Since I don’t think anybody managed to answer Question (8)a in the March film quiz —
“What connects CAESAR AND CLEOPATRA, THE RED SHOES and LAWRENCE OF ARABIA?”
The Ondes Martenot! If you wanted electronica back in the forties, you had a choice between this and the erotic teasings of the theremin. Olivier Messiaen’s Oraison was composed especially for this plug-in wonder instrument. And my late friend Lawrie reported the excitement at the studio when the O.M. was brought in for use on CAESAR AND CLEO, the first film he’d worked on. I guess the alien sounds were considered appropriate for Ancient Egypt. In THE RED SHOES the sound evokes psychological dissonance and mesmeric compulsion, much as the theremin did for Ray Milland in THE LOST WEEKEND — Moira Shearer needs those shoes like a bottle of rye — and in LAWRENCE it stands for the pitiless desert sun, which incidentally is the only matte painting in the movie (you simply didn’t point your camera at the sun in those days).
CAESAR AND CLEOPATRA.