[nm,aa,lfr,sb,jh] Yes (see 5.6.1). But the availability of the soundtrack has waxed and waned since the film's release. It was available in Europe and Australia, but was virtually impossible to find in North America for a long time (I ended up getting my copy through the kind efforts of an online friend in New Zealand). More recently, online sources have generally turned out to be far from permanent.
Currently (August 1999), however, it is available from two sources:
Here are some past - but NOT current - sources of the CD (It's always possible that they'll again become viable):
Again, please try iMusic or AudioPlanet as they're the only currently verified online sources.
Thanks to Katy and KingArthur for these links.
[aa] Here are the appearances of music in "Heavenly Creatures" in the order they appear, along with a description of/quote from the accompanying scene.
X= Not on soundtrack.
[lfr] A working draft of the script builds a number of critical scenes around the use of specific Mario Lanza recordings. The later use of opera, however, with the exception of the aria from "Tosca," is not as well developed at this stage.
As it happens, Pauline Parker actually mentioned in her diary the specific piece of opera used in "Heavenly Creatures," though not at that corresponding point of the story. So Pauline Parker actually chose the music for this part of the film, forty years ago.
Jackson and Walsh would have known from the start of the project about the girls' fixation on and fascination with Mario Lanza, from the published trial proceedings.
ref: Heavenly Creatures, Draft #5, February 7, 1993, Margaret Herrick Library, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Beverly Hills, CA. [Hereafter HC Draft #5, AMPAS]
[lfr] No. Peter Dasent wrote the mesmerizing original score. In the second half of the film, particularly, Dasent's score builds tension and a tremendous sense of momentum. Jackson and Dasent augmented the score with a shrewd choice of prerecorded music, the importance of which is emphasized by reference in the script. (ref. HC Draft #5, AMPAS).
[lfr,dj,kr] In the initial musical motif, the framing reference of the divine is established under the opening titles, with the traditional hymn "Just a Closer Walk with Thee," crisply elocuted by a girls choir. The hymn's lyric foreshadows Pauline and Juliet's association, emphasizing a strong element of longing:
[dj] (traditional, words anonymous, Mosie Lister arr.) [kr]
Chorus: Just a closer walk with Thee,
Grant it, Jesus, is my plea,
Daily walking close to Thee,
Let it be, dear Lord, let it be.
v.1. I am weak but Thou art strong.
Jesus, keep me from all wrong.
I'll be satisfied as long
As I walk, let me walk close to Thee.
v.2. Thro' this world of toil and snares,
If I falter, Lord, who cares?
Who with me my burden shares?
None but Thee, dear Lord, none but Thee.
v.3. When my feeble life is o'er,
Time for me will be no more.
Guide me gently, safely o'er
To they Kingdom's shore, to thy shore.
Quoted from: "Baptist Hymnal" (1975 Edition), Convention Press, Nashville, Tennesee. [dj]
The arrangement of "Just A Closer Walk With Thee" used in "Heavenly Creatures" is: Chorus, verse 1, verse 2, chorus. Verse 3 is not used. Also, the first line of verse 1 was changed to:
Now, I am weak and Thou art strong.
[sh,lw,dj,es,gb,wh,cs,dw] "Just A Closer Walk With Thee" is an American traditional hymn with origins in the American South and whose author is unknown. It is a favorite funeral hymn in the American South; Dixieland funeral processions often feature this hymn and are traditionally led by an opened black umbrella. There were many popular recordings of the hymn made in the 50s and 60s, by country music artists in particular. Some of the more popular recorded covers of this hymn are by:
Sonny Terry & Brownie McGee (in "Best of...") [es]
Van Morrison ("Hymns to the Silence") [gb]
Tennessee Ernie Ford [wh]
Loretta Lynn [wh]
George Martin ("Live & Let Die" soundtrack, inst.) [cs]
It can be found in the following hymnals and song collections:
"Hymns for the Family of God"
"Glory and Praise" songbooks from North American Liturgy Resources.
"Songs of Zion," Abingdon Press, 1981. Hymn #46.
The purpose of this volume is "to develop a songbook from the Black religious tradition to be made available to United Methodist Churches." [from introduction]
"Baptist Hymnal" (1975 Edition), Convention Press, Nashville, Tennesee.
[jp,a,mc,maw] Clearly the filmmakers chose "Just A Closer Walk With Thee" because it introduced into the film several key themes which would reappear throughout the narrative. However, the hymn is not part of the body of hymns which would have been sung by the students of Christchurch Girls' High School in 1952.
The girls' school was set up according to a very slightly- modified English school system. It has been established elsewhere (see 5.4.4) that the whole Christchurch community maintained very strong cultural ties with England. This means that the school would have been tied in religious/cultural matters predominantly to the Anglican Church, i.e. the Church of England.
Consequently, during morning assembly, the girls would have sung hymns selected and adapted from "Prayers and Hymns for Use in Schools," the 'official' hymnal approved by most school Education Authorities in Britain and used throughout the British Commonwealth for many years prior to 1952, or "Hymns Ancient and Modern (revised)." [a] Both "Prayers and Hymns for Use in Schools" and "Hymns Ancient and Modern (revised)" contain a set of hymns deemed "most suitable for Young People" abstracted from the following source:
"Songs of Praise," Enlarged Edition. Percy Dearmer (Words Ed.), Ralph Vaughan Williams and Martin Shaw (Music Eds.). Oxford University Press, London. (c) 1931. reprinted unchanged to at least 1969 (21st impression).
According to the book's Introduction, these hymns were chosen specifically for their cultural relevance to England. "Just A Closer Walk With Thee" did not arise from English cultural roots and it is not contained in "Songs of Praise." Hence it would not have been contained in "Prayers and Hymns for Use in Schools" in 1952, and this has been confirmed [mc,maw].
The school's song was Blake's "Jerusalem"... "And did those feet in ancient times walk upon England's mountains green?..." [note: A more English hymn than "Jerusalem" could not be found. It was and still is absolutely standard fare at morning chapel in English Public Schools. For another first-rate film which also opens very pointedly to a school chorus of a hymn--"Jerusalem," in fact--see Tony Richardson's extraordinary adaptation of Alan Sillitoe's "The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner." jp] The most commonly-sung hymn at CGHS in the early 60s would have been "The Lord's my shepherd, I'll not want..." though plenty of others were sung, too. We also went in for the "Gaudiamus Igatur..." hymn which used to be sung at Oxford University, I believe. I liked "Morning has broken..." by Christina Rossetti. I never sang the hymn used in the film. The hymnbook I used was the same one that had been used for years and years at CGHS. [maw]
It is conceivable that the filmmakers were familiar with popular recordings of "Closer Walk" and recognized that a wide audience would also be familiar with this piece. They may have chosen to use it over some other more 'authentic' hymn because of "Closer Walk's" familiarity, or because they were unable to find an 'authentic' hymn which fit as well with the film's motifs.
However, all of this evidence of deliberate choice on the part of the filmmakers definitely makes "Closer Walk" worth examining in more detail (see 3.1.5).
[jp,lfr] The opening and closing pieces to the film form a symmetric pair. Both mention 'walking together,' as a literal image of a spiritual concept, in their lyrics.
"Closer Walk" is a supplication made by a sinner to a higher authority. The chorus, as mentioned above, is a longing plea for closer association with an object of reverence, and the emotional tone of the piece supports this overall feeling. It is easy for us to imagine Pauline singing this plea to the object of her reverence, Juliet and not Jesus, sometime in the future.
But look at the words. The first verse, is full of irony in the context of "Heavenly Creatures." Her knitted, sceptical brow makes the confession of weakness and the plea "keep me from all wrong" into more of a challenge than a request, and turns "I'll be satisfied as long as..." into something of a veiled threat.
The second and third verses (third not used in the film) are also full of ironic significance to the story. In the second verse, she sings there is noone else who cares, noone who can relieve her burden in "this world of toil and snares." Juliet is the only one who can save her from a life of drudgery and persecution. And to where can she look for peace, for this better life? Why, "to thy Kingdom's shore." To Juliet's world, to the bright and gentle paradise of the Fourth World. Pauline rejoins the singing in the final chorus after being rebuked by the headmistress and she sings "Let it be."
At the end of the film, we are reminded of all these things, painfully and bitterly, through the supremely ironic closing song. Consistent with the circular 'wraparound' timeline of the film, listening to the closing piece we can't help but think back to Pauline's opening hymn, pleading for a "Closer Walk." The closing piece chosen by Dasent and Jackson would have been such a wonderful, perfect response from Juliet. A prayer made, and a prayer answered. The crushing of Pauline's dream is emotionally wrenching for the viewer--the dashing of dreams always is--and this feeling is amplified by the diabolical pairing of the opening and closing pieces. Together, they say "if only..."
[lfr] A distinctive musical motif is established with the boisterous popular tunes of Mario Lanza, who is revealed in the opening scenes to be Juliet's idol. Lanza's singing comes across as antiseptic but rousing "pop opera," particularly in contrast with the later use of Puccini arias. Pauline enthusiastically adopts Juliet's perspective of Lanza as "the world's greatest tenor" and she sees this shared love of his music to be a kind of confirmation that Pauline and Juliet are spiritual sisters.
Lanza's tunes are used as a barometer of Pauline's emotions, in her initial captivation with Juliet (prophetically, with "Be My Love"), in her wavering uncertainty and giddy acceptance of Juliet's flights of fancy ("The Donkey Serenade" from the 1940's musical "Firefly"), in Pauline's dawning awareness of her desire for Juliet through her misguided night with John-the-idiot- boarder (in the faint dementia behind "Finiculi, Finicula") and in Pauline and Juliet's eventual delerious, romantic consummation ("The Loveliest Night of the Year").
There's a song in the air
But the fair senorita
Doesn't seem to care
For the song in the air.
So I'll sing to the mule
If you're sure she won't think
That I am just a fool
Serenading a mule!
Amigo mio, does she not have a dainty bray
She listens carefully to each little tune you play
(A bella seniorita)
Si, si mi muchachito
She'd love to sing it too, if only she knew the way
But try as she may
In her voice there's a flaw And all that the lady can say
Not so fleet as a mosquito
But so sweet like my chiquita
You're the one for me.
(There's a light in her eyes
Though she may try to hide it
No-one can deny
there's a light in her eyes...)
Oh the charm of her smile so beguiled Don Diego
that he rode a mile
for the charm of her smile!
Amigo mio, is she listening to my song?
No, no, mi muchachito, how can you be so wrong?
(A bella seniorita)
Si si la seniorita
She'd love to sing it too, if only she knew the way
Her face is a dream like an angel I saw
But all that my darling can scream
Not so fleet as a mosquito
But so sweet like my chiquita
You're the one for me.
When you are in love
It's the loveliest night of the year
Stars twinkle above
And you almost can touch them from here
Words fall into rhyme
Anytime you are holding me near
When you are in love
It's the loveliest night of the year!
Waltzing along in the blue
like a breeze drifting over the sand
Thrilled by the wonder of you
and the wonderful touch of your hand
My heart starts to beat
like a child when a birthday is near
So kiss me, my sweet -
It's the loveliest night of the year!
[jp] Mario Lanza's popular music may be another "red herring" from Jackson regarding Pauline and Juliet's relationship (see 188.8.131.52). Lanza's popular music paints an emotional tone with very broad strokes indeed, so the romantic target may be obscured. All of Lanza's lush, popular tunes are used in connection with Pauline's visits with Juliet at Ilam. Hence the emotional connection being illustrated may be Pauline's growing friendship with Juliet, or it may be her true romantic love for Juliet, or it may be her captivation with the freedom, culture and refinement represented by Ilam and Juliet.
"Finiculi, Finicula," which accompanies Pauline's night with John-the-lodger, stands in contrast to this theme, but it is not a love song.
Maybe Jackson intended Lanza's songs to be "red herrings" but I must admit they got under my skin and set me up for the emotionally devastating music in the second half of the film.
[lfr,jp] Lanza's return over the end credits with "You'll Never Walk Alone" provides a powerful backdrop (its spiritual tone concluding the reverential thread) that elicits a particularly ironic pathos after the desolation of the final scenes. And it forms a symmetric counterpart to the film's opening hymn. This recursive symmetry at the film's beginning and end is also reflected in the key 'ship' scenes (see 184.108.40.206).
The silent epilogue preceeding the final song informs the viewer of the girls' sentence: incarceration in separate institutions and eventual release on the condition that they never have contact with each other again.
And there is a haunting residue that lingers after the film: what if Mario Lanza is singing on behalf of Honora? What if this is her promise to the girls?
[lfr] "You'll Never Walk Alone" is from Oscar Hammerstein and Richard Roger's "Carousel"(1945). The song is sung by Billy Bigelow to his daughter.
Richard Rodgers (Music), Oscar Hammerstein (Lyrics)
from "Carousel" (1945) Richard Rodgers (Music)
(c) 1945 Williamson Music Co.
When you walk through a storm
Hold your head up high
And don't be afraid of the dark.
At the end of the storm is a golden sky
And the sweet silver song of a lark.
Walk on through the wind,
Walk on through the rain,
Tho' your dreams be tossed and blown,
Walk on, walk on, with hope in your heart
And you'll never walk alone,
You'll never walk alone!
[lfr] The musical shift to opera in the second half of the film makes reference to dramatic predetermination. The lighthearted or melodramatic romance of Lanza's "pop opera" gives way to a more sombre, powerful and genuine emotional tone in the second half of the film. And the clues from the filmmakers contained in the music become more subtle and possibly more significant because of their disguise.
[lfr] When Honora threatens to keep Pauline from Juliet, in despair, Pauline contemplates suicide. During these key scenes, Cavaradossi laments his own imprisonment and impending death, on Pauline's phonograph, from Puccini's opera TOSCA: ("my dream of love is now destroyed forever, my hour is fleeting and I must die despairing!"). This exact piece was mentioned by the real Pauline in a diary entry (see 7.4.3).
In a striking spiritual parallel with the film, the opera TOSCA ends with Cavaradossi lingering in prison as his lover Tosca murders Scarpia to set him free, only to have her plan backfire when Cavradossi is nevertheless executed. This prompts Tosca's own suicide.
E lucevan le stelle...
And the stars were shining...
e olezzava la terra...
the earth smelt sweet...
stridea l'uscio dell'orto...
the garden gate creaked...
e un passo sfiorava la rena.
and a footstep brushed the sand.
Entrava elEa, fragrante, mi cadea fra le braccia.
She entered, fragrant, and fell into my arms.
Oh! dolci baci, o languide carezze,
O sweet kisses, tender caresses,
mentr'io fremente le belle forme discioglica dai veli!
while I, all a-quiver, unveiled her lovely features!
Svani per sempre il sogno mio d'amore...
Vanished for ever is my dream of love...
L'ora e fuggita e
that time has fled and
I die in despair.
E non ho amato mai tanto la vita!
Never have I loved life so dearly!
TOSCA, Giacomo Puccini, English Translation - Joseph Machlis
Taking the association between Cavaradossi and Pauline literally, this piece is a strong clue in favor of a desperate romantic attachment between Pauline and Juliet, the tragic object of her desire. It is particularly affecting to know that Pauline Parker really did turn to this piece in her bedroom when she was alone, in moments of despair.
[lfr] The headlong rush of the film's narrative is ruptured at a critical point by Juliet's poignant a capella rendering of Puccini's "Sono andati?" from LA BOHEME, sung by Kate Winslet.
At this point Juliet has agreed to help Pauline murder Honora and there is at last a calm sense of complete inevitability introduced by this piece. It is as if the girls have finally given up all thoughts of fighting their destiny, and once again there is a strong sense of predetermination, which continues in a quiet, chilling way for the rest of the film.
Juliet's singing begins off-screen with a close-up of Pauline, which fades into a split-screen image with Juliet, followed by a very slow dissolve of Pauline. This sustains the dynamic that the narrative remains from Pauline's point-of-view, and that she is imagining Juliet as a tragic-romantic heroine, singing to her. Also, significantly, the second ship scene, so key to understanding Jackson's view of the girls' relationship, is interleaved with this piece.
In the opera LA BOHEME, the declaration of love is sung by the consumptive, tuberculin Mimi (another striking parallel with Juliet, see 3.1.8) to Rodolpho, knowing she is near the brink of death:
Have they gone?
Fingevo di dormire
I pretended to be asleep
Because I wanted
con te sola restare
to be alone with you
Ho tante cose che ti voglio dire
I've so many things to tell you
O una sola ma grande come il mare
Or one thing, as huge as the sea
Come il mare, profonda ed infinita
Deep and infinite as the sea
Sei il mio amor - e tutta la mia vita.
You are my love - and all my life.
[Giacomo Puccini, LA BOHEME, English translation - William Weaver]
Taken literally, this striking image and these beautiful, tender and tremendously sad words form a strong statement in support of Pauline being deeply, romantically and desperately in love with Juliet.
[lfr] For the final scene, Jackson and Walsh use Puccini's serene "The Humming Chorus" from MADAME BUTTERFLY. The tone of the piece is an extrapolation of the calm, peaceful resignation conveyed prior to this scene by Juliet's aria. Coupling "The Humming Chorus" with the premonition of the violent and bloody murder is ironic in the extreme; the effect is an almost intolerable heightening of anticipation, dread and suspense in the viewer.
The piece begins quietly, as the girls pause for a "last supper" with Honora in the Victoria Park teashop, and continues as they accompany her down the muddy path in extreme slow motion, almost floating, serene and dreamlike. The piece finally ends and there is a brief silence. Then the girls tearfully bludgeon Honora to her death. In a shocked stupor after the real-life murder, the girls stated to witnesses at the tearoom that everything seemed like a dream, and they would soon be waking up.
"The Humming Chorus" occurs late in the third act of MADAM BUTTERFLY, as Butterfly waits up thorugh the night, alone, anticipating the next day to bring romantic fulfillment. Instead it brings her only bitterness, and death.
[jp] Probably not. Although the chosen pieces are charged with emotion, there is nothing light or 'camp' about them. In every case, there are enormous parallels between the original context of the pieces and their context in "Heavenly Creatures." And the lyrics are not used ironically or in any way with tongue in cheek. These pieces paint a consistent picture, both in emotional tone and in explicit lyrics, namely that of a deep, romantic and tragic passion experienced by Pauline for Juliet. These pieces say that Pauline was desperately in love with Juliet.
Peter Gammond. "The Oxford Companion to Popular Music." Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1993. ISBN 0-19-28004-3 p. 330. Lanza, Mario [Cocozza, Alfredo Arnold]
b. Philadelphia 31 Jan. 1921, d. Rome 7 Oct. 1959.
American singer of Italian descent. A stocky, curly-haired prototype Italian opera singer, he had a moderate career in opera and on the concert stage before he became an international star by way of his portrayal of Caruso, his full-throated popularization of the genre, and his recordings of such songs as 'Be my love' and 'Because you're mine.' He appeared in the films:
"That Midnight Kiss" (1949)
"The Toast of New Orleans" (1950)
"The Great Caruso" (1951)
"Because You're Mine" (1952)
"The Student Prince" (1954)
"The Seven Hills of Rome" (1958)
"For the First Time" (1959)
Since his early death he has been accorded a cult reputation.
M. Bernard: "Mario Lanza" (NY 1971)
R. Strait and T. Robinson: "Mario Lanza: His Tragic Life" (NY 1980)
[aa] Although the original FAQ erroneously reported that Mario Lanza committed suicide, this is not the case. He did however suffer an early death in Rome, about two months before the real-life Heavenly Creatures were released from incarceration in New Zealand. Ian D. Campbell writes:
[Mario Lanza] had no suicidal tendencies, or reason. There is an unsubstantiated rumour that he was murdered by the Mafia, but this too is not really credible. He was in such poor health, they had no reason to kill him. He drank and ate himself into a very poor condition, and died in Rome of a heart attack.
[jp] Bert enquired if Pauline was listening to the famous Irish singer 'Murray O'Lanza.' Then he lip-synched into a mackerel. That Bert was a real kidder...
[jp] "He's Italian, Dad!" Of course we know, from the info above, that Pauline was wrong: Mario Lanza was really an American who traded on his Italian ancestry.