A to Z Challenge: G (John Williams’ film scores)

*Read John Williams’ biography here

A Guide for the Married Man
This 1967 comedy stars Walter Matthau and was directed by Gene Kelly. The story follows Paul Manning, who has discovered his friend and neighbour, Ed, has been cheating on his wife. Ed explains the tactics of men who have successfully committed adultery which tempts Paul to also cheat.

While you watch the opening credits you might notice that John Williams is still known as Johnny Williams for this movie (the last time it appears this way in a movie credit; in 1968 for the TV movie Heidi he is credited as John Williams).

The title song was performed by The Turtles. While John Williams composed the music, the lyrics were written by Leslie Bricusse.

The music is definitely from the 60s and has been classified as “radio pop” which I think defines it well. It was thought the song was going to be a hit but it couldn’t crack the charts.

I find the song to be very generic in its sound (maybe that’s why it wasn’t a hit?). But the thing that I find fascinating is the opening scene to the movie (which you can view in the clip below with the theme song). I would very much doubt this would be allowed today, even though I found it funny.

Generic song or a standout?

11 comments on “A to Z Challenge: G (John Williams’ film scores)

  1. I think you’re right there – it would be considered way too un-PC today! But Walter Matthau was lovely and goodness, doesn’t he look young in that scene!

    As you say, very 1960s. I can’t imagine singing this song, myself, or even remembering it, but interesting to see that our amazing composer did some frivolous stuff!

    • Walter Matthau does look young, Sue. It’s funny how times change and what was considered humourous back then is just un-PC now!

  2. Fun, poppy song for me so long as I don’t focus on the lyrics…LOL!
    I was a young child then so that was my worldview growing up – men at the centre of everything, men’s lives were the important ones…and women were only props or plot devices, a ball and chain, or a temptation/conquest.
    How did women get through that time with sanity intact?! My mom was busy at home with 3 little ones and in-laws living in the other half of the house and it must have taken a huge toll.

    Deb

  3. Totally agree that this opening scene would not be approved for today’s viewing audience! lol And also that it’s a very catchy song!

    And, of course, I LOVE Walter Matthau! I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything where he’s quite so young looking though! He and Jack Lemon were a great pair.

    • I love Walter Matthau (and The Odd Couple). I still think he is the best looking Einstein (I.Q. with Meg Ryan).

      It is a catchy song. Very boppy =)

  4. He really did a variety of work before he was considered a genius, didn’t he? Even his less-consequential work was done well. Leslie Bricusse is a great lyricist.

  5. I’m at school so I cannot play the video. (Quietly working class.) But I remember this movie. There’s a certain type of ’60s movie–very lightweight, kinda silly–that I enjoy watching on TV. I had no idea that John Williams composed the score. This must have been early in his career.

    • It was early, Liz. And you are right, it is that lightweight, silly, easy watching style of movie. Shame you couldn’t watch it but yay on the quietly working class!!

  6. Oh my gosh, Johnny Williams?!? How old was he?? This is all very fascinating. The clip is campy and funny for its time, but I for one am glad we’ve moved at least a little bit past these stereotypes!

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