Chanson du Jour: Theme from Midnight Cowboy

John Barry, who supervised the music and composed the score for Midnight Cowboy, won a Grammy for Best Instrumental Theme. Fred Neil’s song “Everybody’s Talkin'” won a Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance for Harry Nilsson.

Bob Dylan wrote “Lay Lady Lay” to serve as the theme song, but did not finish it in time.T he movie’s main theme, “Midnight Cowboy”, featured harmonica by Toots Thielemans.

Among the film soundtracks that Thielemans recorded are The Pawnbroker (1964), Midnight Cowboy (1969), Cinderella Liberty (1973), The Sugarland Express (1974) and Looking for Mr. Goodbar (1977). His harmonica theme song for the popular Sesame Street TV show was heard for 40 years.

“Toots” played in both Benny Goodman’s and Charlie Parker’s bands, and on recordings by Edith Piaf, Peggy Lee, and Billy Joel (“Leave a Tender Moment Alone”). He passed away in 2016.

French domestic abuse thriller terrifying US audiences

It is an unsatisfactory but all-too-familiar denouement of divorce battles involving children: the judge who must allow a violent man back into his family’s lives because there is no proof of abuse claims.
Oscar-nominated Xavier Legrand’s French-language thriller “Custody,” an unsparing account of abuse focusing as much on the damage to the children, has earned acclaim at home and on the festivals circuit ahead its summer US release.
“I would like people to realize that domestic violence is a real scourge in our society and that children are also victims who are too often forgotten,” Legrand, 40, told AFP during the COLCOA festival of French film in Los Angeles, which wraps on Monday.
“And especially that they understand that these kinds of situations can turn into horror. These are murders. Under no circumstances are these crimes of passion.”
Over half of the killings of women in the United States are related to domestic violence, government figures show, with victims often dying at the hands of an ex who was granted shared custody of the children.
Last year the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analyzed around 10,000 murders of women in the decade from 2003, finding that more than half were perpetrated by a romantic partner or ex.

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‘Django’: Life — And Music — During Wartime

Though overall, a disappointment – I’m glad I finally got to see Django, which just hit my local cable movie offerings. I’ll first ac-cent-uate the positive, and say actor Reta Kateb makes a dashing Django Reinhardt. I’ll add  that close-ups of Ketab’s guitar fingering is as impressive as … well, Sean Penn’s, anyway. I can forgive even the amount of fabrication in the screenplay. But, by the time Django with his gypsy bandmates and family are planning their escape from Nazi-occupied France in 1943, the movie just seems to run out of gas. (I’d say run out of heart, but the movie’s never has much of that to begin with.) The movie did make me pull out my Django recordings and listen to Minor Swing, Nuages, (the unofficial anthem of the French Resistance) and Sweet Georgia Brown. And that’s always a good thing.

Read the LA Times Review below:

In German-occupied France, guitarist Django Reinhardt (Reda Kateb) awakens to the horrors inflicted upon his people in this musically accomplished but “oversimplified, underfed and overburdened” film.

A bar fight breaks out during a pivotal scene in Django, the musically crisp yet mournful new wartime drama by Étienne Comar. As the fracas unfolds, the band keeps playing, with a blithe bemusement that seems to say: This happens all the time. But these are far from normal times.

The leader of the band is Django Reinhardt, the incomparably gifted Romani jazz guitarist, soulfully embodied by the French-Algerian actor Reda Kateb. He’s biding his time in the French Alps during German occupation, hoping for stealth passage across Lake Geneva into Switzerland. One of the men throwing punches is a Nazi solider, which means the inevitable: a lineup, a lockup and the sternest of warnings. Reinhardt is no good, it would seem, at laying low.

Kateb studied the guitar for a year to prepare for this role, and his work is evident: There’s an unstudied naturalism to the flicker of his fingers across the fretboard, and the film perks up whenever music is playing [ . . . ]

Read Full Review at: ‘Django’: Life — And Music — During Wartime