Track of the Week 5th March 2015 (Writing 101 Day 0ne)

Each week I choose a song from a movie which may be popular or not. The only criteria is that its a great song and it fits the scene in the film perfectly. Let me know if you agree.

Shooting the Breeze – Dustin Hoffman

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This track featured in the film Last Chance Harvey which was Directed by Hoffman. Not only did Hoffman Direct and star in the film he actually wrote this track a few years earlier. Somehow the track didn’t seem to work without the two actors in the scene. So this weeks Track of the week should really be titled Scene of the week.

The film follows the exploits of a workaholic musician Harvey Shine (Hoffman) who writes jingles for commercials. He is in London for the weekend for his daughter’s wedding. His work in New York preoccupies him and he knows his boss is pushing him aside for younger talent. He meets Kate Walker whilst having lunch at the airport which leads to a brilliant double act that breezes through the rest of the film.

Long divorced and his wife remarried, her new husband is closer to his daughter than he is. The scene were he hijacks the Father of the Bride speech is epic. I watched it through my fingers but it was extremely well done and a very convincing performance by the entire cast.

I did not expect this film to be anything special but the memorable performances from the main actors makes this film a gem.

Dustin Hoffman who plays understated roles to perfection, again finds a vehicle  to show his genius and wonderful acting talent.

Emma Thompson also can do no wrong. Every film she does she plays her character to fullest whether it be a house wife, nanny, or crazy teacher she can do it all. This role for her seemed like it was a fun one and her performance had a lot of heart.

So this is a first for Track of the week because both actors have featured here before in different performances.

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Track of the Week 29th March 2015

Each week I choose a song from a movie which may be popular or not. The only criteria is that its a great song and it fits the scene in the film perfectly. Let me know if you agree.

Midnight Cowboy – John Barry 

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John Barry supervised the music and composed the score for the film and won a Grammy for Best Instrumental Theme, although he, as well as a few other significant contributors did not receive an on-screen credit.

Fred Neil’s song “Everybody’s Talkin'” won a Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance, for Harry Nilsson.

Schlesinger the director chose the song “Everybody’s Talkin'” as the films theme, and the song underscores the first act.

However the movie’s main theme, “Midnight Cowboy”, featured harmonica by Toots Thielemans, is the timeless track that is as haunting today as it was in 1969 even though it is said that Barry himself did not like it.

The film is a very bleak insight into the dark underbelly of New York in the seventies.

Naive Texan Joe Buck (Jon Voight) arrives in New York for the first time. Seeing himself as a real ‘hustler’, he finds that he is the one getting ‘hustled’ until he teams up with a down-and-out but resilient outcast named Ratso Rizzo (Dustin Hoffman).

In their efforts to try and survive in an hostile world rebuffing them at every turn, this unlikely pair progress from partners in shady business to comrades. Each seeming to find true friendship.

The final scene in this film is a on the bus to Miami and has breathtaking performances from both Hoffman and Voight with the music making it even more memorable.

The film won Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay.

Both Hoffman and Voight were nominated for Best Actor awards and Sylvia Miles was nominated for Best Supporting Actress, in what is one of the shortest performances nominated (clocking at about five minutes of screen time). In addition, the film won six BAFTA Awards.

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