Euphoria #11: “Pier Paolo Pasollliiiiiniiii!”
11 entries in and still going strong! How much euphoria IS there in film history? Finite or otherwise? Will we still be here a million years hence, trying to find a less-miserable bit from SALO or THE PIANO TEACHER to stand as our latest entry?
No signs of running dry yet: regular Shadowplayer and filmmaker Chris “Dovzhenko” Bourton, nee “Chainsaw Massacre”, suggests a rather different Pasolini flick, HAWKS AND SPARROWS, specifically the opening credits (it’s the first title sequence we’ve had nominated as euphoric). You will smile your face off when you see:
Chris says: Yeah, the sung credits are sublime (and what I’m recommending). “Pier Paolo Pasooollliiiiiniiiii”
Music by the renowned Ennio Morricone, who also scored another of Chris’ near-choices, ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST. Maybe we’ll have that crane shot later on.
The most remarkable thing about this sequence is of course the fact that the credits are rendered IN SONG. As striking as this is, it is not unique, for the closing creds of Otto “Mr Freeze” Preminger’s SKIDOO are also sung. Let the great man explain:
‘…it is very frustrating for a director, when he has credits at the end, to see the audience walk out. They walk out because (let’s be honest) the public is interested only in who played the parts, the stars and the actors, and perhaps the director and the writer. But then the technicians, who wants to know who was the chief electrician except the chief electrician himself, who likes to read his name, and his family who wants to read his name? I was sitting in my office one day with a composer, who is a very talented young man, and had all this list of names before me, and I felt very bad about it. I said to him, “How would it be if we wrote a song with these names?” He started to “ad lib” right there, and we did it. Then a young, new designer worded the titles for me visually, and it turned out very well, I think. Nobody leaves. I say “stop”, freeze the frame, and then it becomes quite an amusing ending.’
~ from The Cinema of Otto Premingerby Gerald Pratley.
(Read more about the fascinating SKIDOO at Tim Lucas’ Video Watchblog.)
Pasolini did it in ‘66, Preminger in ‘68. Has anybody done it since, and if not, why not?
Precursors: Orson Welles’ spoken credits (nobody walks out during the end titles of THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS either), and HELP! which has the Beatles humming along with the score, and George Harrison reciting his sole songwriting credit.