Monday, October 27, 2008

R.I.P.: Gerard Damiano

From the "All About Jazz" website:
Every once in a while, an artist gets an inspiration that changes pop culture. Even if he's a slop artist, and the inspiration is a movie about a woman with a clitoris in her throat. Such a one was Gerard Rocco Damiano, aka Jerry Gerard, who died this weekend in Fort Myers, Fla., at 80, from complications after a stroke. With Deep Throat and his second film, Devil in Miss Jones, Damiano launched the 1970s movie craze of porno chic.

To read the complete story:
MIAMI (AP) - Gerard Damiano, director of the pioneering pornographic film that lent its name to the Watergate whistleblower known as "Deep Throat," has died. He was 80.
Damiano died Saturday at a Fort Myers hospital, his son, Gerard Damiano Jr., said Monday. He had suffered a stroke in September.
"He was a filmmaker and an artist and we thought of him as such," the younger Damiano said. "Even though we weren't allowed to see his movies, we knew he was a moviemaker, and we were proud of that."

To read the complete obituary published in The Washington Times:
Alden Shuman's score to Damiano's second movie, "The Devil in Miss Jones", became a cult sountrack. It was reissued on CD back in 1997 by the Californian label Oglio Records, thanks to reissue producer Carl Caprioglio. I immediately got a copy, basically due to the most memorable theme of the score, "Ladies in Love". Curiously, I had become attracted to that theme when I was 10 years old, since radio programmer & producer Simon Khoury gave a lot of airplay to that sophisticated track (whose Ron Straigis' brilliant arrangement featured Frank Owens' piano, two French Horns played by the late Jim Buffington & Brooks Tillotson, and a string section) on the JB-AM radio station in 1973. Some years later, when I finally was able to watch the film in a movie theater, I found out that the long lesbian scene on which that lush tune was used, also happened to be the most sensual sequence of "The Devil in Miss Jones."
It all began when, in the Spring of 1972, film producer Herbert Nitke, impressed with Alden Shuman's artistry, hired him to write the score for "The Devil in Miss Jones." Thus, a new form of erotic-art film was born.
The movie boasted a daring and innovative plot: Miss Jones (actress Georgina Spelvin), a deeply troubled young woman, takes her own life. Confronted by the Devil, she pleads for a last chance to savor the life of lust she had feared in her previous life. The Devil, taken by her pleas, grants her wish, resulting in a series of erotic adventures that transcended the norm and, combined with Shuman's exquisite score, became true erotic art. The critics were ecstatic and the film achieved true immortality all over the world.
Its soundtrack was recorded by Joe Brescio and mixed by renowned jazz engineer Malcolm Addey at Bell Sound Studios (NY). Alden Shulman wrote all the eleven themes and co-produced the album with Earl Shuman. Peter DeAngelis and Ron Straigis shared the arrangements. Back in 1995, Alden Shuman was interviewed on the prestigious NY radio station WBAI and the entire score of "The Devil in Miss Jones" played as part of their tribute to the US Film Industry's 100th Anniversary.

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