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CMTH 220: Introduction to Film: Fun Facts & Notable Names

This guide will help you find film criticism, biographies of directors, definitions of film genres, and information about the Library's DVD collection.

Burt Bacharach, Master of the Movie Theme Song

How you remember composer Burt Bacharach, who recently died at age 94, will depend on which generation you identify with. Younger movie audiences will associate Bacharach with the Austin Powers franchise, where he first appeared playing a piano on top of a double-decker tour bus in Las Vegas. But he didn't just sing the songs that gave the spy spoof its groovy 1960s-era vibe -- he wrote them, in collaboration with lyricist Hal David. Together, they produced some of the most popular tunes ever to be used as film theme songs. Their score for Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid, and its theme song Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head, both earned Academy Awards in 1969.

The duo also wrote songs for many other artists, including Dionne Warwick, the Carpenters, and Herb Alpert. If you want to see the original 1960s-era spy movie spoof, check out the Casino Royale made in 1967, starring Peter Sellers and Ursula Andress (not to be confused with the 2006 James Bond film starring Daniel Craig). You'll recognize Bacharach's song The Look of Love (which Mike Myers revived for Austin Powers) and Alpert's legendary trumpet performing the title song.

Final Adieu to Pioneer of French New Wave

Jean-Luc Godard was a film critic before he became a director -- and ultimately, one of the leaders of the French New Wave movement of the 1960s. His debut feature film, Breathless, was one of the first to use the "jump cut" technique for propelling the narrative forward. Godard's choice of subject matter and avant-garde approach to storytelling were provocative, even radical. His directing style was improvisational; he was known for working with no script at all, revising dialogue on the fly. 

In 1969, American film critic Roger Ebert called Godard "perverse and difficult," declaring that "this most brilliant of all modern directors is heartily disliked by a great many people who pay to see his movies." Audiences may have been put off by Godard's unconventional films, but an entire generation of American directors was influenced and inspired by him, including Quentin Tarantino, who said Godard taught him the "joy of breaking rules." 

Godard died on September 13, 2022, choosing to end his own life by assisted suicide -- a fitting end for a man who wanted to do everything his own way. For more information on Godard and his generation of filmmakers, start with the resources listed below.

From the Films on Demand database: