Daniel J .Whiteâ€™s lush romantic overture for Pierre-Claude Garnierâ€™s directorial debut of 1973, â€˜Le Tango De La Perversionâ€™. As it plays in the opening credits, the red-headed vixen, â€˜Lorettaâ€™, goes through her morning toilette in the ornate rooms of her recently inherited mansion, (a ‘shooting accident’ having eliminated her husband.) The same theme will return in the heat of later sexual conquests such as that of an unscrupulous insurance salesman, before playing out the conclusion, when the law finally catches up with her.
The original orchestration assigned the melody to a flute, with a piano accompanying in the style of Rachmaninoff. Enormous arpeggios span the entire keyboard and such a continuo would probably have been laid down by White himself, coolly directing the small ensemble from the comfort of his first instrument. A swinging drumbeat also gives the sound a â€˜Musakâ€™ feel, while a small brass section fills out the harmonies. I have tried to imitate these various instruments, (besides the very difficult piano part), in this humbler solo arrangement.
â€˜Le Tango De La Perversionâ€™ is an obscure Belgian/French co-production and Patrice Rhommâ€™s screenplay is an obvious reincarnation of Billy Wilderâ€™s Paramount classic of 1944, â€˜Double Indemnityâ€™. MiklÃ³s RÃ³zsaâ€™s Oscar-nominated score had served as a key commentator in this complicated crime drama between a provocative housewife, the husband who stands in the way of her fortune, a corrupt insurance salesman and the claims investigator who must sniff it all out. These various characters are all adapted into Rhommâ€™s version of the events, which proceeds in a much more torrid fashion, (as the title promises), and while Daniel J. Whiteâ€™s original music score could not reach the symphonic heights of his Holywood predecessor, it still stands on its own merits, coming from one of his finest creative phases. The score does not actually feature a â€˜tangoâ€™ theme per se, but it is clear from Rhommâ€™s title that music was always going to be an integral part of this story.
Garnierâ€™s film was shot in October of 1973, as evidenced by a copy of â€˜Le Chasseur FranÃ§aisâ€™ which we see â€˜Lorettaâ€™ flick through in the opening scenes, in her search for another wealthy widower. Whiteâ€™s music score was recorded the following year by â€˜Grande Avenueâ€™, in Paris. This publishing house was based in Avenue Hoche, not far from the Arc de Triomphe (which became their logo, printed on tape covers and sheet music scores.) Interestingly they were also just a couple of blocks away from the central office of â€˜EurocinÃ© Filmsâ€™ at 33 Champs-Ã‰lysÃ©es, so itâ€™s clear why they also published Whiteâ€™s scores for the following films that same year –
The Black Countess (JesuÌs Franco)
Tendre Et Perverse Emmanuelle (JesuÌs Franco)
The Man With The Severed Head (Juan Fortuny)
La Maison Des Filles Perdues (Pierre Chevalier)
Les Filles Du Golden Saloon (Pierre Chevalier and Gilbert Roussel)
These scores were all recorded between March and August, 1974, for films that were at least co-produced by â€˜EurocinÃ© Filmsâ€™, so their boss, Marius LesÅ“ur, obviously had close ties to â€˜Grande Avenueâ€™, while his music man, White, could quickly move back and forth between their offices.
Some tracks from these other scores were subsequently released on Whiteâ€™s library albums (to try and recoup production costs that the film releases themselves never would), but sadly the original music for Garnierâ€™s film was never heard again.
ValÃ©rie Boisgel, who played the central femme fatale, was regularly interviewed at the time of the filmâ€™s release in March 1974 by the likes of â€˜Cinema Xâ€™ and â€˜Sex Stars Systemâ€™, in both English and French. She was fiercely critical of the new wave in French X films, which ironically she also began to champion at the time, and itâ€™s no surprise that she quit the genre when it really got stuck into its hard-core phase later in 1973, and instead went on to distinguish herself as a playwright and novelist.
â€˜Le Tango De La Perversionâ€™ was itself publicised in these magazines and a memorable shot of JoÃ«lle Coeur brandishing a snooker cue also made its way onto the front cover of â€˜Euro Cinemaâ€™, however the film itself was only given a limited release in France. Go Video acquired the film in 1981, and it was released on tape in the UK as â€˜House of Perversityâ€™ and later as â€˜Sex Crazyâ€™. With the tagline â€œErotic sex drama at its best!â€, it is clear what genre Garnierâ€™s film would be left to rot in.
Even if the various ingredients never came together to form a classic, they can still be appreciated individually – Rhommâ€™s funny dialogue, Garnierâ€™s surreal direction, Boisgelâ€™s highly charged performance, and Whiteâ€™s dreamy music score are all on top form. Maybe a new restoration and release would elevate this old picture into something better, or maybe it is best just left as an obscurity, and its value derives solely from the fact it is so hard to findâ€¦.
I am just an amateur and do not own any of this.