Saturday, April 9, 2011

Saturday Music Devoted to Sidney Lumet

THE FUTURIST! recalls the electric current that quaked through his young frame when he was first entertained by the opening credits of MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS (1974). The film begins in an old fashioned manner (at least in today's film experience terms) with a full slate of title, cast and crew in art deco font projected over a background of wavy shiny pink silk ... and this occurs before the film begins its narrative journey. The title imagery begins with a crescendo of orchestral introduction that sounds like a slightly menacing formal dance number and then slowly eases into perfect high class dining music. You can imagine yourself in full dinner dress with silk napkins and antique silverware eating something expensive and French. It is like music you would hear in a 5 star restaurant while watching a couple perform a waltz of death on the dance floor ... One, two, one two ... twirl ... separate ... embrace ... then end in a dip that would end the dance with a knife hilt protruding from someone's chest.

Music from the past for a movie taking place in the past about a crime committed in the past that results in further mayhem.

This adaptation of Agatha Christie's influential murder mystery is a perfect example of a lot of American 70s cinema. So many movies took place in the past or were modern variations of movie genres of the past during that decade. This is perhaps THE FUTURIST!'s favorite adaptation of a Christie mystery. And the film is brought to mind this sad Saturday by the news of the death of the film's director Sidney Lumet.

MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS is just one of many great films that Sidney Lumet directed. The list includes DOG DAY AFTERNOON, SERPICO, 12 ANGRY MAN, THE ANDERSON TAPES, FAIL SAFE, THE VERDICT, PRINCE OF THE CITY, and a couple of less lauded, but personal favorites ... RUNNING ON EMPTY, EQUUS and the ferocious Q & A. And one of the most prophetic films of the last 50 years, the brilliant NETWORK.

THE FUTURIST! will miss your style, Mr. Lumet.

While we remember, please ...


Overture and Kidnapping from
by Richard Rodney Bennett


Dara said...

Nice entry. I have not seen some of his more obscure works. Q & A is alternately attributed to 'Alan Smithee', is it good?


TF! believes that the television broadcast prints are credited to Alan Smithee. Perhaps Lumet had his name taken off due to his not liking how they cut the film.

THE FUTURIST! liked Q&A when he saw it in the movie theater. It was brutal. Nick Nolte is an animal in this movie. A nasty murderous cop.