Monday, September 25, 2006

Urban Horticulturist

Sorry I haven't been posting much lately. There will be some real posts here soon, I promise, but in the meantime you'll have to settle for another couple of clips while I try to put together some actual prose (after all this is a blog, not a vlog -- though I'm not anti-vlog, not a vlogophobe).

I was going on in a couple of posts about why I like the TV writing of Stephen J. Cannell, and clips from "Riptide" or even "The A-Team" don't really convey why I like his stuff (though he did provide an episode of "The A-Team" with one of the great running gags in a TV episode). So here's some prime Cannell, from an episode of "The Rockford Files," "Chicken Little is a Little Chicken" -- the episode that really established Angel (a character who was in the pilot, but was played down for the first season because the network didn't like him) as an important character on the show, and features a hilarious guest performance by Ray Danton as one of Cannell's garrulous crime bosses, Chester Sierra.

And for a clip from Le Cinema, I wanted to highlight a scene that shows the power that music can bring to a movie -- and there are few movies that benefit more from the music than Billy Wilder's The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes. Wilder got the composer, Miklós Rósza, to use his own violin concerto (originally written in 1953 for Jascha Heifetz) as the film's theme music, and while the style of the music, with its Hungarian flavour, isn't exactly appropriate for a film that takes place in England and Scotland, the mood and tone of the music is exactly right. And in the final scene, where Holmes finds out that the woman he loves has been killed, the music makes the scene incredibly powerful and moving; the final shot, with Watson sitting down to write a Holmes adventure that he will not want released to the public, is just a static shot that isn't necessarily interesting in and of itself, but when you add the music, it can bring a tear to the eye; it's one of the few Wilder movies that can truly be called moving, and Rósza is a big part of the reason why.

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