A couple of movies marked milestones this week. There was, of course, the James Bond films....we'll get to them in a moment or two.....but lost in the hoopla of the 50th anniversary of the release of Dr. NO was the 25th anniversary of a smaller, but very notible film
The Princess Bride, a terrific Rob Reiner produced film, marked that milestone last week. Whas has been described as a classic fairy tale, with swordplay, giants, a beautiful princess, and some kissing, starred Carey Elwes (Wesley), Robin Wright (The Princess), Andre (The Giant), Chris Sarandon (The evil Prince Humperdink), Christopher Guest (The 6 fingered man), Carol Kane, Billy Crystal, Peter Cook, Mandy Patinkin, and a list of A rank actors that would go on for ever.
When you do a blog that uses a lot of videos, you look for memorable ones, in the case of movies, it involves great lines delivered greatly. The problem here is that William Goldman's screenplay (based on his book) has many of them. Do I choose Mandy Patinkin's memorable line....
....or maybe Wallace Shawn's elegant solloquy on logic....
(as an aside, every time I see the above scene, I'm reminded of Danny Kaye's the pellet with the poison is in... scene from The Court Jester)
....or maybe Miricle Max?
Too many to post here. This is a classic film that did not do well at the box office, but came to fame on the home video market. If you haven't seen it in a long time, drag it out. If you haven't seen it at all, GET IT!
On the other hand we have the James Bond franchise. Fifty years ago last week, Dr. No was released on an unsuspecting public. Between then and now, there have been some major changes in the movies: New Bonds (I'm a Roger Moore man myself), M's, Moneypennys, gadgets, Q, Bond Girls, and the like, but one thing has remained consistant through the 24 films of the series. This:
And what ties the whole mess together is the John Berry/Monty Norman theme. There have been any number of theme songs, but I don't know of any movie franchise, much less one that is 50 years old, that has used the same basic score to tie the whole mess together. It's this one, the one with the Duane Eddy/Dick Dale guitar.
As I understand the story, Norman had written the original theme. It lacked "punch", and the producers brought in Berry to rearange it. He did, and brought in British session guitarist Vic Flick to play the guitar line....he got paid about $15 dollars for the session....and the rest is history.
Flick, BTW, has over the course of time, done session work with Clapton, Jimmy Page, Tom Jones, Cliff Richards, and is on the soundtrack for A Hard Days Night.
And now the obit. Soul man R. B. Greaves passed away last week from prostate cancer in Los Angeles at the age of 68. Greaves had an interesting career outside of Take A Letter, Maria, his one major U.S. hit. In '62, he moved to England, where soul music was treated like a religion, and as lead singer for Sonny Childe And The TNT, he built a pretty good career, hitting the charts a number of times with good, clean soul. This from 1967 is a good example.
Moving back to LA, he signed with ATCO, coming up with his 1969 topper...
It was his only real hit on this side to the pond. Doesn't mean he didn't leave some terrific music, his take on the Procol Harum hit....
......as was his take on Alway Something There To Remind Me, a minor hit in '70. When his career stalled, ATCO dropped him like a hot rock, and he went into the techonology industry, performing rarely.
Like most one hit wonders, Greaves had a backstory, and a legacy of good music that far suprases his single "sucuess". Rest in peace, sir.