June 2003 Film Music CD Reviews

Film Music Editor: Gary S. Dalkin
Managing Editor: Ian Lace
Music Webmaster Len Mullenger

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Music for Jacques Tati films  
Jour de fête Music by Jean Yatove
Mon oncle Music by Frank Borsellini
Les vacances de Monsieur Hulot Music by Alain Romans
Playtime by Francis Lemarque
  Available On: Travelling Naïve K1611  
Running Time: 43:35

jaques tati

Jacques Tati is affectionately remembered for his two characters, François, the gawky postman of Jour de fête and the equally clumsy but well-meaning Monsieur Hulot. Jean Yatove’s comic yet tenderly nostalgic score for Jour de fête opens this compilation. The music is light popular ballad cum Jazz in style with trumpet, accordion, and xylophone contributing comic comment. The soundtrack excerpts here include a little spoken dialogue (to sharpen up your French) together with risible sound effects of angry bees, recalcitrant geese and hens, tractors, schoolchildren, workmen and the horn of François’s rickety old bicycle.

Mon Oncle has the loveable eccentric Monsieur Hulot visiting relatives who live in an ultra-modern house. Hulot fails to come to grips with its newfangled gadgets with chaotic results. Borsellini’s cheeky, and often chaotic jazzy score is suitably perkily melodic and comic. Again there is amusing dialogue and sound effects. But better-known and more fondly-remembered is the hilariously anarchic Les vacances de Monsieur Hulot. Alain Romans frenetic trad jazz, tinged Gallic, score is a perfect complement to the action. Sound effects include, waves crashing on the seashore, shop bells, Hulot’s old banger of a car, old ballads heard on an old ill-tuned radio against scenes of a windswept and rainy seaside promenade bring back precious memories and there is also that chaotic tennis match with English dialogue. Finally, the third Hulot film: Playtime in which the hapless hero again struggles with automation at an ultra-modern hotel. Francis Lemarque’s quirky experimental score is even more frenetic with jazz rhythms given to drums with odd sounding percussion (like squeaky brake drums) and odd vocals; as well as fairground music and Latin dance music. This is the most interesting score musically. Once more your French is necessary to fully appreciate the dialogue.

An evocative souvenir for admirers of the inimitable French clown, Jacques Tati.

Ian Lace

*** 3

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