Classic films in music videos: Born this Way by Lady Gaga

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

Vertigo (1958)

Vertigo (1958)

Last March, Kim Novak was up in arms when “The Artist” (2011) used a portion of Bernard Herrmann’s score from the Alfred Hitchcock film “Vertigo” (1958).

It’s surprising that she wasn’t equally upset after Lady Gaga used Herrmann’s prelude to the film “Vertigo” in her music video “Born This Way.”

Born This Way” was the first single released from the same name album “Born This Way.” Both the video and single debuted in February 2011.

The five minute video begins with Lady Gaga speaking over the “Vertigo” dream like music, calling the video and song “the manifesto of Mother Monster.”

Born this Way video:

Vertigo theme:

As referenced in a 2010 Comet Over Hollywood post, Lady Gaga has referenced Alfred Hitchcock in other songs such as “Bad Romance” with the lines:

““I want your psycho, Your vertigo stick, Want you in my rear window, Baby you’re sick””

Gaga also references Kim Novak in the single “So Happy I Could Die” from the album The Fame Monster with the line “I am that Lavender Blonde.”

In her early days of acting, Kim Novak was publicized as the Lavender Blonde or the Lavender Girl at Columbia studios. They tinted her blonde hair with lavender highlights, frequently dressed her in shades of purple and forced her to decorate her apartment in the color, according to the book “Leading Ladies: The 50 Most Unforgettable Actresses of the Studio Era.”

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Classic films in music videos: “Time is Running Out” by Muse

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

The English alternative band Muse released the track “Time is Running Out” in the United Kingdom in 2003 and the United States in 2004.

The single was from their third studio released album, Absolution, but was its breakthrough hit in the United States.

In the music video, the band sings on a round table as military personnel sit and dance around the table.

The "war room" in "Dr. Strange Love: or How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the Bomb."

The “war room” in “Dr. Strange Love: or How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the Bomb.”

Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (40th Anniversary Special Edition)

The room in the video resembles the “war room” from “Dr. Strange Love or: How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the Bomb” (1964), a comedy satirizing the nuclear war scare of the 1950s and 1960s.

“Time is Running Out” by Muse:

Lead singer of Muse, Matthew Bellamy said in a 2009 interview that foreign policy books influence his lyrics. This may explain his Dr. Strangelove reference in the video.

“George Orwell’s “1984,” you can hear a bit of that creeping into the album (Resistance). I read a lot of foreign policy, political think-tank type books. The Grand Chessboard, by Zbigniew Brzezinskiis a book about America’s desire for hegemonic primacy, world dominance, how they manage the Eurasian land-mass. That sort of Dr. Strangelove style thinking. I love these sort of mad thinkers,” Bellamy said.

The war room scene from “Dr. Strangelove”:

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Classic films in Music Videos: “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” by Kenny G

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

Going with the Christmas season, is the song “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” played by Kenny G in 1997.

Though I’m not a Kenny G fan, I have to admit this is a very heartwarming video.

It stars classic film star Burgess Meredith, who’s career ranged from “Idiot’s Delight” (1939) to his role of the Penguin in the 1960s Batman TV show.

Meredith appears to be a projectionist at a movie theater who is sad, lonely and missing his family at Christmas.

He reminisces on past Christmases by watching clips of classic holiday films such as “Meet Me in St. Louis” (1944), “Miracle on 34th Street (1947), “It’s a Wonderful Life” (1946), “Little Women” (1949), “A Christmas Carol” (1938) and “Bells of St. Mary’s” (1945).

Meredith was 90 when this video was filmed. He died that same year of melanoma and Alzheimer’s disease, making this video a little more heartbreaking than it already is.

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Classic Movies in Music Videos: Gone by *NSYNC

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

Last October for Halloween, Comet spotlighted the Backstreet Boys “Everybody” music video because of its horror film themed video. It only seems appropriate to blog about their “competitors” *NSYNC a year later.

Justin Timberlake spoofing Charlie Chaplin in the music video “Gone.”

This month, I’m spotlighting *NYNC’s 2001 single, “Gone.” The video is probably the most boring video the band ever made. Filmed in black and white, Justin Timberlake dramatically and sadly sings about the loss of his girl friend and the other band members randomly pop up behind him during the chorus.

However, the first 40 seconds of the video are of the band pretending to be in a silent video with Timberlake dressed as a clean cut version of Charlie Chaplin’s character, the Little Tramp. We see this unexplained nonsense again the last 10 seconds of the video.

I’m not sure why *NSYNC decided to put a silent film spoof at the beginning of the video, unless they figured the video was so boring that it needed to be lightened up a bit.

Check back next month for another classic film reference in music videos!

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Classic Movies in Music Videos: Give Me All Your Luvin’ by Madonna

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

2012 marks the 50th anniversary of Marilyn Monroe’s death on August 5, 1962.  Turner Classic Movies is dedicating today to Marilyn Monroe with a whole day of her film’s during their 10th annual Summer Under the Stars Salute.

As we all know, everyone and their mother has imitated Marilyn Monroe in some shape or form. Comet has even already spotlighted two music videos where Lana Del Rey and Madonna both paid tribute to the 1950s sex symbol.

Well 27 years after Madonna dressed up like Marilyn in “Material Girl,” the singer paid tribute to her again in her 2012 single “Give Me All Your Luvin’.”

But Madonna isn’t the only one in the video who donned short blond curls and a sexy white dress. Her two famous back-up singers in the song, MIA and Nicki Minaj also dress up like Monroe.

The Marilyn moment happens at 2:08 to 2:54 minutes into the video:

Check out other posts on Marilyn Monroe during the TCM Summer Under the Stars blogathon at http://scribehardonfilm.wordpress.com/ and http://sittinonabackyardfence.com/ for the month long classic film celebration!

Check back in September for another classic film reference in music videos!

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Classic film in music videos: National Anthem by Lana Del Rey

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

As we just pass the Fourth of July, it only seems appropriate to have a song with patriotic lyrics like “Red, white, blues in the sky, summer’s in the air and baby heaven’s in your eyes.”   However, Lana Del Rey’s “National Anthem” video isn’t a summer, patriotic explosion.

The video starts off with Del Rey as Marilyn Monroe singing “Happy Birthday” to President John F. Kennedy.  Some may find it odd that Del Rey wore her hair naturally-not Monroe bleached blond-but even more interesting that JFK is played by rapper A$AP.

The rest of the video is Lana Del Rey (playing a dual role) as Jackie O. with the president and their children.

The director, Anthony Mandler, of the video said:

“And I think the Kennedy relationship, certainly the triangle of Marilyn Monroe and Jackie O and Jack Kennedy, became this kind of ideal of what seemed perfect from the outside was maybe rotting from the inside,” he continued. “And Lana was really interested in exploring this loss of innocence, this idea that what you think you’re experiencing is maybe not what it’s always going to be. “

For comparison, here is Marilyn Monroe singing happy birthday to JFK inMay 1962:

Lana Del Rey’s “National Anthem” as both Marilyn and Jackie:

It’s not surprise that Del Rey donned a Jackie O. look. Her fashion and music style is 1960s inspired and she calls herself a version of Nancy Sinatra.

I think it’s interesting that a few songs recently use Monroe’s and Kennedy’s relationship as inspiration, including Lady Gaga’s “Government Hooker.”

Check back in August for another classic film reference in music videos!

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Classic film in music videos: Material Girl by Madonna

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

In honor of Marilyn Monroe’s 86th birthday on Friday, June 1,  Comet is spotlighting a Madonna’s 1985 music video “Material Girl.” I remember seeing this music video when I was little and loving the glamour, and Madonna’s wardrobe.

Madonna and Marilyn

It wasn’t until much later that I realized she was recreating Monroe’s “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” musical number from the 1953 film “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.”

Madonna was a fan of Marilyn Monroe and wanted to pay homage to her in the music video:

“My favorite scene in all of Monroe’s movies is when she does that dance sequence for ‘Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend’. And when it came time to do the video for the song [Material Girl], I said, I can just redo that whole scene and it will be perfect,” Madonna said in 1987 to the New York Daily News.  “Marilyn was made into something not human in a way, and I can relate to that. Her sexuality was something everyone was obsessed with and that I can relate to. There were certain things about her vulnerability that I’m curious about and attracted to.”

Here are “Material Girl” (1985) and “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend” for comparison:

Madonna-

Marilyn-

Notice the similarities in the red stage, the male dancer’s costumes and the pink dresses both women wear.

Trivia:
-When Marilyn is singing “No no no,” singer Marnie Nixon was dubbing her.
-You can see George Chakiris, who later won Best Supporting Actor for “West Side Story,” as a back-up singer.
-Jessica Pickens (me) is not a Marilyn Monroe fan.

Who hasn’t tried to look like Marilyn? Here is a link I came across with other actresses who dressed up as Marilyn Monroe. Pretty interesting, most of them are terrible.

My apologies for not having classic film references in April or May, guys.  McCrea in May contest winners will be announced soon!

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Classic film in music videos: Wind it Up by Gwen Stefani

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

Lead singer of No Doubt, Gwen Stefani made two solo albums after the band’s split- Love.Angel.Music.Baby (2004) and Sweet Escape (2006). Personally, I was a big fan of both and disappointed Gwen hasn’t made another, but that’s beside the point.

“Wind it Up” is the first single released from the Sweet Escape album and it loops part of the Rogers and Hammerstein song “Lonely Goatherd” throughout the song.

Still from the 1965 film "Sound of Music" starring Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer and Eleanor Parker.

In the music video Stefani recreates several scenes from the 1965 film version of “Sound of Music” including:
-Dressing up in a (rather short) nun costume
-Dancers in blond wigs and plaid uniforms dressed to look like the Von Trap children
-Recreating the “My Favorite Things” scene by singing in bed to the dancing Von Trap children
-Gwen looks at curtains and makes them into outfits, like Maria does in “Sound of Music”
-Playing a giant key like a guitar, much like the “Do Re Mi” scene

What do you think?

Before the video was released in 2007, Gwen Stefani got Julie Andrews’ approval to recreate her iconic role in the video.

“She actually called and asked if I would mind if she used it,” Julie Andrews said in 2007.  “She does a lot of good yodelling. She’s great. She yodels better than I do. It’s a wonderful video too.”

Check back in April for the next classic film reference in music videos.

Contest info coming soon!

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Classic film in music videos: Good Boys by Blondie

Norma Shearer and Lon Chaney

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

Blondie, rock star of the 1980s, released an album in 2003 called “The Curse of Blondie.” This album included a new wave pop song “Good Boys.”

The music video is in black and white and modeled after a silent film and is very similar to the Lon Chaney movie “He Who Gets Slapped” (1924).

In the music video one clown, dressed in white, is in love with a beautiful circus performer. She laughs at his love and keeps company with a mean clown who wears black. At the end of the video, the white clown gets killed by a tiger.

This is similar to “He Who Gets Laughed” because Lon Chaney is in love with Norma Shearer, who also laughs at his love. She is in love with horseback rider John Gilbert, but is determined to marry an evil rich man. In the end, Lon Chaney dies from a tiger attack like in the video and it is caused by the rich baron.

What do you think?

Check back in March for the next classic film reference in music videos.

February’s beauty tip is also coming soon!

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Classic movies in music videos: Tonight, Tonight by Smashing Pumpkins

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

The famous scene from “A Trip to the Moon” (1902)

In light of the hit film “Hugo” (2011) that pays tribute to French film pioneer George Méliès, I wanted to share the 1996 video “Tonight, Tonight” by Smashing Pumpkins from their album Mellon Collie & the Infinite Sadness.

The film plays off the theme of “A Trip To The Moon & The Extraordinary Voyage” (1902) where people get into a strange flying contraption-this time something that looks like a zeppelin and not a spaceship- and flies to outer space.  The flying vehicle passes the same moon from “A Trip to the Moon” that the spaceship flies into and the passengers meet similar space monsters as in the film.

The video further pays tribute Méliès by having a scene with mermaids-referencing another short film he made-and having a ship float by at the end named the S.S. Méliès.

The idea for the music video came from the video’s directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris because the album art for Mellon Collie & the Infinite Sadness reminded them of a silent film.

The band was surprised by the music video’s success and fan response and it won six awards at the MTV Video Music Awards in 1996: Video of the Year, Breakthrough Video, Best Direction in a Video (Directors: Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris), Best Special Effects in a Video (Special Effects: Chris Staves), Best Art Direction in a Video (Art Director: K. K. Barrett and Wayne White) and Best Cinematography in a Video (Director of Photography: Declan Quinn).

Though Méliès was a pioneer of modern film, he couldn’t keep up with the changing times and died bitter and poor; working selling toys in a train station- as we see in “Hugo.”

I am pleased to see that not only the recent film and this music video give him the recognition he deserves.

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