Lost Sounds and Soundtracks. The Other "Contempt"

The shocking reveal of an alternate score to Godard's _Contempt_, one for the Italian release, done by the prolific Piero Piccioni.
Ignatiy Vishnevetsky
Like many right-thinking people the world over, we here at Notebook have a documented fondness for Georges Delerue's score for Contempt.
But here's a little-known fact: the dubbed Italian and Spanish release of Contempt did not feature Delerue's score, but instead a completely different soundtrack by the prolific Piero Piccioni. Whereas Delerue's score consists of a handful of repeated themes (like most of the original soundtracks for Godard's 1960s films, it's very brief, amounting to about 10 minutes of music), Piccioni recorded a full-length score of the film.
I know of no version of Contempt currently circulating—whether official or bootleg—that includes this version of the soundtrack, though it's pretty easy to imagine the film being radically altered or re-focused by the inclusion of Piccioni's music. While his music for the main titles is essentially a romantic theme, much of Piccioni's score consists of cocktail jazz, occasionally dissonant. Delerue's score reinforces the basically tragic themes invisible to the characters—it is a score written chiefly for the characters played by Michel Piccoli and Fritz Lang, and for Piccoli's relationship to the Bardot character (if not for the character herself)—while Piccioni's plays off of the stylish world they are forced inhabit—that is, music for Jack Palance's character and his convertible.
(1) Main Titles
// <![CDATA[ AudioPlayer.embed("audioplayer_1", {soundFile: "http://notebook-audio.s3.amazonaws.com/contempt/02-Main-Titles.mp3"}); // ]]>
(2) Divertissement
// <![CDATA[ AudioPlayer.embed("audioplayer_2", {soundFile: "http://notebook-audio.s3.amazonaws.com/contempt/04-Divertissement.mp3"}); // ]]>
(3) Waves Out of the Moon
// <![CDATA[ AudioPlayer.embed("audioplayer_3", {soundFile: "http://notebook-audio.s3.amazonaws.com/contempt/09-Waves-Out-of-the-Moon.mp3"}); // ]]>
(4) Organ Mood
// <![CDATA[ AudioPlayer.embed("audioplayer_4", {soundFile: "http://notebook-audio.s3.amazonaws.com/contempt/13-Organ-Mood.mp3"}); // ]]>
(5) Memories
// <![CDATA[ AudioPlayer.embed("audioplayer_5", {soundFile: "http://notebook-audio.s3.amazonaws.com/contempt/14-Memories.mp3"}); // ]]>
—From "Il Disprezzo" (Digitmovies, 2003)
Music can be one of cinema's great pleasures. When used with inspiration—not dictating our viewing experience with a death grip or slathered like bad wallpaper over the rest of a sound mix—it can transform either solitary shots or spliced sequences of moving images into entirely new expressions, galvanizing details within the raw cinematographic material or contrapuntally complicating the initial impressions of the image.

Given our love for movie music in all its forms, whether a soundtrack features original orchestral compositions, near-abstract soundscapes, or acts as a curatorial force for collecting, exposing and (re-) contextualizing existent music, Lost Sounds and Soundtracks will serve to highlight some of our favorites, obscure and not so obscure, commercially available and ripped directly from audio-tracks where necessary. Unless analyzed within their original context, all will be divorced from their image-tracks in hopes that we might briefly give them their singular due.


Lost Sounds and SoundtracksJean-Luc GodardAudioColumns
Please sign up to add a new comment.


Notebook is a daily, international film publication. Our mission is to guide film lovers searching, lost or adrift in an overwhelming sea of content. We offer text, images, sounds and video as critical maps, passways and illuminations to the worlds of contemporary and classic film. Notebook is a MUBI publication.


If you're interested in contributing to Notebook, please see our pitching guidelines. For all other inquiries, contact the editorial team.