Archive for Rancho Notorious

Fritz and K.D. Lang

Posted in FILM, MUSIC with tags , , , , , , , on March 2, 2008 by dcairns

I’ll be posting the results of our Shadowplay Fritz Lang songwriting contest late tomorrow. But it’s not too late for any last-minute entries.

Marlene on the Wall

A young man is full of adventure,
and eager to do what he can!
He may be a boy, but don’t send a boy
To do the work of a man!
Get away — get away
Get away, young man, get away!
A young man will come when you call him,
And leave when you tell him to go,
But some day he’ll guess, a woman means yes,
Whenever a woman says no!
Get away…
A woman is only a creature
Of notions and dimples and lies
So learn if you can, this lesson, young man,
And don’t run off when she cries
Get away —get away…..
If you can! 

~ From Ken Darby’s song Get Away, Young Man, from Fritz Lang’s RANCHO NOTORIOUS.


The Mabuse shimmy

I’m a shadow since you’re gone
Just a shadow in the dawn
That breaks in the sand
A shadow lost in shadowland
My poor heart just flew away
When it realized one day
The dreams that we planned
Would only end in shadowland

~ From Shadowland, by K.D. Lang.

Give me an M!

In Der Mude

Posted in FILM, MUSIC with tags , , , , , , on February 25, 2008 by dcairns


I’m still reeling at the concept of a musical version of Fritz Lang’s DER MUDE TOD / DESTINY. If you recall, this was seriously mooted by producer Arthur Brauner as a project for Lang to undertake upon his return to Germany at the end of the ’50s.

Of course, this was the great era of the East German musical, but a West German song-and-dance based on Thea Von Harbou’s original “book” would be quite something. Lang, of course, had musical experience in Hollywood, having directed YOU AND ME, with music by Kurt Weill, and I guess RANCHO NOTORIOUS is pretty tuneful.

But what would a late period musical Lang be like?

I can’t help thinking that it might be something like this:

Enter a Young Woman (Elke Sommer), bereft at her loved one’s disappearance behind a great wall with no doors.

To the tune of “I’ll Build a Stairway to Paradise.”

I must find a way to the other side,
And get back my missing man!
Perhaps with an overdose of cyanide,
I can execute this plan!

(Takes poison, finds self in new surroundings.)

Now I’m within,
I must just have a look round,
To get my missing man found,
I’ll climb this stairway to paradise,
And get back my missing man!

Stairway to Heaven

Enter Death (Gert Frobe), singing to the tune of “Hi Ho”.

I’m death! I’m Death!
I’ll take your final breath!
I’ll take you all
Behind my wall
I’m Death, I’m Death, I’m Death!

Segues into “You’re my little Choo-chee Face,” from CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG.

Destiny! Destiny!
No escaping death for me!

Hot Wax

And it seems to me,
You lived your life,
Like a candle in Berlin…

Berlin? You take my breath away!

Oh. Okay.

Observant readers will have noticed that these are THE WORST LYRICS EVER. Win unspecified goodies by writing better ones! Remember, DER MUDE TOD has several different storylines woven together, so there’s plenty of scope. You could wax poetic about the field with the 99-year-lease, the Chinese emperor’s fireworks display, or the baby in the burning building.

To make it even easier (not everyone has seen DER MUDE TOD) you can musicalize any Lang film. You could have M FOR MUSIC, METROPOLIS MELODY, or THE DANCING DOCTOR MABUSE (“If you knew Mabuse like I know Mabuse…”).

At least one rhyming couplet is necessary to qualify as a lyric. The German musical is an underappreciated genre, so come on, all you Irving Berliners and Helmut Kohl Porters. Don’t let your candor ebb! You may be a learner but you needn’t be low!

Deadline: one week from today.

Prize: the film of your dreams.*

*Normal dream-conditions apply.