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Music of Film Noir


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TomJH posted the theme from Farewell My Lovely (thanks) on another thread and got me to thinking.

Has anyone ever done a compilation type CD (or vinyl) of the music of Film Noir?

Not individual soundtracks from each movie, but maybe the themes or better music from several.  Sort of the way Perch Faith, Ray Coniff and others used to do.

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I have a CD called White Heat:  Film Noir, which is jazz arrangements of film noir themes.  It's older, around 1994.  Some good themes on it -- Laura, Lost Weekend, Big Sleep, Bad and the Beautiful, etc.

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If I ever do a compilation CD, it will include music from the following noir:

 

The Strange Love of Martha Ivers

 

Sorry Wrong Number

 

Laura

 

Black Angel

 

In a Lonely Place

 

On Dangerous Ground

 

Elevator to the Gallows

 

Night Train

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I have a CD called White Heat:  Film Noir, which is jazz arrangements of film noir themes.  It's older, around 1994.  Some good themes on it -- Laura, Lost Weekend, Big Sleep, Bad and the Beautiful, etc.

Thanks.  Unfortunately I forget what these songs sound like.  Just that I really liked Farewell My Lovely, which is much like Body Heat.

Did check out the ones recommended by James, but here again don't really remember them.

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If I ever do a compilation CD, it will include music from the following noir:

 

The Strange Love of Martha Ivers

 

Sorry Wrong Number

 

Laura

 

Black Angel

 

In a Lonely Place

 

On Dangerous Ground

 

Elevator to the Gallows

 

Night Train

 

Decades ago I made a tape from the movies I had recorded featuring songs I loved.    E.g. Oz and Over the Rainbow,   Delightful to be Married from The Great Ziegfeld, etc...   (many of my friends felt I was really 'out-there' since they were creating Van Halen compilations and I was doing this!).

 

But I'm not sure one could make such a compilation from noir films since the songs are rarely featured in the film;  I.e. they are background music and therefore after a few seconds there would be dialog over the music.   E.g. Laura.    So it might work better to create a compilation from recordings made by singers that do the songs from those films;  e.g.  Laura - The Nat King Cole version is fantastic. 

 

As for Elevator to the Gallows:   The soundtrack was recorded by Miles Davis and his band while watching the film.  The complete soundtrack is available on CD.

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Decades ago I made a tape from the movies I had recorded featuring songs I loved.    E.g. Oz and Over the Rainbow,   Delightful to be Married from The Great Ziegfeld, etc...   (many of my friends felt I was really 'out-there' since they were creating Van Halen compilations and I was doing this!).

 

But I'm not sure one could make such a compilation from noir films since the songs are rarely featured in the film;  I.e. they are background music and therefore after a few seconds there would be dialog over the music.   E.g. Laura.    So it might work better to create a compilation from recordings made by singers that do the songs from those films;  e.g.  Laura - The Nat King Cole version is fantastic. 

 

As for Elevator to the Gallows:   The soundtrack was recorded by Miles Davis and his band while watching the film.  The complete soundtrack is available on CD.

 

Thanks! Somehow, I find that I mostly enjoy this music when I watch the films. I'm not sure if I would ever go to the trouble of actually buying the soundtracks and/or making a CD compilation. For some reason, I feel that the music goes hand in hand with the movies, that I might not enjoy the music as much if I hear it without the movie, if that makes any sense (probably not..ha ha).  :) But hey, thanks for the information!  :)

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My two favorite noir recordings are, of course, "Rather Have The Blues" by Nat King Cole from "Kiss Me Deadly".  Another recording that's a classic "L.A. Noir song" is "Malibu" by Benny Carter from 1945. If you're a noir buff like me, you'll love this recording. 

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I see a big difference between movie soundtrack or title theme; and the typical jazz or blues you might hear in the background of a noir flick. The greater diversity is in the latter, I think it's safe to say.

For example, when Edmond O'Brien enters the dive-bar to find Dum-Dum (in 'the Killers') there's a wild piano playing in the background as Dum-Dum gets set to make his break. This rapid-fire tune would never be the 'theme music' for such a movie; but its superb right where it is; in the background, painting the landscape of the story. Same thing goes for Elisha Cook Jr.'s drum solo in 'Phantom Lady'.

The best instance I know where both theme & background mix together, (besides the obvious, 'Anatomy of a Murder'--but that's not a noir) is Jack Webb's superb radio show, 'Pete Kelly's Blues'.

Webb was a lifelong fan of jazz (started out as a DJ) and carefully assembled a live band to play custom music especially intended for the production. The series is set in Kansas City during Prohibition; and dixieland jazz is featured in each episode. Fans were agog; audiences tuned in as much for the music as for the gut-busting storylines.

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