Marvin Hamlisch’s “Informant” Score Contains Lift from His Score for Woody Allen’s “Bananas.” (I’m 99% Sure.)


We saw Steven Soderbergh’s film The Informant! (starring Matt Damon), scored by Marvin Hamlisch, last night. I was surprised to hear a cue in the picture that was lifted complete (my memory tells me) from Hamlisch’s score for Woody Allen’s 1971 Bananas. It’s a sort of comic-dixieland piece punctuated by clown horns (you don’t forget something like that), and occurs about two-thirds of the way through the picture, accompanying one of several moments in which the Damon character strolls through the office space of his company. I was prepared for a score that would “reference” earlier styles, but I wasn’t prepared for a wholesale lift from an earlier Hamlisch-scored film.

Upon close side-by-side examination, the two cues may, in fact, have small differences, but my educated guess based on memory is that they are identical. Not that this is a crime against humanity or anything, and not that it would be the first time in history a composer cribbed from his own work. Usually, though, the cribbing contains a bit more variation than occured here. My guess is that Soderbergh (a director I admire) used the Bananas cue as a temp-track while he was editing the scene, then decided Hamlisch couldn’t do better, and had him recreate it. Just a surmise. Soderbergh and Hamlisch may believe the movie audience has a shorter memory than, in fact, some of us have.


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