French Music in Classic Movies – Part 2

Our second trip to the movies to discover the music of France that have been featured in classic Hollywood films introduces even more brilliant songs and great films. In part one we started the credits rolling with Bucket List, Madagascar 3, A Good Year and French Kiss.

In this part of the blog we listen to songs by Madeleine Peyroux, Lucienne Boyer and Rina Ketty which all take center stage of the films that they appear in. The music is not just an accompaniment to the movie but forms an essential part of the overall enjoyment of the audience.

Love from Paris – J’ai deux Amours

John Travolta has become a screen legend ever since Saturday Night Fever and now is one of the most sought after actors in Hollywood. His ability to play a diverse range of characters has given him a depth of talent that few can compete with. Although the actual Paris section of Love from Paris only lasts for barely three minutes it is a powerful segway to the plot of such an amusing and funny film. J’ai deux Amours can be played and enjoyed for almost any reason, mostly when doing something active. And it really suits a movie that has so much action crammed into it.

Casablanca – Parlez-Moi d’Amour

Casablanca is one of the greatest movies ever, with a backdrop of a war setting the scene. It is without doubt one of the greatest collaborations of two famous actors on screen, namely Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. Speak to Me of Love has a dreamy and lilting melody that is perfect to depict two lovers whispering into each other’s ears and making everything better.

Charlotte Grey – La Java Bleue

La Java Bleue was originally performed by Frehel in 1939 who was famed for being the grandest dames of ball musettein France. It is driven by the accordion and was one of the most popular songs of its era. The song was written to celebrate the sultry dance called java, which was a version of the Waltz that was far more scandalous.

La Mer – La Mer

Possibly one of the best title tracks to ever represent a movie, the story goes that the composer Charles Trenet only took ten minutes to write this classic song whilst he was traveling on a train. Many people in numerous languages have sung this song, and it has appeared in many movie soundtracks including, Finding Nemo, and Love Story.

The song is perfect for La Mer the movie, as it depicts in the words and the melody exactly what the film is all about. The song is timeless, it is also whimsical and should not be taken seriously. But mostly the song is immensely happy and refers to a time long gone where trivial pursuits were not frowned upon, which is exactly what the film tries to refer to. French music has a style all of its own, and although is defiantly patriotic in the main it also carries great nuances that differ greatly but create unique atmospheres when combined with cinema. French music also is particularly evocative in portraying scenes of France as you would expect.