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Obscure question about Imitation of Life (1959 version)


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Hi folks,


I watched "Imitation of Life" on TCM the other night for about the 150th time, and as always, the last scene in the film--the saintly Annie's funeral--brought copious tears (a guilty pleasure, I admit).


I've always deeply loved the music played by the brass band in the funeral procession--not the incredibly moving "Trouble of the World" spiritual sung by the magnificent Mahalia Jackson--but the stirring and triumphant funeral dirge played AFTER the church service by the cortege as it slowly marches through the neighborhood. The music literally ends the movie. It gets me every time.


Can anyone identify this music? Is it actually part of "Trouble of the World" (though I have never heard it as part of any recording of that song), a "homecoming" song played at traditional African American funerals, or perhaps something from an opera? (I guess it could even be something written expressly for the film, but I doubt it.)


This music doesn't appear to be credited in ANY description or analysis of the movie or its soundtrack, technical notes, etc. I have tried to research this online and through other channels for a long time without success. I am obsessed with finding this out, and would deeply appreciate any assistance TCM posters may be able to offer.


Thanks so much!

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  • 7 months later...


You need to locate the music cue sheet. 

The Music Cue Sheet lists in order of 'audio appearance' the music played during a movie.

Title, Composer; lyricist, length of time and if it was a Visual Vocal or BG vocal (radio or record player) or non visual.

Perhaps the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (http://www.oscars.org) Margaret Herrick Library or someone at Universal Studios oops now it is Comcast NBC Universal that their Music Dept. may have the Music Cue Sheets and they would have to go to the end of the music cue sheet list to find it if it was at the end of the movie.


I don't know if someone at the Musician Union Local 47 -  http://www.promusic47.org/ would have a copy of the Music Cue Sheets. 

or ASCAP http://www.ascap.com/ - Perhaps someone there would know where you can get a copy of the music Cue Sheets for the feature. 

Universal Film Archives - don't know if they would have it in their archives. 


Good luck and enjoy the hunt.

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