Tuesday, 11 January 2011

The Quiller Memorandum

Wednesday's Child, the theme song of The Quiller Memorandum, a thriller starring George Segal and Senta Berger in the 1966's, is an exquisitely beautiful, sad tune. The opening line being, Wednesday's Child is a child of woe... Max von Sydow with his eerie, mysterious, oblong face and some other great actors like Alec Guinnes also play their roles in memorable performances, but it is the theme music that I remember the most, more than the names of the actors or the titles of the cast.
What makes one remember something for so long? What makes something find a lodging space in your memory bank for 50 years? Goodness gracious, already that long? And still the haunting tone of that melody seems to ruffle my feathers every time I hear it played or play it on the piano late at night when everyone's gone to bed.
When a violin plays the tune it tends to tug at one's heart strings even more...
I don't want to dwell on the performance, just the memory, the Quiller Memory, the face of George Segal, tilting his head to pay attention to what someone has to say. He also played in The St. Valentine's Day Massacre. I remember how he cheerfully greeted his mother on that fatefull day before he got massacred with his other mobster friends in a garage on the 14th of February. Although George Segal is known as a comedy actor as well, it is that serious face, that wry smile and the frowning and questioning eyes that seem to be imprinted indelibly on my mind. But more than my memory of his spy role in Quiller Memorandum, I wonder about the beauty of that tune...it calms the soul and stirs the spirit and carries one away to another world of beauty and peace and joy...there must be a heaven after all if there is such heavenly music!
Beethoven confessed that he heard music from another realm, from the centre of the Universe somewhere...perhaps we can hear it too... if we listen!
Funny thing, strange and eerie just as the John Barry score of The Quiller Memorandum, he sadly passed away in January on the 30th at the age of 77. Hans Zimmer who won an Oscar for the score for Inception (De Capprio starred and Ridley Scott directed)wrote an article for Time's Milestones on p.13 of the February 14 issue, 2011 in which he describes how he too remembers The Quiller Memorandum score. 'Sometimes the reason we have such deep and lasting emotional connections to movies is the music and everything that made the mood of those movies...' He was a Yorkshire man and even in his brightest work, you could always see the moors and the fog, even his cheeky stuff had an underlying darkness.
John Barry also wrote the scores for Zulu (which launched a young Michael Caine), Born Free, Out of Africa, Dances with Wolves, On Her Majesty's Secret Service (Bond), and Hammet. What he had learned from Barry is that mood is good, according to Zimmer.
Amazing that the Quiller tune drifted passed me at that time, so strongly that I could not ignore it, I had to write about it and remember it. And like Zimmer I cannot recall all the details of the Quiller Story, but the tune stayed in my memory bank. And it was in the same month that the composer passed away. Are we all in touch with the Infinite? Do we feel what is to come before it does? When will we wake up to this reality?
Astonishing...but true.

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