July 17: Yellow Submarine the film was released in 1968
Yellow Submarine is a 1968 British-American animated musical fantasy comedy film inspired by the music of the Beatles.
The film was directed by animation producer George Dunning, and produced by United Artists and King Features Syndicate. Initial press reports stated that the Beatles themselves would provide their own character voices; however, aside from composing and performing the songs, the real Beatles participated only in the closing scene of the film, while their cartoon counterparts were voiced by other actors.
Documentary: Richard Thompson – Solitary Life BBC 2012
Personal portrait of the critically-acclaimed and enigmatic British folk rock singer Richard Thompson, providing an insight into his fascinating life alongside exclusive footage. Contributors include Billy Connolly, Bonnie Raitt, ex-wife Linda Thompson, Harry Shearer and Richard’s wife Nancy Covey. The documentary visits him at home in both London and Los Angeles – the first time such intimate access has been granted to this private and complex artist.
In the 60s whilst still a teenager, Thompson wrote generation-defining songs like Meet on the Ledge. As founder member of Fairport Convention, as a duo with then-wife Linda and more recently as a solo artist, Thompson’s unique mix of rock and traditional music has ironically become more popular now in America than in the UK.
June 29: The late great Bernard Herrmann was born in 1911
Bernard Herrmann (June 29, 1911 – December 24, 1975) was an American composer known for his work in film.
An Academy Award-winner (for The Devil and Daniel Webster, 1941; later renamed All That Money Can Buy), Herrmann is particularly known for his collaborations with director Alfred Hitchcock, most famously Psycho, North by Northwest, The Man Who Knew Too Much, and Vertigo. He also composed scores for many other movies, including Citizen Kane, The Day the Earth Stood Still, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, Cape Fear, and Taxi Driver. He worked extensively in radio drama (composing for Orson Welles), composed the scores for several fantasy films by Ray Harryhausen, and many TV programs, including Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone and Have Gun–Will Travel.
Herrmann is still a prominent figure in the world of film music today, despite his death 40 years ago. As such, his career has been studied extensively by biographers and documentarians. His string-only score for Psycho, for example, set the standard when it became a new way to write music for thrillers (rather than big fully orchestrated pieces). In 1992 a documentary, Music for the Movies: Bernard Herrmann, was made about him. Also in 1992 a 2½ hour long National Public Radio documentary was produced on his life — Bernard Herrmann: A Celebration of his Life and Music (Bruce A. Crawford). In 1991, Steven C. Smith wrote a Herrmann biography titled A Heart at Fire’s Center, a quotation from a favorite Stephen Spender poem of Herrmann’s.
Classic Concert: Gunsmoke Blues with Muddy Waters, Big Mama Thornton and Big Joe Turner
By day, Link Wyler was a character actor who often appeared on TV Westerns, most notably Gunsmoke. By night, Wyler was a passionate blues fan, and in 1971, when he discovered that Muddy Waters, Big Joe Turner, Big Mama Thornton, and George “Harmonica” Smith would be making their way up the West Coast as part of a package tour, he persuaded several cameramen from Gunsmoke to pack up their camera equipment and sound gear and follow the tour for the weekend, catching up with them at a college gig in Oregon.
Gunsmoke Blues is the result, which features the long-lost footage from this weekend adventure, capturing these master blues artists in fine and funky form. Selections include “Got My Mojo Working,” “Long Distance Call,” and “Mannish Boy” Muddy Waters, “Shake, Rattle and Roll” Big Joe Turner, “Ball and Chain” Big Mama Thornton, and “Leaving Chicago” George “Harmonica” Smith.
This is a “must-see”! Just incredible all through.
Down The Tracks: Bob Dylan and the Music That Influenced Him (documentary)
Just as Bob Dylan has inspired four decades of musicians, so too was his own musical style influenced by those who came before him. This documentary profiles the folk performers who had the greatest impact on Dylan’s early career. Leadbelly, Pete Seeger, Mississippi John Hurt and other musicians appear in vintage clips, while special focus is given to Woody Guthrie, whose bond with Dylan is reflected in nearly all of Dylan’s music.
While there isn’t a note of Bob Dylan singing in this documentary from 2008, it is still a very worthwhile watch. It gives us a depiction of what influenced Bob Dylan as he grew into the greatest songwriter of all time. There are great and rare clips of Pete Seeger, Leadbelly and many more.
A very interesting addition to all the films about Dylan and the music that influenced (and still influences) him.