Sunday, September 20, 2009

To Have and Have Not

We discuss the song performance “Am I Blue?” in HtM, Chs. 1 & 7. To Have and Have Not also features three songs composed by Hoagy Carmichael himself: “Martinique,” “Baltimore Oriole,” and “How Little We Know.” The second and third of these appear several times, and those instances are worth studying and comparing. Of course, reasons for the different placements (in relation to screen action) are of interest, but the cues also provide multiple examples of simple, pedagogically useful diegetic/nondiegetic treatments.

“Martinique” is the simplest: it’s the first music we hear in the Hotel Martinique (@ 00:11:37; out @ 00:12:44). Students might speculate on why it is heard entirely offscreen. (One reason is that Carmichael would have to be paid more, not only for his song but for his playing it onscreen.) Part of this music is heard again in the middle of a long sequence of cues starting @ 01:31:50. About 40 seconds of “Martinique” can be heard with the time lapse scene change @ 01:36:10.

A complex arrangement of “Am I Blue?” actually starts this sequence – although the level is quite low, you can hear the tune clearly when the door to Bogart’s hotel room opens. This cue is also striking for the way action contrasts with the music; that is, the latter is neutral or even anempathetic.

“Baltimore Oriole” is associated with Bacall’s character from the outset; it segues from “Martinique” after brief clapping and goes out @ 00:14:02. Again entirely offscreen, this even continues after Bacall and Bogart go upstairs to the hotel’s second floor rooms, only to be cut off when the door is closed. In again at 00:22:40, it goes out abruptly when the policemen’s offscreen shots are heard. A nearly three minute cue @ 00:37:15 is a more complex orchestration of the melody; this is generally quiet like the diegetic cues heard going on downstairs; however, not only is the orchestra too large for Cricket’s (Carmichael’s) band, but the music is treated dramatically as underscoring. The last appearance of “Baltimore Oriole” is in the long sequence referred to above – one can hear faint clapping @ 01:34:00, then Bogart fires a shot, then music picks up again with this tune. (All this is improbable of course, but convenient for sound track design.)

“How Little We Know” is treated in a way that is faintly reminiscent of Casablanca (hardly the only thing to do that in To Have and Have Not). Cricket is shown composing the song @00:45:58 (with a dissolve back to the hotel), thus bringing narrative attention to it, as also happens with “As Time Goes By” in Casablanca during the scene between Sam and Ilsa. Even after the scene changes, Bogart is heard briefly humming the tune while on his fishing boat. At 01:24;48, we see Bacall at the bar humming the tune as she prepares for a performance, which takes place between 01:29:00 and 01:30:35 (compare this performance with “Am I Blue?”). And, finally, “How Little We Know” closes the long cue sequence that began @ 01:31:50 -- it comes in @ 01:38:24 and plays continuously from there to the end, the tune passing into a nondiegetic orchestra for a few seconds with the end credit title.