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Journal of No. 118

December 1st, 2009

Hangover Square (1945) @ 10:31 am

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Hangover Square is perhaps not a great film, but it does have great moments, including the climax. Laird Cregar plays a classical composer (in 1890s London) with a cinematic dissociative disorder -- discordant noises send him into amnesiac rages. Yes, a pretty lame gimmick.
Despite a budding romance with the good girl, he falls in with the very very very naughty Linda Darnell as a dancehall singer. She quickly has him eating out of her hand, and who could blame him?

Things happen, plot ensues. Ultimately, our composer performs his dark original piano concerto as doom closes in upon him. Ordinarily, this would probably be 15 seconds of crappy movie music. But in this case, the climax takes us through an 11 minute Bernard Herrmann dark original piano concerto. Okay, it's not Mozart, but it's captivating and the marriage of music to film is really well done.

Random Notes:

Herrmann's score inspired Sondheim's score for Sweeney Todd.

Cregar died before the movie opened, probably due to the crash amphetamine diet that helped him lose 100 pounds for the role.

Linda Darnell plays the singer, Netta. Darnell's birthname was Monetta.
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Date:December 2nd, 2009 03:57 am (UTC)
Herrmann is one of the great film composers; it may be held in different regard than classical symphony and opera composers, but it's also a different art, anyway. And no, I certainly can't blame Cregar's character regarding Linda Darnell...
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Date:December 2nd, 2009 05:00 am (UTC)
The piece at the end can be heard here, but this is (it seems) a later recording of the music, not the actual version heard in the film. I've found the first HALF of the film's climax online, but I won't taunt you with half of a climax.

Journal of No. 118