This is one of those fun scores
that invites you to reminisce over song styles of a by-gone era, and to identify
the influences of the orchestral sections.
The screenplay is about eight women
in a snow-bound country house over Christmas (a sort of French Gosford Park).
The master of the house is killed and one of the eight women did it, but which
one? Nobody is quite what she seems.
The eight songs included on this
album are very much of the late 1950s/ early ’60s, the period in which the story
is set. Eight songs are sung by each of the actresses in turn, and in character.
For instance, Ludivine Sagnier, the youngest, has a cheeky and lively girlish
rock melody. Isabelle Huppert is buttoned-up, her delivery cold – almost a recitative.
Fanny Ardant, in contrast, is smokily sexy. Virgine Ledoyen’s song recalls the
Bosa-Nova vogue, Firmine Richard is dreamy like her adored cinema idols, and
Emmanuelle Beart’s raunchy maid has a cheeky upbeat song. But the most expressive
songsters are Catherine Deneuve (slinky, to a Latin rhythm) and Danielle Darrieux
(poignantly and nostalgically romantic).
The album opens with ‘8 Femmes’
a lush sweeping romantic theme that recalls the music of the Golden and Silver
Ages of Hollywood – passionate, yearning with a touch of menace and revenge?
The influences are probably Steiner and Waxman. The other 12 orchestral cues
all lightly scored, again of the period and obviously influenced by Bernard
Herrmann – in fact there are overt references to both Psycho and Vertigo,
particularly the romantic passages of the latter. But it is all done with such
engaging charm that criticism is largely disarmed.
The review copy I received was
published in French only, but an appreciation of the production can be gained
by visiting http://www.8femmes-lefilm.com
and clicking on the English version.
Slight, pleasant, tongue-in-cheek
score nodding towards Herrmann in Hitchcock mode.