Little Black Book
Film released by Revolution Studios (2004)
"Seconds before opening the metallic case I envisioned all of the evil flowing into the world. I was Pandora... and then I got over it."
"Omissions are betrayals."
No score soundtrack available.
Music clip one, 0'34"
(266Kb) [tinkly LBB theme, taken from DVD menu]
Music clip two, 3'00" (1,370Kb) [end credits suite. See description at 1:42'00"]
Little Black Book somehow feels like a film that had all the right ingredients but didn't quite get the script and its tone right. It stars Brittany Murphy as a Diane Sawyer wannabe who is tempted to find out about her man's past girlfriends when she is working as co-producer of a confrontational chat show, headed by an underused Kathy Bates. In this she is abetted by co-worker Holly Hunter. Somehow, though, despite the flashbacks and occasional slapstick, it is difficult to enjoy this movie either as a romance, growing-up, light comedy or cynical view of Jerry Springer-style shows, because on all counts it pulls its punches. And it isn't as realistic or psychologically knowing as it thinks it is either, instead, leaving its characters rather less sympathetic than they really should have been.
Nevertheless (sorry about the film rant there), Chris Beck delivers the tinkly score the film doesn't quite deserve, sugaring it with a lightly romantic flavour that hopefully sets the tone the makers desired, and doing his usual understated magic underscore for the more playful scenes. This is a real hidden gem, showing how the composer can manipulate a few simple themes and ideas to match the descending fortunes of the main character.
Below is the usual rough cue-by-cue commentary, minus the ubiquitous (but for once genuinely relevant) Carly Simons songs. Note the economy in thematic material types which binds the score together. The recognizable LBB theme and a cheeky marimba/string underscore (less memorable, but this isn't its point) are the two main pillars from which almost everything develops. At low points (e.g. 1:09'08" and 1:11'24") the LBB theme can slow almost to a halt, obviously following the heroine's fortunes, and add beauty and pathos where the film needs it.
N.B. The Kippie Kann Doo jingle was composed by Theodore Shapiro. Many thanks to CB for this interesting detail.
0:04'30" - Strings, then piano, quiet and unassuming,
hinting at the main 'LBB theme', building to the happy tinkly full version.
0:06'31" - LBB theme over Murphy's first view of the television show 'Kippie Kann Do', broadening to a more sedate string version, with piano rellegated to accompanying role.
0:09'59" - The mouse. Brief mischievious string cue.
0:16'38" - 'But does it reveal who your true friends are?' Marimba/strings underscore [X], slightly cheeky.
0:18'37" - The first revelation: marimba/strings underscore.
0:20'00" - Soft version of LBB theme, with a tinkly twist.
0:23'15" - Cheeky underscore with plenty of string pizzicato: the barfing supermodel.
0:26'10" - Supermodel interview, and the palm. Marimba/strings underscore (follows the action closely), slightly cheeky. [X] Clarinet also enters with a casual theme; and some glissandi strings help out. Cue ends at 29'53" with a hint of the piano-tinkly orchestral colour (with tremolo strings) as the palm is investigated.
0:33'57" - Hunting for warts. Cheeky underscore, with glissandi and pizzicato dominating. A slight return at 36'47", re: the picnic with the dog.
0:38'56" - Eventful doggie walking. More [X], with clarinet.
0:40'34" - Cheeky. Easy version of cheeky music: pizz strings with clarinet, and a snippet of string melody.
0:41'39" - Dreamy strings, scene change.
0:43'00" - The pictures. Cheeky marimba [X], moves into staccato strings, with a brass zing.
0:46'28" - Hockey stick answerphone murder. Mostly tense pizz string.
0:52'48" - Throw-away cheeky underscore.
1:06'46" - Piano version of slightly-cheeky, which heralds the clarinet return. Brief.
1:09'08" - Warm string version of the LLB theme. Melancoly, beautiful, opening out into fuller orchestra with flute leading.
1:11'24" - Pared-down piano development of part of the LLB theme (almost skirting round it emtirely).. then oboe or cor anglais, and then low strings entering, and finally a muted ensemble.. constantly shifting but subtle orchestration.
1:28'07" - "You shouldn't have to tell me everything, Derek." Smoothe sombre string/flute underscore, rising a little, towards a plaintive piano development of the LLB theme, emphasising the characteristic 'turn' in the melody, as do the variations that follow.
1:30'28" - "How would you be able to look at yourself in the morning?" Another melancoly development of the theme. This shifts into related underscore for the post-show sadness.
1:34'12" - "You go find your own happy ending.." Piano figuration briefly returns, heralding a smoothe string/oboe-led development of the LLB theme, major-key again, with the piano tinkle providing some impetus.
1:42'00" - Return of Beck's score at the end of the credits, exhibiting the LLB theme (soft, not overbearing), and shifting to marimba-led cheeky music, including the pizzicato strings and even the clarinet theme.
Film music credits