MikeyB's "The Song Paints a Picture": Goodfellas (1990)

 Well I haven't been to the theater all month so when it came time to write something down for this blog, I decided to finally get busy writing a new article series that I have had rattling around the old noggin for some time. I'm calling it "The Song Paints a Picture" and its all about songs that, whenever I hear them, immediately make me think of the movie scene that used them so perfectly that they forever remain linked in my psyche. Today's subject is Martin Scorsese's mafia masterpiece Goodfellas and its use of the 1963 pop hit "Then He Kissed Me" by The Crystals. So now that I've given you the gist of the idea, lets dive right in!

The Song

 Featuring producer Phil Spector's famous "Wall of Sound" mixing and some of the most recognizable opening notes of all time, "Then He Kissed Me" is one of my absolute favorite pop songs ever recorded. It's driving beat and and sugar sweet lyrics never fail to put a smile on my face and a tap in my toe.

The Film

 Hailed as one of the best mafia films ever made, Scorsese's Goodfellas is undisputedly a masterpiece.  The film starts off as what appears to be your standard gangster flick in the Godfather vein, glorifying the gangster lifestyle. By the films end though it does away with the glitz and glamour, stripping these charismatic and violent men down to what they really are: criminals.  Trailer here.

The Scene

 Now lets get down to the scene and song in glorious harmony. To set the sequence up, this is Karen (Lorraine Bracco) and Henry's (Ray Liotta) first real date. After two previous dates where neither made an effort, Henry pulls out all the stops to woo Karen, culminating in one of the most famous "long take" shots of all time. 

 We start outside the glamorous Copacabana Club where the music kicks in and Henry pays a man to watch his car instead of parking it. He then takes Karen down into a service entrance, bypassing the huge line to get in. What follows is a whirlwind tour of the working bowels of the club as Henry hands out twenty dollar bills as if they were candy. By the trips end they not only have bypassed the line to get in and wait for a table, but are now seated front and center at a table that the Maitre'd himself has set up for them. Soon a bottle of champagne is sent over from one of Henry's mafia friends and Karen is completely and utterly seduced, and you know what? So are we. Henry's simple act is charismatic, charming, and seems to promise that this is a man who can and will do everything in his power to take care of you.

Final Thoughts

 The mesmerizing pace of Henry and Karen's tour through the club syncs up perfectly with the driving beat of The Crystals and we begin to feel our own hearts rushing to keep pace. It is one of my favorite moments in film and has forever have linked the song and scene in my head and heart. That is why I chose it for the very first "The Song Paints a Picture" article. I'm thinking this will be a "every other month" series so look for "The Song Paints a Picture" part 2 some time in June! As always thank you for reading and I'll see you next time.