Raging Bull: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Raging Bull: The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack


First Appeared in The Music Box, August 2005, Volume 12, #8

Written by John Metzger


"When you think of moments from your own life, you remember feelings and the way that different sights and sounds and textures connect to those feelings," writes director Martin Scorsese in the liner notes to Raging Bull: The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack. "For all of us, the places we grew up and the feelings we experienced within those places remain inseparable."

This simple philosophy summarizes precisely what it is about Scorsese that distances him from his peers. Throughout his film-making career, he consistently has immersed his characters within the sights, sounds, and textures of the worlds that surround them, and in doing so, he has succeeded in transforming them into living, breathing entities to which an audience can relate fully. Itís impossible to imagine Good Fellas without the songs of Tony Bennett, Bobby Darin, and Derek and the Dominoes simply because the aural and visual components of the movie are so indivisible. Such was the case, too, with the making of Raging Bull. In adopting Pietro Mascagniís Cavalleria Rusticana: Intermezzo as the filmís unofficial theme, Scorsese added new dimensions to the composition while effectively underscoring his tragic tale in which love is reduced to all-consuming jealousy and in which punishment is a substitute for confession, penance, and absolution. "I need no shackles to remind me," sings Russ Columbo on Prisoner of Love to which Bing Crosby responds on Just One More Chance, "Iíve learned the meaning of repentance; now, youíre the jury at my trial."

In the early phases of his career, Scorsese already had demonstrated a unique knack for employing music in such a manner as to infuse his films with the intimate aura of reality, but Raging Bull was the project that carried his vision into an entirely new and different realm. With the help of Robbie Robertson, Scorsese selected the material that was best suited to the atmosphere that he was trying to convey, and in presenting songs that ranged from Louis Prima & Keely Smithís Just a Gigolo/I Ainít Got Nobody to Nat King Coleís Mona Lisa and from Frank Sinatraís Come Fly with Me to The Heartsí Lonely Nights ó the duo added additional commentary that seemed to spring from within the soul of the filmís central characters, primarily Jake LaMotta.

So intertwined is the story with its accompanying music that those who have seen Raging Bull likely will be able not only to identify precisely the moments in which each track was utilized but also to recognize instantly the specific thought that was meant to be revealed. The problem, however, comes for those who havenít seen the film because without the storyline, the songs lose some of their potency. Nevertheless, Raging Bull: The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack is still a superb collection that artistically fuses together an array of opera, pop, jazz, and blues selections in order to sketch an impressionistic portrait of its own emotional journey. starstarstar Ĺ

Raging Bull: The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
is available from Barnes & Noble. To order, Click Here!



1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!


Copyright © 2005 The Music Box