Music for the Eyes

The movies have not been kind to music. In fact, the seventh art often relegates scores to positions of pure subservience.

However, in a recent post, cinephile blogger Girish Shambu unpacks the integrity of musical performance captured on celluloid. By dwelling on displays of virtuosity, Shambu examines the strong documentary quality that music brings to fiction films.

Gene Krupa wows Barbara Stanwyck with his matchbox solo in "Ball of Fire"

For instance, in Howard Hawks’ Ball of Fire, legendary drummer Gene Krupa ignites the screen with a solo in miniature:

“[A]s the camera watches from a mere foot away, Krupa plays the tune again, this time on a matchbox with two matchsticks. He spins intricate syncopated rhythms, all the while, miraculously, not letting the matches catch fire until the very end, when he climaxes the performance with a little burst of flame.”

Read the full article, and many delightful meditations on the cinema, at girish.