Classic films in music videos: “Gimme Some More” by Busta Rhymes

This is June’s edition of Comet Over Hollywood’s film references in music videos.

Psycho_(1960)Composer Bernard Herrmann’s music is constantly sampled in contemporary pop culture; from commercials to spoofs on TV.

Several popular music artists have incorporated Herrmann’s music into their songs or music videos. For example, Lady Gaga used part of the “Vertigo” score in her 2011 “Born this Way” music video, which Comet Over Hollywood highlighted in 2013.

Another popular artist who sampled Herrmann’s work is American rapper and producer Busta Rhymes.

In his 1998 single “Gimme Some More” from the album E.L.E., Rhymes uses a part of the opening sequence from Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 film “Psycho,” composed by Herrmann. This song reached number one on the U.S. Billboard R&B/Hip Hop charts in 1999.

The sample of the opening score is used as throughout the song as the main beat.

Below is the song and the opening credits from Psycho for comparison: 

Love Bernard Herrmann? Our friends are making a documentary about Herrmann called “Lives of Bernard Herrmann.” Check them out on Facebook and Twitter.

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Classic films in music videos: “Last Cup of Sorrow” by Faith No More

This is April’s edition of Comet Over Hollywood’s film references in music videos.

The band Faith No More, categorized as alternative metal and experimental rock, pays homage to the Alfred Hitchcock directed film, “Vertigo” (1958) in their music video “Last Cup of Sorrow.”

The band, formed in 1981 and who is coming out with a new studio album this year, released in 1997 “Last Cup of Sorrow” on their sixth album called “Album of the Year.”

FNM_-_Last_Cup_BlueThe video doesn’t just reference “Vertigo” like many music videos do, but actually plays out various scenes from the movies but in a silly, satirical manner. The single’s album art also copies the film poster’s artwork.

In the video, lead singer Mike Patton is dressed as James Stewart’s character, Scottie Ferguson, while actress Jennifer Jason Leigh is dressed as Kim Novak’s character, Madeleine. Some of the camera angles and zooms also try to mimic the cinematography by Robert Burks under Hitchcock’s direction.

Here are a few scenes from “Vertigo” with Kim Novak and James Stewart that are directly referenced in the video:

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Classic films in music videos: “Express Yourself” by Madonna

This is September’s edition of Comet Over Hollywood’s film references in music videos.

metropolisMadonna has always mixed pop culture into her music and music videos- especially classic films:
-Frequently wearing clothing and bleached blond hairstyles reminiscent of Marilyn Monroe
-Paying homage to Monroe’s “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” number from “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” (1953) in her “Material Girl” music video.
-Listing several classic actresses in the lyrics of “Vogue” including Rita Hayworth, Bette Davis and Lana Turner.

Madonna’s 1989 music video for “Express Yourself” is no exception.

The music video pulls inspiration from the 1927 silent film “Metropolis.” Directed by Fritz Lang, the German Expressionist styled and futuristic film was a pioneer for the science fiction genre. In the film “Metropolis,” the futuristic city has a strong divide between the working class and the planners of the city.

Similarly in the music video, Madonna plays a glamorous lady with muscular men as her workers and she picks one of them to “express his self” with her. Futuristic like factories and skyscrapers with a German Expressionism tone are the backdrop.

A city scene from "Metropolis" and "Express Yourself."

A city scene from “Metropolis” and “Express Yourself.”

“All the imagery we wanted—and I had a few set ideas, for instance the cat and the idea of Metropolis,” Madonna said in an interview. “I definitely wanted to have that influence, that look on all the men—the workers, diligently, methodically working away.”

The music video ends with the phrase: “Without the Heart, there can be no understanding between the hand and the mind. This is a reference to a very similar quote from “Metropolis, “There can be no understanding between the hand and the brain unless the heart acts as mediator.”

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Classic films in music videos: “Head On (Hold On to Your Heart)” by Man Man

This is July’s edition of Comet Over Hollywood’s film references in music videos.

The band Man-Man, categorized as “experimental rock,” uses several themes influenced by the 1950s in their music videos.

In their video “Piranhas Club,” a little boy starts a 1950s-like “biker gang” with his friends. The music video “Rabbit Habits” is shot in black and white and a girl turns into a werewolf. She befriends another of her kind in town and the two go on a date.

But in their video “Head On,” the band uses multiple film clips from 1950s and 1960s horror, crime and noir films that correspond with the lyrics in a humorous way.

Classic actors such as Marie Windsor, Victor Jory, Steve McQueen, Dennis Hopper and Barbara Stanwyck can all be seen in the music video.

Some of the films highlights include: 
The Amazing Mr. X (1948)  starring Turhan Bey, Lynn Bari, Richard Carlson, Cathy O’Donnell- beginning to :10, 3:52 to 3:55
Teenage Devil Dolls (1955), also known as “One Way Ticket to Hell”– :28 through :33
Night Tide (1961) starring Dennis Hopper- :44 through :55, 1:40 to 1:54, 2:41 to 3:00, 3:34 to 3:36
Carnival of Souls (1962)– :56 through 1:02, 2:35 to 2:40
Dementia 13 (1963)–  1:04 through 1:11, 2:01 to 2:06, 3:27 to 3:33, 3:37 to 3:40
Cat Women of the Moon (1953) starring Marie Windsor, Victor Jory, Sonny Tufts, Douglas Fowerly- 1:11 to 1:14, 1:55 to 2:00, 2:11 to 2:17
The  Great St. Louis Bank Robbery (1959) starring Steve McQueen- 1:20 to 1:29, 2:18 to 2:34, very last shot
War of the Planets (1966)– 1:33, 3:12 to 3:28
The File on Thelma Jordan (1950) starring Barbara Stanwyck, Wendell Corey, Paul Kelly- 3:56 to 4:15

Mary is chased by zombies in "Carnival of Souls" (1962)

Mary is chased by zombies in “Carnival of Souls” (1962)

This video cracks me up with the way some of the clips and lyrics are paired. For example, “There’s a hole your head” and someone is decapitated. I also chuckled when the organ solo corresponded with the girl from “Carnival of Souls” playing the church organ.

I tried to include the time markings for the scenes I was most certain. If you spot any other movies, comment below!

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Classic Films in Music Videos: “Girlfriend in a Coma” by The Smiths

This is January’s edition of Comet Over Hollywood’s film references in music videos.

Morrissey’s music and music videos are influenced by his love for film.

The lead singer of the 1980s band The Smiths references a 1960s British film in his music video for the 1987 song “Girlfriend in a Coma.”

As we see Morrissey’s face singing the foreground, scenes from the 1964 film “The Leather Boys” are playing the background.

The Leather Boys” stars Rita Tushingham and Colin Campbell. The film follows teenagers Dot (Tushingham) and Reggie (Campbell) who get married. Their marriage quickly turns sour as Reggie spends more time with his motorcyclist friends and the couple starts to live separately.

Writer Shelagh Delaney on the cover of the "Girlfriend in a Coma" album. ""Work Is a Four-Letter Word" played on the B-side.

Writer Shelagh Delaney on the cover of the “Girlfriend in a Coma” album. “”Work Is a Four-Letter Word” played on the B-side.

“The Leather Boys” boys is an early example of films that start to break the Hollywood Production Code that was put in place in 1934, particularly as it hints that one of motorcyclists is .

Along with the film references in the “Girlfriend in a Coma” music video, the album cover features writer Shelagh Delaney. Delaney wrote “A Taste of Honey” (1961) and “Dance with a Stranger” (1985).

Check back next month for the next classic film reference in a music video. 

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Classic Films in Music Videos: Aeroplane by Red Hot Chili Peppers

This is November’s edition of Comet Over Hollywood’s film references in music videos.

Director/choreographer Busby Berkeley was known for his elaborate nature and kaleidoscope-like musical numbers.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers used scenes from Esther Williams films such as "Million Dollar Mermaid" for inspiration in their music video "Aereoplane"

The Red Hot Chili Peppers used scenes from Esther Williams films such as “Million Dollar Mermaid” for inspiration in their music video “Aereoplane”

His work has been mimicked in movies such as “The Great Muppet Caper” to music videos such the the 1995 Red Hot Chili Peppers song “Aeroplane.”

The music video begins with girls in gold sequined body suits.

Esther Williams in her gold sequined costume for "Million Dollar Mermaid" (1952)

Esther Williams in her gold sequined costume for “Million Dollar Mermaid” (1952)

Berkeley directed swimming star Esther Williams in two films, “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” (1949) and the biographical film on Annette Kellerman, “Million Dollar Mermaid ” (1952.)

In “Million Dollar Mermaid,” Williams wears an aluminum crown and a gold swimsuit, made of 50,000 sequins. Williams said in her autobiography, “The Million Dollar Mermaid: An Autobiography” that it weighed her down like chain-mail.

When Williams dove into the water, the crown hit the water, she broke three vertebrae and was in a full body cast for six months, she wrote.

Also, in the Red Hot Chilli Peppers video, girls swing on trapezes- like in “Easy to Love” (1953) or “Million Dollar Mermaid” (1952). At another part in the video girls dive sideways into the pool, reminiscent of a scene from “Bathing Beauty” (1944).

Another example of a Busby Berkeley kaleidoscope-like shot can be scene at 2:51, which is similar to scene from “42nd Street” (1933). 

Thank you our friends over at Hollywood Revue for telling us the references in this video a few months ago!

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Classic movies in music videos: Countdown by Beyonce

This is October’s edition of Comet Over Hollywood’s film references in music videos.

Beyonce’s channels Audrey Hepburn in her music video “Countdown” released in October of 2011.

About 15 seconds into the video, Beyonce can be seen wearing a beatnik style outfit complete with a black turtleneck, black pants, white socks and black loafers.

Beyonce channels Audrey Hepburn from  "Funny Face" (1957) in her 2011 video "Countdown"

Beyonce channels Audrey Hepburn from
“Funny Face” (1957) in her 2011 video “Countdown”

The outfit is reminiscent of the outfit Audrey Hepburn wears in the 1957 musical “Funny Face.” In the film, Hepburn plays an intellectual shop girl who is transformed into a model.  Hepburn is taken to Paris but has more interest in talking with the beatnik crowd.

Audrey Hepburn dances in a beatnik cafe in "Funny Face" (1957)

Audrey Hepburn dances in a beatnik cafe in “Funny Face” (1957)

The white socks Hepburn wears in the scene caused trouble on set.

Hepburn thought all black, including the socks looked better. Director Stanley Donen said if she wore all black, she would fade into the the background in the dimly lit scene and there would be no definition in her movement, according to the Sam Irvin book “Kay Thompson: From Funny Face to Eloise.”

Hepburn burst into tears, went into her dressing room but came out wearing the white socks. Later she sent Donen a note saying he was right about the socks, according to Irvin.

Along with “Funny Face,” Beyonce also briefly references “Fame,” Twiggy in a Vogue shoot, “Dreamgirls” and “Flashdance.”

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Classic movies in music videos: Otherside by the Red Hot Chili Peppers

This is July’s edition of Comet Over Hollywood’s film references in music videos.

The 1920 German silent film “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” is the story of a Francis recalling his memory of a carnival show. Dr. Caligari has a somnambulist Cesare who wakes up during the act. When Cesare is going to stab Francis’s fiancee, he kidnaps her instead. The film ends with an odd twist.

Scene from "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari" (1920)

Scene from “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” (1920)

The video for the Red Hot Chili Peppers single “Otherside” from 2000 was influenced by the 1920 film starring Conrad Veidt.

“I was on a crazy sleeping schedule and I saw this movie on TV and I saw this movie that looked so bizarre,” bassiest Michael “Flea” Balzary said in an interview. “It stuck in my mind and I wanted to make a rock movie to me.”

Caligari’s German Expressionism art style was the inspiration for the video, but the plot is not used with in the video.

Filmed in black and white, the video was modeled after German Expressionism, they used Cubism and M.C. Escher art work, said video director Jonathan Dayton.

“We did look at Caligari, and we looked at a lot of German Expressionist film,” Dayton siad. But it was also very important to avoid ‘Caligari.’ It was both inspiration and something to work around, because it has such a strong, specific style, and there have been other videos that have completely ripped it off.”

Check back next month for August’s classic film in music videos.

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Movies in music videos: 1983 by Neon Trees

This is June’s edition of Comet Over Hollywood’s film references in music videos.

In the film “Big,” a 12-year-old boy makes a wish on a Zoltar fortune teller machine at the fair to be grown up. The next day, he is a 30-year-old man in the form of Tom Hanks.

Twelve-year-old Josh wishes to be older in "Big" (1988).

Twelve-year-old Josh wishes to be older in “Big” (1988).

Neon Trees lead singer Tyler Glenn channels the 1988 movie in his 2010 music video “1983.” However, Glenn does the opposite.

In the music video, Glenn goes to the fairground as an adult in a suit and makes a wish on a Zodiac fortune teller machine. He is transported to younger days, dressed in 1980s punk clothing and hanging out with his friends at the fair.

Big” may not fit into the definition of a classic film, but it is great movie and notable that it is well enough remembered to be in a contemporary music video.

Check back next month for July’s classic film in music videos.

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Classic film in music videos: Oh Father by Madonna

This is May’s edition of Comet Over Hollywood’s classic film references in movies.

Citizen Kane (1941) was named the greatest film of all time by the American Film Institute in 1998.

But prior to this, Madonna used themes from the Orson Welles film in her 1989 music video “Oh Father,” according to writer E. Ann Kaplan.

A scene similar to Citizen Kane in Madonna's video "Oh Father"

A scene similar to Citizen Kane in Madonna’s video “Oh Father”

The whole video is shot in black and white. At the beginning of the music video, a priest is looking out the window, watching a little girl spin and play in the snow. Inside, the little girl’s father is lying over her mother as she dies.

Madonna's video was modeled after his scene of Agnes Morehead as Mary Kane watching young Charles Foster Kane playing outside. (Screen capture by Comet Over Hollywood)

Madonna’s video was modeled after his scene of Agnes Morehead as Mary Kane watching young Charles Foster Kane playing outside. (Screen capture by Comet Over Hollywood)

The scene is similar to young Charles Foster Kane playing in the snow as his parents are inside, preparing to send him away with guardian to be raised in luxury. When Kane is taken away from his parents, he acts rebellious and is expelled from several universities.

The song and video were Madonna’s attempt to accept her mother’s death and her father remarrying.

“I had to deal with the loss of my mother and then had to deal with the guilt of her being gone and then I had to deal with the loss of my father when he married my stepmother. So I was just one angry abandoned girl. I’m still angry,” she is quoted as saying in a 2002 biography “Madonna: An Intimate Biography” by Randy Taraborelli. 

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