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Miguel Andrade

The Altman/Williams colaboration

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I guess everyone knows about their two feature film colaborations -- "Images" (1972), released as a promo LP (and then bootleged), and "The Long Goodbye" (1973), partially released by Varese Sarabande last year -- but does anyone know anything about "Nightmare in Chicago" (1964, an episode of the Kraft Suspense Theatre, a.k.a. "Once Upon a Savage Night") and "The Katherine Reed Story" (1965)?

On the JW Web Pages, there used to be a short entry mentioning "Nightmare in Chicago", but "The Katherine Reed Story" wasn't listed at all.

Any info on this will be much apreciated.

Miguel

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Miguel,

I have never seen Nightmare In Chicago but my film review guide says it is about the hunt for a serial killer named Georgie Porgie. The movie was apparently filmed on location in Chicago and the reviews I've seen of it have all been favourable. My book describes it as 'above average'.

There is an unusually eloquent summary by someone who has seen it at www.imdb.com. He even mentions the score by John Williams.

Damien

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I resurrect this thread beacuse I found some contradicting information in the John Williams Screen credit site.

As we all know now, as you said Miguel, and as the liner notes of Nightwatch say, Nightmare in Chicago was an episode of Kraft Suspense theatre (once upon a Savage night) that was retitled and released in 1964 as a TV movie.

and here's the screenshot from the JW credit site:

64_KST_OnceUponASavageNight_title2_cropped.jpg

So, what is this coloured screenshot that is also on the same site?

(they added maybe colored credits in the front?)

Nightmare_In_Chicago_Title.jpg

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Actually, that opening clip from ONCE UPON A SAVAGE NIGHT was once available on youtube. Sadly not anymore. It has some very dramatic Williams music in it.

THE KATHERINE REED STORY will never see the light of day, being a private short movie Altman made for his wife Kathy Reed, but I'm hoping some more obscure Altman/Williams collaborations will be unearthed; stuff from their mutual tv days and such.

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I do apologise for reviving a long forgotten topic like this, but I am really curious as why Williams and Altman never collaborated again after The Long Goodbye... Was there a particular reason for their departure?

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I do apologise for reviving a long forgotten topic like this, but I am really curious as why Williams and Altman never collaborated again after The Long Goodbye... Was there a particular reason for their departure?

From what I've read over the years, it seems like they just drifted apart. No particular reason.

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That's quite a shame... Images and The Long Goodbye are the most creative scores Johnny has ever done, in terms of how they are connected with their films... I think only Close Encounters does something like in the Altman/Williams collaboration.

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That's quite a shame... Images and The Long Goodbye are the most creative scores Johnny has ever done, in terms of how they are connected with their films... I think only Close Encounters does something like in the Altman/Williams collaboration.

I agree. We really lost a great, progressive partnership there (of course, the Spielberg replacement ain't too shabby either, but not quite as daring and avantgarde most of the time). The other Williams/Altman things are pretty cool, though....the tv shows etc.

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That's quite a shame... Images and The Long Goodbye are the most creative scores Johnny has ever done, in terms of how they are connected with their films... I think only Close Encounters does something like in the Altman/Williams collaboration.

I agree. We really lost a great, progressive partnership there (of course, the Spielberg replacement ain't too shabby either, but not quite as daring and avantgarde most of the time). The other Williams/Altman things are pretty cool, though....the tv shows etc.

Yes this is one collaboration that would have been interesting to see develop in the movies. From what I read these two gentlemen had fun while collaborating and Altman really intergrated the music into his films as another character. I just saw the Long Goodbye for the first time a while ago and it was mesmerizing to see the music treated as such a persistent and pervasive element which was so strongly woven in the film's fabric. The opening scenes where the score flits from one scene to the next with split second tranformation from car radio to super market muzak was both clever and fun.

But it is a shame they never collaborated on a film after Images, which is another great example of highly avant garde inventiveness Altman brought out in Williams.

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I don't know if this is online anywhere at all but back in about 1987, the BBC screened a programme about John Williams in which he was interviewed by Andre Previn. They discussed work in the film industry and of course the aesthetics of Williams' approach to writing music for film. They discussed Images specifically (the first time I had had heard of that project) and it was fascinating to hear JW's brief, but thoughtful, description of the experience.

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I've read somewhere -- can't really recall where anymore -- that Williams was scheduled to score Altman's "California Split", which featured the late Barbara Ruick Williams. Ms. Williams passed away suddenly while filming in location (Atlantic City if memory serves), at his hotel room with a brain hemorrhage. Williams was, understandably, devastated and withdraw from the project. The film was dedicated to her, and checking imdb, no composer is credited. I've watched the film a few years ago, and in fact can't recall any music...

A few years later he was scheduled to work again with Altman in "Quintet" (1979), but the film ended up being scored by Tom Pierson -- never seen the film or heard the score, but I'm told is a quite good one. I imagine that at that point he was starting to settle with Spielberg and was requested all the time to other big budget scores, and eventually schedules conflicted.

I never really checked -- I do have the BluRay at home and all -- but I once was told that Altman mentioned Williams on the audio commentary of "M*A*S*H", not as a composer, but as a friend.

So I would say that they did drift apart, remaining good friends, and that started with the traumatic event of Williams' losing his wife.

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I'm the guest editor of a Norwegian film magazine next year, and I've chosen the topic "composer/director relationships". I'd like to do an article myself on the Williams/Altman collaboration.

 

So just running it by my fellow hardcore researchers, in case I've missed something. This is what I have listed/own:

 

Kraft Suspense Theatre -- "Once Upon a Savage Night"/NIGHTMARE IN CHICAGO, "The Hunt" and "The Long, Lost Life of Edward Smalley"'

The NIGHTWATCH pilot

The KATHRYN REED short

IMAGES
THE LONG GOODBYE

 

I see that Altman is also credited with three Kraft Mystery Theatre episodes, but do we know if any of them have Williams scores? I know they used three of Williams' episodes from ALCOA, and he presumably scored 3 new ones in the third and final season, but I don't believe we have their names.

 

[Edit: Nevermind. I see now that all three Altman episodes of MYSTERY were in season 2, hence before Williams was involved]

 

 

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Working on my Altman/Williams article.

 

I've lost all my Williams research, but does anyone know of any interview quotes with Williams where he talks about his collaboration with Altman? I seem to remember a couple, but have no idea how to find them.

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1 hour ago, Jay said:

 

Brilliant, thanks. Come to think of it, there are a couple of quotes in the IMAGES CD booklet too.

 

But I was wondering if there were any more general remarks about Altman that he's done? Guess I could dig through that old interview thread (I keep losing the friggin' link to that thread!).

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