Monday, September 12, 2011

Train of Thought

A bout de souffle 1959 by lesamisdejob

I have habit of bursting into song, blurting out snatches of lyrics that seem to come out of nowhere (cue for a song). "Where did that come form?" My Missus asks and I track back through the thought process that led to the lyric. There's always an explanation - a word spoken, an ad on the TV, something in the paper. If the reaction is immediate, no problem, but sometimes there's been an incubation period between reception and translation.
This morning I followed the process forward instead of retracing my steps. I saw the word dégueulasse in print. This word always reminds me of the end of the film "Breathless". "T'es vraiment dégueulasse" says the dying Belmondo to his betrayer. "Qu'est-ce que c'est, dégueulasse?" asks Jean Seberg of the onlooking crowd. Fade out.
So now I'm thinking about the picture, and a puzzle. I read somewhere that the director Truffaut had a walk-on part in the film, but I've never seen him. That leads me to another puzzle. The poet and scénariste Jacques Prévert is supposed to be among the wedding party in the film "Atalante". I've yet to catch sight of the bloke.
Then there's a head-scratcher that was answered eventually. The first time I saw Scorsese's "Mean Streets" I'm reading through the credits and I see among the musical acknowledgements "Maruzzella" by Renato Carosone.
Eh? My favourite song and I didn't hear it. Next time the picture's on the telly I'm watching and listening carefully, but nothing. OK, a third chance to see it and there it is, only just.
I'm not a fan of the film, but there are some good bits. One is played out by two of the Carradine brothers. A drunken David C. is in this club, pissed out of his skull. He gets up and staggers across to the jakes to relieve himself. A young fellow (Robert C.) gets up and follows him. What's this? A rent-boy scene, a drunk about to get rolled? No, the young fellow pulls out a pistol shoots your man dead. It's a professional killing. The victim gets it while he's having a hit-and-miss, the fate of Dutch Schultz.
What I missed first and second times of seeing "Mean Streets" was the very faint music in the background, I think from a juke box in another room. There it was, case closed.
But I'm still on the lookout for Truffaut and Prévert.

More about "Maruzzella" another time (Ricordi di una Genovesa bionda).

So all that's gone through my head because I saw a word, though I've reshuffled it, and put the solved case last instead of in between the other two. As the saying goes, I do love a happy ending. I'm keep telling myself that I'll keep a record of those Proustian processes from trigger to song, but I tell myself a lot of

[Tidying up: I got the names of the Carradines wrong originally and have since corrected them.]

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