Remembering Penny Marshall

Today we mourn Penny Marshall, the trailblazing actress and director, who died on Sunday at the age of 75. Marshall began her career in the entertainment industry in the late 1960s, acting in commercials. In the 1970s, she moved to television shows, playing supporting roles in shows like The Odd Couple before landing a starring … Continue reading “Remembering Penny Marshall”

Today we mourn Penny Marshall, the trailblazing actress and director, who died on Sunday at the age of 75.

Marshall began her career in the entertainment industry in the late 1960s, acting in commercials. In the 1970s, she moved to television shows, playing supporting roles in shows like The Odd Couple before landing a starring role in the comedy Laverne and Shirley. It was on this show that Marshall first began directing, and by the time the show ended she had directed four episodes.

In “Laverne and Shirley”

Over the next decades, Marshall directed cinematic classics like A League of Their Own and Big. With Big, Marshall found commercial and critical success—it was the first movie directed by a woman to own over $100 million at the box office. She also directed Awakenings, an Oscar nominee for Best Picture, and produced Cinderella Man.

Marshall on the set of “A League of Their Own” with Tom Hanks and Geena Davis. 

Take a moment to remember Penny Marshall today and check out her filmography here at Media Services. We actually have a good selection of her acting and directing repertoire.

  • Awakenings (DVD 8861)
  •  A League of Their Own (DVD 1384)
  • Laverne and Shirley, Seasons 1-8 (DVDs 14464-14471)
  • Renaissance Man (DVD 1529)
  •  Big (DVD 4644)
  • Cinderella Man (DVD 9276)
  • Portlandia Season 2 (DVD 7572)

Yvette Horner and the Authenticity of the Soundscape

On June 11th, 2018, the famed musician Yvette Horner passed away. She was perhaps best known here in the states as the accordion-playing symbol of the Tour de France, though she did have a career in other media and a following for her music (and possibly hair) alone as well, playing the accordion until she … Continue reading “Yvette Horner and the Authenticity of the Soundscape”

On June 11th, 2018, the famed musician Yvette Horner passed away. She was perhaps best known here in the states as the accordion-playing symbol of the Tour de France, though she did have a career in other media and a following for her music (and possibly hair) alone as well, playing the accordion until she was 80. Accordions aren’t just incredibly irritating, they’re also incredibly heavy, peeps. So, that’s tough.

This obituary brought up an interesting point, though, in terms of film making. Her sound is iconic, and recognizably associated with the Tour de France. Now, one thing that really interests me is the capacity for film to preserve cultural in unusual ways. And one of those ways, of course, is sound.

In the case of Yvette Horner, she appears unmentioned in The Triplets of Belleville riding in the caravan and–listen carefully–as the soundtrack:

Does the reference work without a visual cue? I think it would. The visual celebrity caricature is interesting but that kind of thing shows up all over cartoons. The Looney Tunes cartoon “Hollywood Steps Out” is a really famous example. (You can see it on HU DVD 12736.) But, I would argue, you could take the visual caricature out of Triplets of Belleville, leave in the accordion soundtrack, and it would be just as much and just as definitively a reference to Yvette Horner even though she would appear neither in voice or visage.

This is even more interesting in the case of cartoons, because, as is true of the visual aspects as well, there’s nothing that exists accidentally in animation. Crew do not accidentally wander into the frame. Animal actors do not accidentally injure extras. Clouds do not accidentally assemble themselves into dirty words. Cartoons are made. Intentionally. So someone made this sound-scape intentionally as well.

I suppose the difficulty here is, this kind of thing is insanely hard to catch. But particularly now that places like Paris have licensed buskers on their metro who audition for the privilege, I wonder if there is a subconscious authenticity of soundscape that is secretly preserving the contributions of real musicians in references like this.

Something to think about, future film makers!