01 February, 2011

Sun Valley Serenade

70 years ago Twentieth Century Fox had sound stages 17-21 busy making a movie with location shooting in California’s Sun Valley.  Viewing this movie today, you may come to the conclusion that the American lingo has changed almost beyond recognition.  Every word spoken in the film is absolutely coherent, no sub-titles needed thank you – try re-runs of the West Wing or any of the Bourne movies and, hand on heart, did you catch all the dialogue?
In Sun Valley Serenade http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0034241/ Sonja Henie performs some breathtaking ice dancing, while John Payne is the romantic lead alternating between Lynn Bari and Sonja (no contest).  Milton Berle and Joan Davis supply comic moments but the star, for me, is the Glenn Miller Orchestra, beautifully choreographed by Hermes Pan and brilliantly filmed and sound-mixed.
I suspect a lot of comedy with Berle and Davis ended up knee-deep on the cutting room floor. I’d have gladly reinstated those moments and dumped some gooey, but short-lived moments with the Hay’s Office inspired ‘love’ scenes.  However, it's a charming movie, nominated for three Oscars with the Miller band performing a classic version of Chattanooga Choo Choo.  Check is out (less than a fiver on Amazon) and ponder … why aren’t they making movies with such clear use of the English language these days in good old Hollywood!

06 January, 2011

 The Gerry Mulligan Quartet always spring to mind when an increase in petrol prices occurs.  In 1971 I had just bought his album on long play ... that's thirty three and a third revs to the uninititated ...and also, on that same day, our local JET petrol station had reduced petrol prices to 33 pence a gallon.  Now today we have the most expensive petrol probably in the world at $1.30 a litre.  Chet Baker's souful trumpet could well accompany the sad occasion.

05 January, 2011

That Day at The Conch Awards - Take Two

Two young sound guys complimented on my career and, about to walk away, one glanced down at my new, shiny, Italian fawn leather shoes I had bought for the occasion; 'cool shoes, Ted' ..One of the best compliments of the night.

And, the cab driver, waiting all night after bringing us from home to the depths of Soho, clocked my silver Conch at well past midnight and said, 'it was worth waiting for, Mr. Ted'....

That Day at The Conch Awards

After getting the award, I was sneaking a looksee at the PA sound mix booth where they were heandling a ten piece LA band (rather well, too).  Suddenly, the head of Dolby UK touched me on the shoulder and said 'ah Ted - I see we haven't quite retired, have we?'

05 May, 2010

Gordon Brown? - NO Michael Jackson? - YES

My TV panel is beginning to get political leaders etched into the pixels (or whatever they are called). David Cameron trying not to be too posh. Nick Clegg pretending he's a peasant and Gordon Brown . . . . . going for the sympathy vote?
Getting visually bored, suddenly remembered I had a birthday present of Michael Jackson's THIS IS IT. Played it all through - mesmerised. What a talent he was. The dvd is brilliant linkling previous concerts with rehearsals for O2 and by using the same backing tracks the edits were seamless and the result captivating.

Voting-wise, MJ wins, hands down.

20 April, 2010

Ash Wednesday?

Is it Ash Wednesday tomorrow? Why not, it's been that all week according to 'official' reports . . . . I've been looking up to see airplane trails and any signs of ashy type clouds - zilch. Being within the Heathrow, Luton and Stanstead corridor also been listening for jet engines . . . . zilch, just lotsa birds we don't normally hear.   Has all this been a health and safety edict? Makes you wonder?  Er, hang about - went out to the car this morning, a thin layer of gray ash all over it . . . . . gulp!

12 April, 2010

Lookin' and Listenin' - Searching for Dorothy?

Enjoying the search for Dorothy on BBC with Lord Webber et al? Good. It's the nearest thing you'll get to light entertainment these days. Ten hopefuls left, all looking lovely, although a couple would do better auditioning for CHICAGO. Surely Dorothy searching Over The Rainbow should be almost waif-like?
Lovely lighting and choreography but when I close my eyes are all the solo performing young ladies singing in their bathrooms? Last week's closing number featuring all the cast is excellent live sound. The whole show is expertly directed. 10 out of 10 for production values.