The Forgotten Thriller That Inspired May December’s Soundtrack

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Written By Sedoso Feb

The “Safe” director initially saw “The Go-Between” the year that it came out — Haynes was only ten years old at the time. He wasn’t able to get his hands on the movie for a while afterward, but the score stuck with him.

“It’s a movie that had sort of fallen out of distribution or visibility for decades,” he said of the ’71 Losey film to Interview. “I think I saw it when I was a kid and hadn’t seen it since. And I heard that Michel Legrand score and I was just like, ‘What the f***?’ It opens up your eyes, it pricks up your ears. You’re watching the frame with this acute attention to what this ominous, hardcore, in-your-face score is portending.”

Before he even began shooting “May December,” Haynes knew he wanted to incorporate Michael Legrand’s score into the process.

“The music was an early accompaniment to this whole experiment and this sort of visual style I stumbled on,” the filmmaker expanded. “[…] we literally performed to it. We played that music during the shoot, in every single scene where there wasn’t dialogue, where I had a music cue placed. It was thrilling.”

Haynes hoped to capture the “excitement” of Losey’s film by incorporating the score, and he succeeded. The cascading notes leave the listener steeped in anticipation. The film is unpredictable, and the stakes get unbearably high. The music builds the tension higher and higher for the entire duration of the film before the emotional climax.

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