Forums > Queen - Serious Discussion > "The Great Pretender" - from 'Night and the City'

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thomasquinn 32989 user is on Queenzone.com
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Posted: 24 Aug 10, 12:11 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

As most of you will be aware, Freddie's version of the old Platters-song "The Great Pretender" was used in the 1992 version of the film Night and the City. Since I had never seen any remarks to the contrary, I always assumed that this meant either the original 1987 single version or the 1992 Malouf-remix was used. As I found out this afternoon, when I decided to check out the actual film-version (you'll find it at the bottom of this post), not so.

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The first thing to attract attention is the track's length: it plays during the final seconds of the film and the whole of the final credit sequence, and has a total length of 4:16, significantly longer than the 3:26 of the single version.

The film-version opens with the two opening bars of the single version looped twice before playing the full four-bar intro, lengthening the intro from just over 5 seconds to 12 seconds. From that point (0:12) until 2:49, the film version is identical to the single-version. Then, from 2:49 until 3:07, a section from the extended version is inserted (the segment 4:00-4:18 in the extended version).

At 3:07, the final verse, which had already been played directly before the extended version-insert, is repeated, but with a catch: it's a different mix - the backing vocals in the section-intro are absent, and the orchestral instruments are mixed to the fore. This slightly different mix of the original single version then plays until the end of the song, which is now at 4:16, or about 40 seconds longer than the original.

The real question now is whether this new mix was made for or by the sound department of the film, and related to that, whether they worked from a multitrack of the issued single- and extended versions, or whether they found another way to rework the instrumentation of the final verse. Anyway, it has certainly been established that the version used in the film is not identical to any issued version of the song.

Attachment: 1011241062103020.mp3 7 MB
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Posted: 25 Aug 10, 00:21 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

This happens a lot, that songs get recut, re-mixed, editted and altered for movies. "Paint It Black" is sped up at the end of Full Metal Jacket. "Stayin' Alive" is sped up in Airplane!. There was one movie, I can't remember which, that looped the guitar solo in "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" so it played a second time in the song over the end credits. "One Vision" is hacked to pieces throughout the film Iron Eagle.

The soundtrack album for Night And The City features a sped up version of the original single from 1987.

John Hughes added horns to The Beatles' cover of "Twist And Shout" in the movie Ferris Bueller's Day Off (because there was a brass band in the parade in that scene). No soundtrack album was issued for that film, but if there had been, the original version probably would have appeared on it, because Paul McCartney supposedly hated those horns when he saw the movie, saying something like, "If we'd wanted horns, we would have put horns in it ourselves!"

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Posted: 25 Aug 10, 06:54 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Interesting to hear about the OST for 'Night and the City'. I understand your point about modified versions of songs for films, but I'm fascinated by what appears to be a remix of the multitrack for at least the orchestral flurry opening the repeated final verse of the single version.


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Posted: 25 Aug 10, 08:06 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I bought this movie a long time ago on DVD and I do remember the movie edit was different than the original.
But most likely edited by the sound engineers of the movie.


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Posted: 25 Aug 10, 11:16 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

The 12" version was better than the 7" version. (And the extended video rather fun, too.) Maybe it's the 12" you're hearing.


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Posted: 25 Aug 10, 11:42 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

*sigh* Have you bothered to read the original post? I've compared all known versions, and given details which sections are drawn from which versions. The extended version is a) more than a minute and a half longer than the movie version b) extensively treated with an echo-machine c) differently orchestrated in numerous sections. The movie version consists of the single version, an extract from the extended version and a remixed verse of the single version.


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Posted: 25 Aug 10, 16:49 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

The film is pretty good too - It was the first film directed by Robert Di Nero, and his acting is always the best!


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Posted: 25 Aug 10, 17:38 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I never like the 12" Version of "The Great Pretender". It's not terrible, but right in the middle, when it loops the "..Around...Around..." I think the whole thing losses steam. The video is quite fun, though.

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Posted: 26 Aug 10, 01:18 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I actually totally prefer the Malouf-remix over the original, which is just too dominated by tinny-sounding synthesizers for my taste.

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Posted: 26 Aug 10, 02:21 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

The Malouf mix is great.

I first heard Freddie's version on a MuchMusic Spotlight in the early '90s (where they played a half-hour of videos and interviews of a featured artist). It was the second last video of the episode and I had the entire ep on tape. It was Malouf version in the video, though I didn't know that at the time, and featured clips from the movie Night And The City, cutting between Freddie singing. I'm not sure if it was official, but it was a damn good video and I loved the song immediately.

Also on that episode, the last video was for the Wolf remix of Love Kills (again, didn't know it was remix), featuring footage from the movie Loaded Weapon 1. Amazingly, someone else taped that episode too and posted it on YouTube. The sound quality is a bit weak on this guy's old VHS, but just play the MP3 over top and you'll get a better effect.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ERNLzG3BMoo

If only I could find that video for The Great Pretender that they aired. 

The whole episode played the follow videos (I can't believe I remember this, but I watched that tape A LOT):

Crazy Little Thing Called Love
I Was Born To Love You
Made In Heaven
Living On My Own
The Great Pretender (Malouf Mix)
Love Kills (Wolf Remix)

It convinced me to get both Mr. Bad Guy and The Great Pretender albums!