15 July, 2007

The Sounds of Andre Benichou

Andre Benichou is considered to be an accomplished classical guitarist. In a parallel career as a soundtrack composer his fusion jazz-electric guitar stylings for a number of mid 1970s Jess Franco films make for fascinating listening. The Gothic organ cues in EXORCISM; the haunting theme heard at the openings of LES GLOUTONNES (credited to Robert Viger ) and LE MIROIR OBSCENE; that same theme is played on the piano by the villain Radeck (Victor Mendes) and as a sort of acid-jazz guitar riff throughout the wild and crazy sexy Eurocrime comedy LES GRANDES EMMERDEUSES. I also like the upbeat wind dominated number which opens LE JOUISSEUR, heard over impressionist style images of the foilage canopy over upscale Parisian boulevards.

Possibly the most memorable of his compositions is the hypnotic and sinister sexual/emotional turbulence evoked by his electric guitar playing the same series of notes over and over and over again at increasingly elevated pitches on the soundtrack of LES POSSEDEES DU DIABLE. It's the music of demonic possession. By the way, the producer of that notorious C.F.F.P. production, Robert De Nesle, is cocredited for the music.

Benichou also scored several Pierre Chevalier-directed comedies for Eurocine and a 1980s French TV show. He is remembered by classical music connoisseur's and rare album collectors for his still sought after 1970 JAZZ GUITAR BACH recording seen at the top of this blog

We'll be discussing the music of this unique composer-performer and the Jess Franco films which he scored in the future. Does anyone else appreciate his sound and know if any Andre Benichou music for Jess Franco films is available on CD anywhere?

Thanks to Francesco Cesari for the image.

(C) Robert Monell, 2007


scott said...

One must also wonder if some of the works he did for Franco ended up with different titles on his own albums too? Or maybe Franco used them from his albums with permission or something.. maybe I am off but who knows.. I love the score for LORNA though and couldn't get the music out of my ehad for days after my first viewing of it.

Robert Monell said...

Good point. I wonder if the music was composed specifically for the films? Some of his music is recycled in several JF films, sometimes without credit, as in LES GLOUTONNES. And yes, the LORNA music is indelible.

Anonymous said...

To: Monell Robert (monell579@hotmail.com)

Hi, Bob,

According to one list I looked at one exists on vinyl.

Title: Musiques de Films

Artist: Andre Benichou

format: LP

label: Barclay

Listed at $155.00 US

I do not know if it's him playing his own music or doing covers of others.


Robert Monell said...

Thanks for that information, Robert. That's quite a steep price US $! I'm not sure either if this music is for the Franco films or others. The listing of the films he scored on the IMDB seems incomplete.

Anonymous said...

Bob, Here's one example: http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=fr&u=http://www.priceminister.com/offer/buy/17843135/Benichou-Andre-Musiques-De-Films-33-Tours.html&sa=X&oi=translate&resnum=3&ct=result&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dbenichou,%2BMusiques%2Bde%2BFilms,%2Bbarclay%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG This one's only $15 Euro, and the cover is same as the second one on your blog. Don't know if it is a current listing, as web pages can be either recent or years old! thanks,Robert

Robert Monell said...

Thanks again, Robert. I'll check it out. I'm quite anxious to get some of his Franco film music on CD.

tubbytoast said...

Here is an interview of the guy at this adress : http://www.guitaresetbatteries.com/rock/four_dreamers_inter.htm

Not very interesting but it's an interview...

Robert Monell said...

Thanks for the link, Tubbytoast. I would like to know a lot more about Andre Benichou and where to get his music.

tubbytoast said...

On the french LP "Musiques de films" by Bénichou, you have 3 tracks called "le miroir".
1rst one is called "theme du film", 2nd "Miroir Bossa" and 3rd "Miroir piano".
On the credits of the french version of the "obscene mirror" ("le miroir obscène" in french), the score is credited to André Bénichou.

Robert Monell said...

Thanks for that information, Tubbytoast. Yes, the score on the Fr version is by AB and the theme du film or Miroir piano must be what we hear during the opening credits. I believe it features a paino. That credit music is also heard in LES GRANDES EMMERDEUSES and LES GLOUTONNES.

sexykino said...

This is slightly off topic, but since we're on the subject of Franco and Music:
Has anyone ever compiled a list of jazz artists referenced by Franco in his films or elsewhere? I figured if anyone would know it would be a poster on this blog. Maybe it could be a future contest?

Btw, this blog makes life worth living!

Robert Monell said...

tw, this blog makes life worth living!

That comment makes this blog worth writing. Thanks, sexykino, and welcome to the blog. If you desire more intensive conversations re JF go to THE WORLD OF JESS FRANCO @ www.cinemadrome.yuku.com