Thursday, May 29, 2008

Greasers Will Still Be Greasers, and Socs Will Still Be Socs

Brothers! Sisters! Lend me your ears,

I can still remember being a 13 year old boy, going to the $3 theatre up the street in Howell, Michigan to see a new movie called The Outsiders. It was a big deal to be a kid, seeing a movie inspired by kids, based on a book written by a teenager.

Legend has it, a class of school kids in Cali loved S.E. Hinton's novel - about three orphan brothers growing up in Oklahoma - so much, they wrote to Francis Ford Coppola, asking him to make a film of the novel. Coppola took the request seriously, read the book, and agreed to make the film. What followed was the making of two films based on Hinton's books(Rumble Fish came after The Outsiders), but not before Coppola assembled one of the most impressive casts of young actors in any film before or since:

C. Thomas Howell, Patrick Swayze, Ralph Macchio, Leif Garrett, Tom Cruise, Rob Lowe, Emilio Estevez, Tom Waits, Diane Lane, Matt Dillon; the list reads like a who's who of contemporary film and television through the end of the 90's and beyond.

Besides assembling an amazing cast, Coppola made an amazing film. Now, The Master has blessed us all with a great DVD.

The Outsiders: The Complete Novel, reinstates previously cut footage, restoring the integrity of Hinton's original vision. I just saw this DVD the other day and REALLY loved it. Most striking are the scenes between Soda Pop (Lowe) and Pony Boy (Howell), late at night, in the bed they share, having an intimate, heart-felt brotherly chat. Lowe rolls over and puts his arm around his younger brother, in what is one of the most moving scenes in the film. This and other moments of closeness between the brothers were removed from the original movie because test audiences snickered at the scenes, projecting unintended homoerotic implications on what is purely a loving sequence between two young boys, trying to look out for each other in a confusing violent world, where they always find themselves on the "outside."

The other revelation in this film is Coppolla's replacing of much of his father's original score with contemporaneous rock 'n roll music. This completely changes the feel of the film, giving it a much more violent and dangerous immediacy. Still, Carmine Coppolla's wonderful collaboration with Stevie Wonder - "Stay Gold" - is still a gem of a song that does the late songsmith proud even after all these years.

Also be sure to listen to FFC's always engaging commentary track for more insight into the making of this wonderful film.

In music news, my new CD - Blue Turns Black - will soon be available on ITunes (USA, UK/Europe, Canada, Japan), Napster, Emusic, Rhapsody, and Amazon.

Check out the links below to preview the new CD, enjoy free downloads from my previous releases, and explore this site.

Be gentle in your sleepy hands on this world.
Be a killer in Heaven.

Joe Nolan

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