I saw the excellent film “Argo” over the weekend, and it is soooo worth your time and energy. Those of us of a certain age remember all too well the Iran hostage crisis of 1979-1980, but if we remember these particular events at all, we only remember the lies we were told about the six Americans who escaped some 2 months into the ordeal, while 52 remaining hostages were kept 444 days. This movie combines elements of “Wag The Dog,” “The Sting” and “Oceans 11” to deliver a gripping thriller that details the now-declassified CIA plot to rescue these six (who were able to escape the initial embassy takeover, then hid out at the home of the Canadian Ambassador), using a far-fetched cover story that cast them as Canadian filmmakers, scouting locations for a science-fiction action movie set in the Middle East. I won’t spoil any more of the “based on a true story” plot, save to say that Ben Affleck not only delivers a white-knuckled, ticking time bomb of tension, he also completely nails the looks and sounds of late 70’s fashion and music (in case you think, as I did, that he was a little heavy handed with eyeglass frames and mustache shapes, stick around for the closing credits for side-by-side views of the actors and the actual diplomats).
But back to the soundtrack. I was never a big Rolling Stones or Van Halen fan back then, but “Little T and A” and “Dance The Night Away” were far more ubiquitous back then than the Joy Division/English Beat/The Jam stuff I was into, so those tunes bring the era back even better, even for me.
Later in the film, Led Zeppelin’s “When The Levee Breaks” provides the backdrop for one of those drinking sessions that’s more about trying to create false courage and real anesthesia than it is about celebrating anything, and while it was close to a decade old at that point in time, Zep’s “ZOSO” 4th LP maintained its stamp on long-haired America’s psyche well into the 70’s and maybe beyond. Another great pick.
Here’s where I run into trouble remebering the other great songs in the film, so lets look to the official soundtrack for a list:
2. A Spy In Tehran
3. Scent Of Death
4. The Mission
5. Hotel Messages
6. Held Up By Guards
7. The Business Card
8. Breaking Through The Gates
9. Tony Grills The Six
10. The Six Are Missing
12. Drive To The Airport
13. Missing Home
14. Istanbul – The Blue Mosque
16. Cleared Iranian Airspace
That’s right; the official soundtrack features ONLY the songs from the film’s original score written by Academy Award-nominated composer Alexandre Desplat. Not that it’s not a wonderful score, but I can’t be the only one looking for the period stuff, at least on a list!
I recently looked up the soundtrack to another great film from earlier this year, “Celeste and Jesse Forever,” and found a great blog-brother HERE. There, Fauxmat blogger Andrew lamented that the soundtrack to that film (a delightfully diverse mix of lost 70’s bubblegum, vintage soul, ambient chill and Lily Allen) was as-yet unreleased, then found his site inundated with 15000+ hits, as he was nearly the only Google-hit for “Celeste and Jesse Forever” Soundtrack.
May the same calamity befall me!
Sample the Argo score soundtrack HERE.