Music in Call the Midwife:A Rant of Sorts
Okay, so one of the coolest things about ctm that I noticed was the use of music as a device to give us a deeper understanding of the characters. Music is used throughout the series to add another layer to the characters, to expand upon the story as a whole, and to give a voice to internal thoughts and emotions.
This is so brilliant, and as someone that loves music and good character development, I LOVE when they do this. It’s a really really clever and subtle way to not only set the mood, but give voice to a character’s internal dialogue. We get to see what they are thinking and feeling, just by listening to the song! It’s genius!
Now they use this all the time, so I’m not going to pick through an analyze everything, but there was one scene I thought was particularly excellent:
This one. First of all, let me say that this scene was not only Perfect in pretty much every way, I believe this had one of the most informative and skillful uses of music of any episode.
At the beginning of the scene, Patsy picks a song from the jukebox. It’s Angel Face by Billy Fury (link to song). This song could not be more perfect if it tried tbh. The really neat thing here is that Patsy picked this song. This is a direct message to the audience that the song is about her, from her perspective. The lyrics allow us to see what Patsy has been feeling since Delia was away, and what she is feeling in that moment back together. It’s incredibly touching when you really pay attention to the lyrics in this scene.
Now we get to the really fun part.
I like to argue that this song is literally Patsy’s (and to a point, Delia’s) internal dialogue as this scene is happening. The song fills in the gaps in their conversation. It says “I love you,” when they can’t, it says “I want to kiss you,” when they can’t, it says everything they aren’t allowed to say out in the open.
It actually even flows with their conversation: first about letters, then about Delia not coming back to London to live/wishing they could be close again, etc. The best part is the end of the song, and the end of the scene, when Patsy says “Can’t I just say come back?” and Delia is silent for a moment. In that space, we hear Billy Fury’s last chorus of “darling I love you” and it’s just. so good. so perfect. I’m yodeling as I write this it’s just SO GOOD.
NOW: LET ME TALK ABOUT HOW THE NETFLIX (and I’m assuming other cuts) HAVE R U I N E D THE PERFECTION OF THIS SCENE.
The song in the background of this scene is not Angel Face by Billy Fury. In fact I have no idea what that song is. I was so excited to watch the Christmas special on Netflix but I was pretty upset that they changed the song, and to something that is pretty irrelevant from what I could tell (I can barely even hear it).
Now why they changed it I don’t know, copyrights or something maybe, but they could have at least picked something better??? I mean it was such a beautiful scene with great character insight I was disappointed to see it didn’t make it to America.
I’ll finish up this post by saying if you have any comments on this or want me to talk more about this kind of stuff just let me know, I love discussion about this kind of thing.