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.

Webmaster's additional:

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

**Opening credits**
[None for music]
**End credits**
Music supervision by Randall Poster
Music by Christophe Beck
Music editors: Fernand Bos, Lisa Jaime
Assistant music editor: David Klotz
Conducted by Pete Anthony
Orchestrations by Kevin Kliesch
Score recorded and mixed by Chris Fogel
Orchestra contractor: Sandy De Crescent
Music preparation by Joann Kane Music Service
Score coordinator: Andrew Kaiser
"You're so vain"
Written and performed by Carly Simon
Courtesy of Elektra Entertainment Group
"That's the way I've always heard it should be"
Written by Carly Simon and Jacob Brackman
Performed by Carly Simon
Courtesy of Elektra Entertainment Group
Written and performed by Carly Simon
Courtesy of Elektra Entertainment Group
"Nobody does it better"
Written by Marvin Hamlisch and Carole Bayer Sager
"The candy man"
Written by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley
"Ice is workin' it"
Written by Robert Van Winkle, et al
Performed by Vanilla Ice
Courtesy of SBK Records
"Ring my bell"
Written by Frederick Knight
From Handel's "Messiah"
"Let the river run"
Written by Carly Simon
Performed by The St. Thomas Choir of Men and Boys
Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
"You light up my life"
Written by Joseph Brooks
"Let the river run"
Written and performed by Carly Simon
Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Written by Chip Taylor et al
Performed by Shaggy
Courtesy of Geffen Records
"Gimme some lovin'"
Written by Steve Winwood, et al
Performed by Steve Winwood
"Nobody does it better"
Written by Marvin Hamlisch and Carole Bayer Sager
Performed by Carly Simon
Courtesy of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Music Inc.
"The star spangled banner"
Written by Francis Scott Key
"We have no secrets"
Written and performed by Carly Simon
Courtesy of Elektra Entertainment Group
"Simply irresistible"
Written and performed by Robert Palmer
Courtesy of EMI Records
"Bad case of loving you (Doctor, Doctor)"
Written by John "Moon" Martin
Performed by Robert Palmer
Courtesy of The Isaldn Def Jam Music Group
"I'm a woman"
Written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller
Performed by Marilyn Keller and Rue de Blues
Courtesy of Crescent Records
"Tained love"
Written by Ed Cobb
Performed by Soft Cell
Courtesy of Some Bizarre / Mercury Records Limited
"Beautiful boy (Darling boy)"
Written by John Lennon
"Looking through Katherine's house"
Written and performed by Carly Simon
Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
"You belong to me"
Written by Carly Simon and Michael McDonald
Performed by Carly Simon
Courtesy of Elektra Entertainment Group