Moulin Rouge is the standard star crossed lovers story of power, betrayal, lust, greed and tragedy. I grew up watching musicals like My Fair Lady and Camelot and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. These were movies where people would break into song and dance for no reason-and I never had a problem with that. Most of these shows featured music written for them, though Singing in The Rain was the result of MGM buying up a bunch of old music.
Moulin Rouge is one of those films that has the feel of a music video and uses modern music in it’s 1899 setting. This is a stunning film to look at as well, amazing sets and costumes and a great storyline. Like many musicals I find that I like listening to the soundtrack better than watching the film-I find it impossible to watch West Side Story, for example. Moulin Rouge is fun to watch, but it fantastic to listen to.
One of the better gimmicks in Moulin Rouge is the addition of songs that most of us are familiar with in a setting we are not so familiar with. Some of these songs are-
* “Nature Boy” – Nat King Cole
* “The Sound of Music” – Mary Martin (and later by Julie Andrews)
* “The Lonely Goatherd” – also from The Sound of Music (but heard as instrumental)
* “Lady Marmalade” – Labelle (and later by All Saints)
* “Because We Can” – Fatboy Slim
* “Rhythm of the Night” – DeBarge
* “Material Girl” – Madonna
* “Smells Like Teen Spirit” – Nirvana
* “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” – Carol Channing (later, and notably by Marilyn Monroe)
* “Diamond Dogs” – David Bowie (and later by Beck)
* “Galop Infernal (Can-can)” – Jacques Offenbach (tune for Spectacular, Spectacular)
* “One Day I’ll Fly Away” – The Crusaders, later Randy Crawford among others
* “Children of the Revolution” – T. Rex (Covered by Bono, Gavin Friday, Violent Femmes, and Maurice Seezer)
* “Gorecki” – Lamb
* “Roxanne” – The Police (Title in film: “El Tango de Roxanne”; music by Mariano Mores)
* “Tanguera” – Mariano Mores
* “The Show Must Go On” – Queen
* “Like a Virgin” – Madonna
* “Your Song” – Elton John
*”I Was Made for Lovin’ You” – Kiss
This was a great movie with a great bunch of songs.
Moulin Rouge was also the first time that I heard a bit of Ballywood music that I actually liked. I have been listening to Ballywood off and on ever since. That whole over the top aspect of a hundred people on stage at once-great stuff. And there is something about that sing-song rhythm Ballywood songs have.