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Ran Blake: From Music to Film and Back

By Published: January 9, 2004

RB: Well I think it because it was a part of my childhood--- I discovered [the film] Spiral Staircase [directed by David O. Selnick] in ’46; A world of mystery but its not quite supernatural, ghost, or horror and there isn’t blood, and it’s not big city crime, and I guess— why is it?—why do some people like gardenias? Really even at this age—I’m going to be 70 in a year and I still don’t know why. There’s some bad film noir. My favorite director [is] Claude Chabrol, but there's a lot of variety—there can be a romantic, a fantasy film noir, a more biting noir, etc.

AAJ: But you like the noir that’s more shaded or gray right?

RB: Yes I do like a few sun clouds—its great when there’s a moment of happiness, but it’s more subtle and often it’s interior and it’s a transference of guilt, it’s just not somebody [going] bang! bang!—its how like a [Alfred] Hitchcock character sometimes is accused by the police and sometimes she or he are very innocent but you're always wondering and sometimes there are great visual shots in the dark and in candlelight. I could go on and on...

AAJ: Well how has that grayness affected your musical sight—what’s the connection?

RB: I think—well I don’t do much psychoanalysis of myself---I don’t know it just does. I think because I watch the movies and then I go to the piano. It's different than like a conservatory and budgets and all. Like [the film] Vertigo [ directed by Alfred Hitchcock], my month is not complete if I don’t see it--- there’s James Stewart looking at Kim Novak looking at her mothers painting and there you see her looking backwards, even if sometimes they’re playing con games there's all those sub meanings. There is feeling in that aloneness, going back to the past, the nostalgia.

AAJ: Who introduced you to Noir?

RB: Oh I snuck there, I must of read the papers in Hartford and Springfield Massachusetts I didn’t call it noir I just went to the movies—I remember I had a piggy bank with pencils— and I snuck in one day and the manager noticed me at the theater and said “you’ve been here two or three times this week what would your parents say?” I would hide in the back of theater—all people under [age] 14 had to out of the theater at 6pm—I knew which back door to sneak out of. I could come back into the theater but then my parents started getting suspicious so they sort of banned [it], they said I could see other movies but they didn’t want me to see anything of this nature, I mean the story goes on and on. Well, just a how does one fall in love? or why do some people like scotch and somebody else jack daniels?

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