Welcome back to BCB After Dark: the online hangout for night owls, early risers, new parents and Cubs fans abroad. Bring your own beverage. We’re still workshopping the slogan.
As always, everyone is welcome to the BCB After Dark party. We do appreciate the late-nighters who comment and get the party started but the rest of you are more than welcome to continue the conversation through the morning.
Last time I asked who you thought the Cubs second baseman would be in 2021. With 55 percent of the vote, you picked Nico Hoerner to get the most innings at the keystone position. Eric Sogard hadn’t signed yet and wasn’t one of the choices, but I don’t think he would have changed the vote much.
Our musical interlude tonight has a backstory. As I wrote when I came back to work here, I spent much of 2020 locked in my house with few or no sports on, so I spent the time giving myself a lesson in the history of cinema. One of the films I watched was director Louis Malle’s 1958 film Elevator to the Gallows or Ascenseur pour l’échafaud in the original French. The film itself is a kind of missing link between the Hollywood film noir of the late-40s and early-50s like Double Indemnity and the later French New Wave films such as Jean-Luc Godard’s classic Breathless. (And if you haven’t seen those two films already, you definitely should right away.) The plot is pretty standard fare. The young, pretty wife (Jeanne Moreau) of an older, rich businessman plans the murder of her husband with the help of her lover. After the murder, things start to go wrong. There’s also another subplot about a different couple that got wrapped up in the murder story when they steal the intended getaway car.
The plot doesn’t make the film important and while Moreau and her co-star Maurice Ronet turn in great performances, that’s not what makes the film significant. Two things make the film a must-watch. The first is the gorgeous cinematography by Henri Decarë. His beautiful black-and-white street scenes of 1950s Paris at night are a prelude to the work he would later do in the French New Wave in films such as François Truffaut’s classic The 400 Blows.
The other reason this film is a must-watch is the decision to ask Miles Davis to create the soundtrack. Davis was well-known among jazz fans in 1957, but you’d still get a shrug from the general public if you mentioned his name. Davis was in Paris in November of 1957, playing with drummer Kenny Clarke and three other local Paris sidemen. He watched the film once, made a few notes and then brought in his local quintet. They recorded the soundtrack while watching the film live with no rehearsal and no written music. Davis was just entering the peak of his career and the result was brilliant. It was the only film that Davis ever did a score for.
Here’s Jeanne Moreau walking through the streets of Paris, saying almost nothing while Davis’s music plays.
I don’t know how anyone can watch that and not want to know what’s going to happen to that woman. And while you may have a different definition of “cool” than I do, that scene is pretty much my definition of the word.
If you want to listen to the entire original soundtrack, it’s here. You can watch Elevator to the Gallows on HBO Max. Breathless is there too. Double Indemnity you’ll have to rent on Amazon or wherever you rent movies or you’ll just have to wait until it shows up on television again.
OK, so I thought this was a baseball discussion and not a film studies and jazz class. Today’s topic is manager David Ross. He’s had one year on the job so far and he’s got a career winning percentage of .567. Of course, it was an insane season like no other season before it and the Cubs got bounced out of the playoffs in two games by the Marlins.
So what grade would you give him so far? Sure, the fairest grade to give him at the moment is an incomplete, but since when have fans ever been fair about the manager? What do you think he’s done well? Where has he fallen short? Is he the right man to lead the team through the next phase of what we hope is a Cubs dynasty?
Vote in the poll and answer the questions below. We’ll host this party again on Monday.
What grade would you give David Ross as a manager so far?
This poll is closed