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Friday, February 3

The Musketeer
Did anyone see this movie? I didn't. I own its soundtrack, though. This is not uncommon for me. I sometimes buy soundtrack albums (especially to musicals) based on reputation of either the music, or its author.

In this case, the composer is one David Arnold, who has scored a lot of the recent Bond movies. He is a deliciously derivative composer - I say derivative, I think it's more that he's very good at fitting a specific genre. I say it's delicious, because sometimes you just want the perfect bit of classic movie cheese to wander through your ears when working on something with the majority of your attention.

It was this soundtrack album that saved me from losing my faith in July 2004 - see the entries on 19th and 21st. The main theme is so over-the-top and jaunty, it injected my tired mind and body with the energy I needed to capitalise on the strengths and hide the weaknesses of the show we'd been preparing for Edinburgh for the preceding months. The main theme is a John Williams (Star Wars music composer) style blast. It's a bit like Superman. In the same way that the Superman theme seems to sing "Su-per-man" at you, so the theme to The Musketeer seems to sing "Musk-e-teer". In fact it's very Superman-like anyway. With lots of gratuitous cymbal crashes.

Given that I've not seen the movie, I can only guess what happens in it. Actually, film music doesn't always tell the story, but it should. So, as I hear the mellow tones in this soundtrack, I assume a love-interest, scenes by a roaring fire and other nonsense like that. When it goes inflamed and passionate, I'm assuming sword fights. Actually it's a musketeer movie, so perhaps they're gun battles.

In my head, they're slinking over some battlements at the moment.

I should never see the movie - it will spoil my enjoyment of the soundtrack.

Being a fan of the Sherman brothers - they who wrote the music for Mary Poppins, Jungle Book and Chitty Chitty Band Bang (among others) - I was fascinated to know how some of their other offerings to Walt Disney's stable turned out. (Before you ask, Chitty is not a Walt Disney production - it's a Cubby Broccoli production, which makes sense - the producer of the Bond films should have produced a musical based on the writings of the Bond author - Ian Fleming.)

So anyway, we had a look on the internet and found out that Bedknobs and Broomsticks, which I knew I'd seen at some point in my childhood, had a really curious plot. I knew that the Sherman brothers had written its songs and I remember that it starred Angela Lansbury, or Jessica Fletcher from Murder She Wrote if you will. I have since discovered (during my years as a musicals nut) that Ms Lansbury was a key figure in Broadway, creating roles in Mame, and Sweeney Todd for example. So, the pedigree of the move was already very good. The internet's description of the plot made it sound quite curious. So, I bought it from Only a few poundingtons.

I can't help but watch a Disney movie with a certain sense of worldly cynicism. In some cases, the movie breaks through (Mary Poppins managed it, as did Jungle Book). So, this odd tale of three World War 2 evacuees, a witch and a flying bed, was a bit too much for my adult mind to really get into. Coupled with the B-list status of the songs in the movie (though one was nominated for an Academy Award) and the seriously gay way in which the movie-musical moments occurred (always in such a way as I really wondered "Why are they singing", rather than just enjoying it as part of the world of the movie), the movie seemed rather silly.

Ms Lansbury gave a rather awkward physical performance, which may have been good character acting, or might just have been in keeping with the awkwardness of a story that was always going to play second fiddle to P.L. Travers' creation.

Still, with my adult mind being all cynical, the childish side of me laughed at every occurrence of the word "knob", especially when prefixed with the word "my".


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