The Artist/Vertigo Music Controversy

It was bound to happen: Some sort of backlash against The Artist, which is the best picture Oscar front runner. And the weak spot apparently is the use of Bernard Herrmann’s love theme from Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo at the climax. Kim Novak watched her DVD screener and was outraged, so she launched a press release and took out a trade ad in protest, which Deadline reports.

However, composer Ludovic Bource’s score has already been deemed eligible by the Academy’s music branch, which took the Vertigo sampling into account, and director Michel Hazanavicius has already explained his reason: He used the Vertigo theme as a temp track, and, when Bource’s riff didn’t move him, he went back to Herrmann. Sampling is fairly common,¬† but here’s¬†Hazanavicius’ response when I posed the question at the press junket:

“For people it’s a little bit shocking to have the music of another movie. When I saw Casino, Martin Scorsese used the music of Le Mepris from Jean Luc Godard and for a few seconds I questioned it. Finally, I accepted it. So we had two options: I asked the composer to compose on the same structure but with our own thing, and I did not have that feeling of something special from the last movement. And also this theme is so beautiful, so perfect, so sensual that, finally, I decided to keep it. And this movie is not just a tribute to silents: it’s wider than that. It’s a tribute to all the classical Hollywood movies. That track had legitimately to be here and any way you can find Herrmann, the music is so beautiful.”

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Movies, Music, Oscar

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