Song of the Day #10: ‘Stray Cat Blues’ – The Rolling Stones

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m thrilled by the use of a good pop or rock song on the big screen. And as a lover of both film and music, I have often listened to a song and imagined exactly how I would use it in a movie.

I’m sure this is something a lot of us do, matching images to the music we hear. Is it more prevalent for the generation that grew up on MTV and was conditioned to see music accompanied by videos? Or did my parents listen to Frank Sinatra and invent movies in their minds?

I joke with my wife, who always returns to the same image when she hears a song she loves: some variation of “I picture this playing during a scene of a car driving really fast over a bridge.” Sometimes she’ll change it up a bit, and it’s a car driving really fast along the beach.

When I was an aspiring screenwriter, I had what I thought was a great idea for an opening scene. This was back when Pulp Fiction had just come out and rocked my world the way it rocked every movie geek’s world, so of course the movie I wanted to write was pretty much a total rip-off of that one.

We open on blackness, and hear the sounds of a struggle. A sinister voice keeps asking “Is it safe?” Fading in, our hero is tied up and being tortured by a bad guy, who keeps asking that question over and over again: “Is it safe?” (That’s a quote from Marathon Man, incidentally.) The hero clearly doesn’t know what the bad guy is talking about, and screams out something to that effect. “I know you don’t,” says the bad guy, and he moves in to do some more damage.

Quick cut to black, and then ‘Stray Cat Blues’ by The Rolling Stones plays. The first 12 seconds, with those impatient guitar twangs and giddy Mick Jagger grunts and giggles, play over the intro titles “Universal Pictures presents” … “a So-and-So Production” … and then when the song kicks in at the 13-second mark, up pops the title: “PULP FICTION RIP-OFF TITLE HERE” and off we go.

Of course I never wrote any more of the script than that because let’s be honest, it was just an elaborate way to appreciate a really kickass Rolling Stones song. That killer guitar riff is too special to languish in the 8th spot of Beggar’s Banquet. It belongs in a Tarantino movie. If anybody knows him, feel free to pass this along.

3 thoughts on “Song of the Day #10: ‘Stray Cat Blues’ – The Rolling Stones

  1. Amy says:

    🙂 While I’d rather your first production be a film Mom and I could actually sit through without hiding our eyes, that does sound like a compelling opening. Have you checked to see if Quentin is on Facebook? Maybe you can challenge him a piece of flair and your suggestion at the same time.

  2. Amy says:

    That should have said send him a piece of flair or challenge him to some version of Scrabulous. Note to self: Proofread before hitting the submit button.

  3. Dana says:

    I say spend less time on the blog and write the movie:) As for the Stones, I very much like many of their songs, but this one doesn’t grab me (though I could see it working in a Tarantino-esque film).

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