Set ’em up, Joe

Entity Blouse 

Time we had some Joe Losey song-lyrics. Winner gets an obscurity. (I’m hoping to tempt David Ehrenstein, a great appreciator of song, to write something of his own this time.) Lucky winners could receive Losey’s M, or THE BIG NIGHT, or THE LAWLESS…

Losey is pretty musical. I tend to think of him in terms of his Pinter films, psychodramas with lots of talk, sinuous camera moves and sharp compositions, but there are substantial jazz passages in SLEEPING TIGER, complete with Dirk Bogarde dance moves, Cleo Laine sings on the soundtrack of THE CRIMINAL, as David E informed me, and there are songs performed onscreen in THE BIG NIGHT, THE GO-BETWEEN, and here, in MODESTY BLAISE:

Quite an idea, stopping a non-musical dead in its tracks for an old-style musical number, but it’s one thing in the film that definitely works. Despite neither Terence Stamp nor Monica Vitti being obvious songbirds. It’s actually rather charming the way they work it.

And GALILEO, DON GIOVANNI, and the TV version of BORIS GODUNOV are all various kinds of musical.

Here’s my first “stab” at it:


Hurtin Burton

Trotsky’s getting assassinated,

This time it’s really curtains.

They’ll get him quick,

With the old ice pick,

And he’ll be gone for a Burton.

Remember, Losey Week must end Sunday, get your entries in now!

6 Responses to “Set ’em up, Joe”

  1. Boom!
    The moment that I saw you — Boom!
    There may not be much left here for you
    I will be dead
    Either I’ll fast expire or Sidney Poier’s wife-to-be will desire
    My head
    Either way it’s curtains for me- Boom!
    And not the chintz-fringe ones Wendy Graig had ordered — Boom!
    Noel Coward’s no Cole Porter – Boom!
    Oh sure I know you’ll say isn’t fair
    to compare
    the crawling technique of man with legs to one who really didn’t have them
    That dwarf is so annoying — Boom!
    And so’s the dress I’m wearing — Zoom!
    Let’s fly away
    To London where
    there’s a house that has the best bathroom Pauline Kael claims she’s ever seen and
    Frank’s serving Mia the divorce papers –Boom!
    Thank goodness Mitchum’s here and
    Oh Joe please see
    to Tennessee
    the poor dear’s so in need of tender loving care
    But who will do my hair?
    Oh– Boom!

  2. Beautiful, baby! It catches the WHOLE ZEITGEIST! And is particularly appreciated as I just watched Secret Ceremony and this provides MUCH-NEEDED PERSPECTIVE.

  3. Here’s my entry for the Joseph Losey Song Contest.



    (A Pastorale To Be Sung
    (To The Tune of “Lazy Afternoon”)

    It’s a Losey Afternoon …
    Stanley Baker grabs his eggs,
    Jacqui Sassard shows her legs,
    And Dirk Bogarde dines beyond the cafe glass
    As we pass.

    It’s a Losey Afternoon …
    Jeanne Moreau is chic and grim,
    Virna Lisi’s chance is slim,
    And Venetian tchotchkes mix — with “Loveless Love”
    Sung above.

    A ‘copter tracks down mutant tots
    As spivs in leather sigh;
    If you’re still and tense,
    Even Lindfors makes sense by and by …

    It’s a Losey Afternoon …
    John Drew’s dah-dah takes a beatin’,
    Michael R. finds time is fleetin’,
    And Rossella’s mime is meetin’ his fate.

    So let’s stroll by as time and Trotsky wait …


    Films Alluded To: “Accident” (1967), “Eva” (1962), “The Damned” (1963), “The Big Night” (1951), “Time Without Pity” (1957), “Modesty Blaise” (1966), “The Assassination of Trotsky” (1972).


  5. That line my song should read “Stanley Baker grabs his eggs.” Sloppy proofreading, leaving vestiges of a previous variant. Oops.

  6. Fixed it!
    I like it a lot ’cause Accident, which I just watched, has so much lazy afternoon atmosphere, particularly in the garden where Baker makes up his story, but also the great punting scene. So your theme seems spectacularly apt.

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