Music Reviews

American Gigolo



Paul Schrader’s 1980 film, American Gigolo, was, on its face, a rather forgettable, unremarkable film, but has nonetheless managed to became an major influence on our culture. One can hardly imagine MTV without the influence of the film’s visual style. American Gigolo was perhaps the ultimate ’80s film, with jaw-dropping style and virtually no substance at all. It was one of the sexiest films ever made, with some of the least sexy sex scenes ever. But it had visual punch and the music from the father of disco, Giorgio Moroder. This soundtrack, with the hit single “Call Me” by Blondie, became the blueprint for film score for a decade. The heavy synthesized score, laced with motifs from “Call Me,” gives the soundtrack an identity, a personality. Something sorely lacking in recent soundtracks. The disco/new wave vibe works much better in a film like this than, say, a John Williams score. The soundtrack belonged to the movie. It felt genuine. The music felt like the characters and the locations. The re-released soundtrack sounds terrific, and features an eight-minute version of “Call Me.” The shocking thing is that twenty years later, it still sounds wonderful. The drive to the music has not gotten hokey over the years, and with so much electronic music out there today, Moroder’s influence is still being felt, although it seems to be more in the dance club than on the movie screen.

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