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Dec 6, 2021 - 10:42:46 AM
85 posts since 9/7/2010

Benedict Cumberbatch spends a fair amount of time in "Power of the Dog" (Netflix) playing a banjo. Curious if anyone able to figgur out what kind of instrument he is playing. Movie shot in New Zealand so maybe it's one of those "down under" models.

Dec 6, 2021 - 11:28:02 AM

1660 posts since 5/19/2018

My Wife called me in to show me that scene.

He was playing a level of classic banjo, which given the time period impressed me as it to my classic banjo uneducated eyes seemed to be the correct style for the time period. Usually with banjo in the movies, you get some sort of ersatz Bluegrass played on a contemporary instrument. It at least seemed to me that the director was trying to be as authentic as possible.

Instrument was strung with steel strings, so that was a bit of a no-no.

As for the banjo itself, no idea at all.

Didn’t see the whole movie.

Dec 6, 2021 - 11:33:45 AM
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csacwp

USA

2968 posts since 1/15/2014
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It's not classic banjo. There's a video on YouTube that isolates the banjo track, and it's clearly bluegrass playing with rolls and the like. Totally anachronistic to the period.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=kqTDFX7TpW0

Edited by - csacwp on 12/06/2021 11:35:15

Dec 6, 2021 - 12:37:16 PM

1660 posts since 5/19/2018

And thus the real expert weighs in.

Thanks John.

Dec 6, 2021 - 2:20:15 PM

400 posts since 11/29/2012

Bummer that Jane Campion would use non-period tunes in the banjo scenes. Definitely planning on seeing this in the theater--Sunday matinee, few people around. She's a great film director. Here's a short banjo clip: https://twitter.com/netflix/status/1466167456372695045?s=20

Edited by - 35planar on 12/06/2021 14:24:00

Dec 6, 2021 - 2:33:44 PM

5 posts since 3/3/2014

Too bad it wasn’t being played like this (Curly Miller and Carole Anne Rose) youtu.be/vx0WzoXc5mU

Dec 6, 2021 - 3:21:52 PM
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csacwp

USA

2968 posts since 1/15/2014
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quote:
Originally posted by 35planar

Bummer that Jane Campion would use non-period tunes in the banjo scenes. Definitely planning on seeing this in the theater--Sunday matinee, few people around. She's a great film director. Here's a short banjo clip: https://twitter.com/netflix/status/1466167456372695045?s=20


The tune is period - it's just the setup, technique, and style that's not. I'm disappointed as well but not surprised. 

Dec 6, 2021 - 5:12:04 PM

14425 posts since 10/30/2008

Capoed on the 7th fret???? Heavens!

Dec 7, 2021 - 4:53:03 AM

csacwp

USA

2968 posts since 1/15/2014
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Is that a long neck?

Dec 7, 2021 - 9:24:25 PM
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12572 posts since 6/2/2008
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quote:
Originally posted by csacwp

It's not classic banjo. There's a video on YouTube that isolates the banjo track, and it's clearly bluegrass playing with rolls and the like. 


I hear rolls. Not sure I hear any bluegrass "and the like" such as slides, hammer-ons or pull-offs.

I guess I do hear more modern melodic technique and harmonic sensibility in one of the ascending or descending passages.

To my apparently untrained ear, it sounds closer to classic than Scruggs style bluegrass -- which would not appear until 20 years after when the movie takes place.

If we want to talk (complain?) about anachronistic banjo style, the outright bluegrass of "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" in Bonnie and Clyde was more than 10 years after the early '30s setting of that film. Most people seem to think it worked.

Dec 8, 2021 - 5:57:48 AM

5 posts since 3/3/2014

As I posted above, THIS is what a classic-style rendering of Radetzky’s March sounds like: youtu.be/vx0WzoXc5mU

Dec 8, 2021 - 9:13:13 PM

12572 posts since 6/2/2008
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quote:
Originally posted by Paul Draper

As I posted above, THIS is what a classic-style rendering of Radetzky’s March sounds like: youtu.be/vx0WzoXc5mU


Yes, I listened to that before commenting. Yes, the style of banjo in the movie doesn't sound like that.

But if we're repeating what we already said, what I said was that to me the banjo in the movie sounds closer to classic than Scruggs style bluegrass. I'd say it sounds closer to classic than does Scruggs style bluegrass.

What does it matter? Does it ruin the movie? Destroy the story? Is anachronistic banjo a more serious error in this fictional 1925 universe than native New Zealand flora growing in Montana?  Phil (Cumberbatch's character) is an Ivy educated, Phi Beta Kappa, Renaissance man who did not want to spend his life being a rancher in Montana. Who's to say he didn't have a deep understanding of music theory and developed an advanced style of playing that not only showed what more the banjo was capable of but also served as a metaphor for himself.

Dec 27, 2021 - 1:40:51 AM

2 posts since 12/27/2021

like the Chuck Berry scene in Back to the Future…..

Just watched this scene, and a great
play on Deliverance?

The actual banjo player for the score is my guitar teacher, David Ward; a kiwi who also teaches banjo (particularly clawhammer). I was given my first banjo as a Xmas present (as a very average guitar player wanting to branch out).

Hopefully I’ll be picking up some 5-string lessons from him soon ??

Dec 28, 2021 - 12:37:20 PM

1877 posts since 4/10/2005

Interesting from a symbolic POV, two films where banjo figures in a disturbing way. Sinister omen in "Deliverance." And in "POTD" as an instrument of torment, a weapon wielded by a twisted bully and sadist whose misogynistic woman-hatred is matched only by his loathing of his own sexual nature.

Whew. Well. On to the counter-narratives. If any. So, . . . films where banjo figures in a way associated with . . . Joy? Beauty? Love? Playfulness? Healing? "Winter's Bone" comes to mind, both the old time picking in the house during the middle of the story, and Teardrop's tentative picking on his dead brother's resonator banjo at the end.

Edited by - ceemonster on 12/28/2021 12:42:14

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