Your Ghost: “let him shoot me down”

Meshes of the Afternoon (1943)
Meshes of the Afternoon (1943)

Your Ghost (1994) – Kristin Hersh

If I walk down this hallway, tonight,
It’s too quiet,
So I Pad through the dark
and call you on the phone
Push your old numbers
and let your house ring
til I wake your ghost.
Let him walk down your hallway
it’s not this quiet
slide down your receiver
sprint across the wire
follow my number
slide into my hand.

It’s the blaze across my nightgown
it’s the phone’s ring.

I think last night
you were driving circles around me.

I can’t drink this coffee
til I put you in my closet
let him shoot me down
let him call me off
I take it from his whisper
you’re not that tough.

The Sound of Film Noir

Phantom Lady (1944)

Robert Cumbow of the Parallax View blog has posted a very interesting article on film noir music scores discussing its origins, development,  and major composers from the early noirs to recent neo-noirs:

The sound of noir—plaintive sax solos, blue cocktail piano, the wail of a distant trumpet through dark, wet alleyways, hot Latin beats oozing like a neon glow from the half-shuttered windows of forbidden nightspots. You walk the sidewalks of big, lonely towns, with no destination in mind, following only the sounds, guided by them, wondering where they come from, what hurt souls cry out with such tones.

Mr Cumbow also highlights CD compilations of note.

Film Noir and The Doors

The Doors - Strange Days
Cover of The Door’s album Strange Days

As a child of the 60s, my favorite rock band is The Doors. The band’s innovative music and the dark subterranean lyrics of Jim Morrison never cease to enthrall me.  In previous posts I have featured lyrics from the band’s last album LA Woman:

At this year’s Sundance Festival, veteran feature-filmmaker Tom DiCillo will release his first documentary, When You’re Strange (2009), which documents the LA band’s rise in the mid-60s.

In an interview on SPOUTblog, DiCillo said: “I’ve always, always been turned on by music, and by film. The Doors’ music is extremely cinematic. Their music is very dense and highly emotional. It deals a lot with character, and blood, murder and a lot of crazy things.”

Ray Manzarek, the band’s keyboardplayer, agrees that The Doors were inspired and influenced by cinema.  Both he and Jim Morrison came out of the UCLA film school. “That’s where we became friends”, Manzarek said, “We’re definitely cinematic.” Morrison and Manzarek took film classes taught by director Josef von Sternberg.  Manzarek said von Sternberg inspired many of The Doors lyrics regarding moral ambiguity and dark eroticism.

Ain’t talkin’, just walkin’: Ain’t no altars on this long and lonesome road

Ain’t Talkin’
Words and Music by Bob Dylan (2006)

As I walked out tonight in the mystic garden
The wounded flowers were dangling from the vines
I was passing by yon cool and crystal fountain
Someone hit me from behind

Ain’t talkin’, just walkin’
Through this weary world of woe
Heart burnin’, still yearnin’
No one on earth would ever know

They say prayer has the power to help
So pray for me mother
In the human heart an evil spirit can dwell
I’m trying to love my neighbor and do good unto others
But oh, mother, things ain’t going well

Ain’t talkin’, just walkin’
I’ll burn that bridge before you can cross
Heart burnin’, still yearnin’
There’ll be no mercy for you once you’ve lost

Now I’m all worn down by weepin’
My eyes are filled with tears, my lips are dry
If I catch my opponents ever sleepin’
I’ll just slaughter them where they lie

Ain’t talkin’, just walkin’
Through the world mysterious and vague
Heart burnin’, still yearnin’
Walking through the cities of the plague

The whole world is filled with speculation
The whole wide world which people say is round
They will tear your mind away from contemplation
They will jump on your misfortune when you’re down

Ain’t talkin’, just walkin’
Eatin’ hog eyed grease in hog eyed town
Heart burnin’ – still yearnin’
Someday you’ll be glad to have me around

They will crush you with wealth and power
Every waking moment you could crack
I’ll make the most of one last extra hour
I’ll avenge my father’s death then I’ll step back

Ain’t talkin’, just walkin’
Hand me down my walkin’ cane
Heart burnin’, still yearnin’
Got to get you out of my miserable brain

All my loyal and much loved companions
They approve of me and share my code
I practice a faith that’s been long abandoned
Ain’t no altars on this long and lonesome road

Ain’t talkin’, just walkin’
My mule is sick, my horse is blind
Heart burnin’, still yearnin’
Thinkin’ ‘bout that gal I left behind

It’s bright in the heavens and the wheels are flying
Fame and honor never seem to fade
The fire’s gone out but the light is never dying
Who says I can’t get heavenly aid?

Ain’t talkin’, just walkin’
Carrying a dead man’s shield
Heart burnin’, still yearnin’
Walkin’ with a toothache in my heel

The suffering is unending
Every nook and cranny has it’s tears
I’m not playing, I’m not pretending
I’m not nursing any superfluous fears

Ain’t talkin’, just walkin’
Walkin’ ever since the other night
Heart burnin’, still yearnin’
Walkin’ ‘til I’m clean out of sight

As I walked out in the mystic garden
On a hot summer day, hot summer lawn
Excuse me, ma’am I beg your pardon
There’s no one here, the gardener is gone

Ain’t talkin’, just walkin’
Up the road around the bend
Heart burnin’, still yearnin’
In the last outback, at the world’s end

Copyright © 2006 Special Rider Music

Jim Morrison: LA Woman – Cars Hiss By My Window

Double Indemnity (1944)

The cars hiss by my window
Like the waves down on the beach
The cars hiss by my window
Like the waves down on the beach
I got this girl beside me
But she’s out of reach

Headlight through my window
Shinin’ on the wall
Headlight through my window
Shinin’ on the wall
Can’t hear my baby
Though I called and called…

Windows started tremblin’
With a sonic boom
Windows started tremblin’
With a sonic boom, boom
A cold girl’ll kill you
In a darkened room

Cars Hiss By My Window :Track 4 – LA Woman – The Doors (1971)

Breathless (A Bout De Souffle) – France 1959: New Wave Noir

Breathless (A Bout De Souffle) - France 1959: New Wave Noir

This iconoclastic debut by the French New Wave pioneer, Jean Luc Godard, has been re-released on a 2 disc DVD set with a new HD digital transfer from Criterion. The transfer has been supervised by the original director of photography of Breathless, Raoul Coutard. In the words of Amazon contributor, Jonathan E. Haynes “jehaynes” (Berkeley, CA): “With Coutard involved in Criterion’s issue, the film has undoubtedly been restored to some of its original, shocking, ragged beauty”.

The second disc includes archival interviews with the director and Jean-Paul Belmondo, who plays the young punk with noir affectations. Jean Seberg is perfect as the young American student in Paris ‘living dangerously’.

Breathless (A Bout De Souffle) - France 1959: New Wave Noir

Australian critic, Adrian Martin in 2004: “there is a semblance of a thriller plot complete with a betrayal, tailing cops, and a final shootout… but the subtle, formal pleasures of Breathless have yet to be fully appreciated. Whether through accident or design, Godard’s low-budget on-the-fly shooting style produced remarkable innovations.”

Forget about Tarantino, Godard is the genuine originator of (Martin again) “the mixture of loose gangster-crime plot, a smart attitude, and a hip array of high and low culture citations… and there is an insolent mildly outrageous rap pouring from Belmondo’s punk motormouth, but even that scarcely contradicts the Chandler-Hammett-Spillane tradition of hard-boiled talk.” (1001 Movies)

The original film noir jazz score by Martial Solal is available on CD: