 90s had an explosion of rock and roll due to the advance of technology. With the Walkman, MTV and CDs it allowed for artists to expand their impact on the community faster than albums and radio did.

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The Album Cover Launch

But nothing advanced the creation of an artist with more impact that the film – Purple Rain (1984) was the modern generation of rock and soul about the innovative stylings of Price and the Revolution. The Commitments (1991) was the celebration of the rock and souls revolution by black artists in the late 1960s that impacted the culture of Ireland 30 years later.

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Apallonia

Prince more than used rock and roll to express himself, he used rock and roll to create himself. When looking at Purple Rain, one of the themes is that love is expressed through music and that emotion can be suppressed by music. It’s a double-edged sword of love. The father cares so much about the mother but is so conflicted because of his musical failure. Prince is conflicted with his friends because his infatuation for Apollonia is so intense. He plays it all out on stage hoping to change her feelings for him.

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The boudoir

Love is a many splendored thing sometimes it is a splintered tool. And anyone who has had a splinter does not remove it can cause infection, and fester. Festering is his parent’s relationship. Yet, Prince sees his future, and understands that he can’t just live in his own little world. He has to allow women his world with you. Lisa, Apollonia and his mother impact how he sees love and he sees passion doesn’t have to be violent like in his home.

Another fascinating aspect of Purple Rain is how a subset of rock that existed in Minneapolis. Morris Day & The Time, Prince & The Revolution and Apollonia 6 were showcased at venues that were leading sort of this cultural revolution where technology, techno music, keyboards and synthesizers are tools for rock ‘n’ roll not the replacement of the guitar and the drums. By mixing the two – rock and techno it creates a cultural revolution like Prince and The Revolution. Second, it is that this cultural revolution of concert attendees with face painting, skinny mirrored glasses, earrings , laces – all were really the alternative lifestyle coming out it’s black-and-white history to a world of color where music students express that cultural change in song.

The Commitments was film that equally loved the music stylings of rock and soul. It was a film the brought a new meaning to the working class rock image of Ireland where everyone was doing what they could just to make a buck. And The Commitments was a band willing to risk its personality to become a success. But in the strive for celebrity and adoration, the rock standards of sex and ego stands in the way of their pursuits.

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Lips leads the way

The band comes together as the brainchild of the movies lead, Jimmy, the manager. In his hope for fame, he tries valientley to mix a unique group on want to be, established and utterly confused musicians. He builds what can be and looks by ¾ of the way through the film, going to be, a successful group that has its finger on bring back the classic. Yet Joey The Lips Fagan putting his lips on all three Committmentettes, the back up signers, is the straw that breaks the camel back in the band trusting their growth as musicians. Here the love expressed and fame wanted is what drives the artist to compete for the attention. That competition undoes the band in the film.

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Lively ladies

The film reinforces the fact that rock and roll can create celebrity. In June of 1990, Director Alan Parker travelled to Dublin and placed an advertisement in the magazine Hot Press, requesting young artists to audition for roles in the film. Parker wanted actors who could play a musical instrument and resembled the characters from the novel. Similar to Purple Rain and its array of bands, The Commitments had its array artists put on display. They put their emotion on display in more ways than one.

The soundtrack still drives the films interest. A key song for the film Treat Her Right
Written by Gene Kurtz and Roy Head
Performed by Robert Arkins, with Angeline Ball, Maria Doyle, Bronagh Gallagher and Andrew Strong. Artists were having success to the point where the Special features on DVD include, a music video for the song “Treat Her Right”. Many of the actors/artists went on to pursue various acting and musical careers.

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The Film Poster

To this day, most Americans who were influenced by Prince’s arrival, their first connection to him was though Purple Rain. The film and album was considered a masterpiece and sold 1.5 Million in its debut week in 1984.While only a modest success with North American audiences, The Commitments has since been regarded as a cult film, and one of the best Irish films ever made. The Commitments was present for a total of 76 weeks on the Billboard 200, and peaked at number 8.

Both these films created a mood and aura during 1980 -90’s where anything is possible it your take a chance, put the in the effort and let the movie going audience share you with society.

I’m just riffing here.

Interesting to note that Riff-Raff in Rocky Horror Picture Show and Riff Randell in Rock ‘n’ Roll High School could both be an homage to Riff, the tough talking side-kick to neighborhood leader Tony in West Side Story, the 1961 Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins masterpiece. It too is story when music helps one find love during strife. Riff-Raff and Riff Randell are two sides of the same coin. Youth of today, flip that coin and choose.

All’s Fair In Love & War and Rock ‘n’ Roll.

As a punk as heart who loves counter culture, I want to reflect a little bit about Rocky Horror Picture show (1975) because, for over 40 years it has been a cultural phenomenon. What started out as an off Broadway kitschy, play in the late 70s that talked about risqué topics like transvestites, transsexuals and homosexuality gave it all license to be exposed. Then mixed that with the 70s cultural presence of UFOs that had the mainstream audiences attention. But went further adding the creating some type of homage to the great science fiction and horror pictures of the 40’s and 50s like Frankenstein, King Kong and Rear Window to create a fantasy world caught between real life and the movies. Thanks to Producer Lou Adler, a well known record producer, Rocky Horror (as it was referred to)

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Tim Curry struts his stuff

became known as a provocative work of rock theatrics music, intense choreography, innovative costumes, film retrospective lighting and an acerbic comedy lounge that all tied together to represent the decadent American seventies.

When we first see Susan Sarandon’s – Janet and Brian Bostwick’s – Brad at the wedding scene, look closely to see Tim Curry as the minister and other characters playing out the American Gothic in the background.

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Frank, Brad & Janet

The fun graffiti on the car is much more overly sexual than one would expect. But it’s with the repeated viewings that the attendees of the wedding are realized as the same guests in Dr. Frank N Furters castle. This creating a dream like state of the characters and gets the audience questioning: is this reality or fantasy? All the while, this film has been perplexing movie goers. Most revel in the original music and the bizarre ritual of film attendees to act out and talk back to the screen; throw toast, use noisemakers and many other carnival like actions, to enhance the experience. Thirty-five years that has been going on!

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Midnight Screenings on Halloween

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Fans Endure

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When you take a look at the film Rocky Horror  itself, it is very low cost “indie production” shot in England all done on a studio back lot to minimize costs. Creative costs were controlled – hired the playwright to be the film’s scriptwriter, as well as the composer and the choreographer. It’s because they could – all due to Richard O’Brien.

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Riff-Raff is Boss!

He did a tremendous job in all those positions. But went one step farther as the second lead in the film. He visually articulated the sort of creepy image/imagination of what could happen to conventional early 1960’s young couple when they take a wrong turn. His performance in character as Riff-Raff, added to Magenta and Columbia, all crafted the obtuse dimension and design of the film.

This is where Rocky Horror begins to buck every convention that existed in the film business – horror, young love, mysteries, science fiction, suspense and spy stories. It pays homage to classic films like Frankenstein, Hong Kong, Rear Window and even Plan 9 From Outer Space.

Rock, Rock, Rock, Rock, – Rock and Roll High schoooool! Was an anthem of my youth’s culture. Graduating a suburban New Jersey high school in 1982 during a time of Reagan era politics and anti-establishment thinking, it made the band The Ramones a poster child for self-expression through rock music. Rock ‘n’ Roll High School (1979) was a bit of an homage to A Hard Days Night where there the band is real and the settings around them are scripted comedy displaying the popularity of the band. While Rocky Horror can be compared with Rock ‘n’ Roll High School displaying the angst of youth, it’s in the execution of the display that is tremendously contrasting.

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P.J. say Gabba Gabba Hey

Rock ‘n’ Roll High School takes a page from The Beatles film playlist where it makes the band the center focus of a film, creates comedic and nonsensical youth based actions and wraps them around live performances. Again, a low cost “indie production” but done in a way that shows the band on equal footing with the youth who rebel against the school.

 

Directors Allan ArkushJoe DanteJerry Zucker (pre-Airplane!, the movie) were able to take the energy of the anti-establishment mindset that grew in the late 60s and early 70s and channel it into a story about youth trying to find their own way their own path; young girls looking for their own identity. But they are doing it through rock ‘n’ roll as the school administration, portrayed in Nazi like manner, is declaring that rock music will imperil society.
images-9The Ramones and punk music allowed youth to use rock ‘n’ roll as a vehicle for their emotions, their attitudes, their political expression – thus the band became sort of a cultural icon quickly. For 40 years they have been looked up to as making anti-authority cool, and that rock & roll is independence. In the film, the artists sing, act and are publically revered and vilified. The film allows seedy back stage antics of the rock and roll world to be exposed.

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If you see this van a rockin’ don’t come knockin’

They show that music is power and that sex is something everybody wants – even the nerdiest types. Again, the pent up frustration of youth and high school culture is played out in bathroom executive offices, mean administrators labs and the classic scenic overlook or a tricked out van as locales for finding some ‘action’.

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(Your dirty thought here)

Another interesting aspect of Rock ‘n’ Roll High School is the way it welcomed into mainstream the punk generation. Coming alive in the early 1970s punk was a avant-garde music follow up to Elvis Presley hips not being show on Ed Sullivan and Jim Morrison saying “girl we couldn’t get much higher” direct camera over Sullivan’s CBS network sensors disapproval. Music has always allowed youth to express themselves in new forms.

The punk generation was partially kicked off by the Ramones. They motivated bands like the Sex Pistols and The Clash. There was sort of a similar back-and-forth challenge of musical endeavors like the Beach Boys and Beatles had in the mid 1960’s. This mix of music and cultural angst equally influenced 1970-80’s artists and young adults that resulted in Live Aid; Farm Aid; Red, Hot + Blue and the Amnesty International tour.

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Reality vs. Fantasy

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Fantasy vs. Reality

Both films make the performance focus of the artist essential to their stories moral. Question authority; sexual expression is freedom; and live, laugh, love. Moreover, Rocky Horror is unique in its musicality and presentation of how far people will go for love.

The rock and roll, radio, concert and film industries are parried and exposed a bit in both films yet the world’s evil – tyrants and extraterrestrials are exposed through rock and roll. Music creates fame, love and attention. Sex is the reason for the season. Inside jokes are the directors irreverent wink of eye to viewers, making known that even the conventions of film and music should not be taken too seriously. And that Rock ‘n’ Roll is king!

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The Ramones

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Nice, er, legs. Ok, I said it.

A Tale of Two Sixties

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Icons on land & rubber

American Graffiti was a coming of age film produced in the 1970’s giving a nostalgic view of the easy early 1960’s. When cars were boss, chicks were found crusin’ and life was a gas. Set to a 70’s score of Surfer Rock and Doo Wop this film painted a picture of America in the calm before the storm. Shot oddly close to Altamont Racetrack, which would later be a deadly icon of turbulent 60’s, the film traces the lives of young privileged youth on their last night of summer before they have to move forward into adulthood.

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George Lucas

The themes in George Lucas’s first major film conjure up for me an innocence that has gone meandering in search of feeling something or transitioning into something. The Lucas as Writer – Director crafted characters reflect a time when Americas are unsure of themselves because that generation has never had to make tough decision before.

They push themselves into causing havoc based on the law enforcement pestering they have received the last few years. They see cars as a status symbol and sex symbol. Drag racing is the culmination of those feelings into a power – articulated through a 454 four barrel loaded into a little deuce coop. With the headers unplugged.

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Candy Clark & Charles Martin Smith

The story pokes fun at lust while only slightly seriously talking about love. They courtship of youth is manifested and supported by radio DJ’s who controlled the airways of the cars. The test of love, patience, friendship and manhood are done through pranks. The button down madras shirts and the above the calf skirts show that sexuality is still a kid’s game.

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Richard Dreyfuss & The Pharoahs

 

 

The evils of alcohol are comically played up while the adults seem oblivious. The gangs of faux toughies mock the 1950’s style where the type of jackets on their backs is more important than having each other’s backs. And all the while they sit by waiting to see the revolution be televised. Not knowing that Kent State, Yippies, deaths of John, Martin & Bobby, Woodstock, Vietnam and Nixon will have them all chanting – the whole world is watching, the whole world is watching.

Tommy is a rock opera, where all the script is sung lyrics did not just come to age, they launched out of the womb and into our faces. The irreverent and aggressive nature of British have and have not’s society, captured the 1970’s perspective of the decadent late 60’s with perfection. Director Ken Russell’s first major film created a feeling of music as the mind-altering substance that could set people free of the rules of society, which bound them to be a proper Englishman and women.

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Ann Margret & Oliver Reed flank “Tommy”

Performed as rock opera, writer, composer and The Who lead guitarist Pete Townsend was able to articulate the innocence of British youth, profiled in the lead character, being pummeled by drugs, sex, TV, fame and fortune making them grow up faster because they had to. Society was racing ahead in the baby boom of a warm coastal southern England. Tommy pulled no punches when articulating that rock and roll music was power. Concerts were fuses to mayhem and roadies took pride in bashing those, which did not follow the rules or had an infatuation with the star.

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Elton John & The Who

The provocative wardrobe of musicians, side kicks, celebrity parents and back stage floozies were visualized in stripped down madness and titillating leather, spandex and leopard print. When societies fascination with Pinball as a drug was explored and exploited, it made the game a landscape even for all competitors – where the deaf, dumb and blind could succeed. The game, as a script point, was inspired by a mutual love of the game by the composer and an influential rock critic. So even the creation of Tommy displayed the decadent using of people to get what they want. For The Who it was fame and fortune and artistic recognition.

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A Champagne Hallucination

The decadent late 60’s era displayed how drugs and alcohol begin the brake down the sanctity of marriage. Where the loyalty and oaths of commitment were brushed aside for the gratuitous sexual activity that became rampant in the early 1070’s. Where the deviance of peep shows, homosexuality and bondage began to brake down the cultural barriers of normalcy.

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Roger Daltrey

The dichotomy of the 60’s generation broadened greatly just within 1965 to 1969, in the time a student could graduate from high school or college. Money was paramount in Tommy where even the messiah like lead character was over commercialized but the honored scholarship in American Graffiti was almost ignored.   Fame was exploited through live telethons in one film but secretly hidden in out of way radio station in the other. The sexual revolution was televised with full frontal in Tommy but in American Graffiti it was fumbled with in the back seat. Champagne and limos outdid the hard liquor and hot rods. The gangs in Tommy were brutes and killers for fun and sport, compared the gangs of American Graffiti were in gangs just for the jackets.

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American Graffiti was one of the first films to eschew a traditional film score and successfully rely instead on synchronizing a series of popular hit songs with individual scenes. Its soundtrack mirrored the themes, feelings, attitudes, hopes and dreams of society. Tommy crafted a mind-expanding experience of music and art thanks to The Who’s innovative approach. Combining major music stars to augment the showcasing of Roger Daltrey begat a cultural commentary in chords and measures. The Rock Opera genre became a vehicle for bands to express their passion, fears, rage and lust. Rock and roll became an instigator of and a reflection for the youth of the 60’s. As Danny and Juniors put it:

“Rock ‘n roll is here to stay,
It will never die
It was meant to be that way,
Though I don’t know why
I don’t care what people say,
Rock ‘n roll is here to stay.”

Week 1: Mop Tops & Swivel Hips

When watching Jailhouse Rock and A Hard Day’s Night, I got the impression that more than the state of music changed when these films came out. What I felt changed was the way that the youth of the society in America and England began to have power. They were not taken seriously as a cultural and economical force that drove these two nations to grow faster than they were already growing in a Post WW II world. The youth are the record customer courted and the ticket buyer feared. They are the fans that letters make or break careers.

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The first music video?

With Elvis, he helped articulate the growing middle/upper middle class in America of the 1950’s Baby Boom. He was caught between hillbilly country music and jazz that was funky but very lyrically challenged.  We see a young man search for control via a red convertible, a career by owing his 51% of his record company and eventually notoriety. But that poisons him into becoming an elitist snob brought down to earth but his best friend and true love. This mirrors Americas 1950’s high to its 1960’s low.

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Mickey Shaughnessy is Hunk

The cultural insights that you receive from watching Jailhouse Rock are an immense reflection of America. With his performance focused as tent poles for a legitimate story, Jailhouse Rock becomes one of the seminal films of how music is brought into motion pictures. The script played out on screen is Elvis’s story – obscurity, groundbreaking music, adoring fans, and movie stardom. Actors are his friends, foes and female companions. All done to sections of concert like performances.

The Beatles articulate the working class in their music by personifying the youth culture caught between the Mods and the Rockers of 1960’s Britain. There society is still slowly rebuilding from WW II. Hard Days Night is a film that mirrors their life, four young men with granddad’s living with their families, the elite having control over their space, chasing girls and in search of time and space for a good cup of tea. They want to play music, have fun, meet girls and look past the cares of a nation pushing socialist policies to lift it self up from a war torn past.

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The Lads

Their songs are focused on as performances but not very tied to specific scenes in the film. The film is vehicle to showcase the Beatles talents in a fun way. They are a comical troupe of mischief-makers. But there is one big difference between the films. The Beatles plays them selves. They interact with society but the cast is all actors in what can be called the first mockumentary.

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Judy Tyler is Peggy

The films honestly articulate the 1950’s and 1960’s culture by kicking back at the burgeoning sexual revolution. The female is equally put on a pedestal and considered an acquisition. Elvis defends a woman from an abusive husband/boyfriend so violently he goes to jail for it. But he spends the rest of the film treating his record partner, the girl he truly loves, like an after thought until almost too late. He treats his costar with such disdain that his ignoring her turns into aggressive passion. The wardrobe has a flaunty sexuality for the ladies and the lexicon of men discussing them makes them sound like pasties – “delicious” and “scrumptious”.

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Paul chats them up.

The Beatles show women as a toy to be played with and controlled. They chase girls by sneaking out to nightclubs to find them. They pretend to be elite to persuade them to come along. They fane interest in their make-up careers, to make the ladies follow them back to their dressing rooms. The female wardrobe is very form fitting and short shirtish to titillate while lexicon refers to them as thing on display – “talent” and “birds”.

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Used in closing credits

A Hard Days Night mocks TV business and uptight directors similar to way that Jailhouse Rock mocks film executives and flacks. Yet they both use the media as a device to help tell their story while having a comic foil or predatory villain. The oxymoron here is both products of the media business (film) uses the media business (TV/movies) as a tool drive the power, popularity and polarization of their young talent who want to just play music, they way they want to do it. Both Col. Tom Parker and George Martin made sure that happened. They sheltered their artists from the fray, kept them out of trouble and drove them to the top. Parkers and Martin’s participation in and promotion of Elvis and Beatles film projects helped their artists create something groundbreaking. All while helping them use the medium of film as a vehicle to just sell records.