Singers Of Mercy: How McCabe & Mrs Miller Changed The Western Soundtrack by Charlie Brigden (The Quietus: April 29th, 2018) is an insightful essay on Altman’s use of Leonard Cohen’s music in his landmark movie. An excerpt follows but the full article, available at the link, is recommended reading:
‘Sisters of Mercy’ introduces McCabe’s prostitutes and notably the male reactions, the gawping construction workers and McCabe’s own shyster approach to it all that comes to a head when Alma stabs one of the punters. Cohen’s music just lingers as it’s clear McCabe is in over his head, and it’s no coincidence that this immediately precedes the arrival of Mrs Miller. Mrs Miller’s theme is ‘Winter Lady’, and we first hear it echoed in her smoky yellow room, post-opium session, but it’s used beautifully when she stands outside in the falling snow, scared at the inevitable fate of her and McCabe, Cohen uttering “you chose your journey long before you came across this highway”.
Leonard Cohen – Sisters of Mercy
McCabe & Mrs Miller
- Recommended Reading – McCabe & Mrs. Miller: Profound Pessimism And Leonard Cohen Kindness
- “We used to sit there & smoke grass… & put on that Leonard Cohen music, and life was really tolerable” Robert Altman Talks About Leonard Cohen’s Songs In The McCabe & Mrs. Miller Soundtrack
- “I got this call from a chap called Robert Altman. And he says, ‘Listen, you know, I love those songs, I’ve built a film around them, can I use them?’ I said, ‘Who are you?’” How Leonard Cohen’s Appreciation Of Brewster McCloud Prompted Him To Sign On For McCabe & Mrs Miller
- Leonard Cohen In The Movies: “Winter Lady” In McCabe & Mrs. Miller Final Scene
- Leonard Cohen In The Movies: “The Stranger Song” In McCabe & Mrs Miller
I am republishing selected posts from my former Leonard Cohen site, Cohencentric, here on AllanShowalter.com (these posts can be found at Leonard Cohen). This entry was originally posted Apr 30, 2018.