Music is a key component to a good film. Without music, scenes with no dialogue would be awkward, and without a good soundtrack a movie may lack that little extra something that wins them the award. The music that the producers use in their film can either make it memorable, or make it one people want to forget.
In the 1987 film set in 1963, with Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey we see a relationship develop for two who aren’t supposed to be together. He is the rebel bad boy, and she is the innocent girl at the family summer camp. In a ‘Romeo and Juliet’ situation they sneak around their friends and families to be together.
The movie was able to build up a fan base before it came out, by releasing the soundtrack almost two weeks before. By doing this the fans were able to learn the songs and were more likely to flood the movie theaters to see it once it was released on August 21st of 1987. If you knew the songs beforehand you are more likely going to enjoy singing along. The film also gained credibility by using a song by the lead male role, who was in the prime of his acting career. When the movie was released in August of ’87 the New York Times stated, “The movie makes a lot of good use of period music”, thus adding to the logos of the film and soundtrack.
Towards the middle of the film Johnny has to leave because he was fired from the resort, and goes looking for another job. He gives Baby a hug and gets into his car. Meanwhile the song “She’s Like the Wind” begins to play in the background, and the camera then shows him driving away with the windows down and his hair blowing in the wind. As the song goes on you see Baby go about the camp bored and alone. The lyrics to the song really represent that ‘She’ symbolizes Baby, and she has come and gone in his life like the wind because of him having to leave. I found the use of pathos very apparent by using this song for this scene; the slower tempo and drawn out chorus help set the sad mood that Baby feels when he leaves. I thought that the producers did a good job of gaining credibility for this song by having Patrick Swayze as the lead singer, him being the lead male character and a popular movie star for the time it gave people more reason to want to listen to it.
The main song we all know Dirty Dancing for is, “I’ve Had the Time of My Life” in one of the last scenes of the film, Johnny and Baby take their Final Dance at the talent show for the summer resort. They perform a dance number to this original song made for the movie, music by John Morris. As soon as the song starts Johnny walks onto the stage to embrace Baby before the choreography begins. Right after Jennifer Warnes part says, “And I owe it all to you” the tempo picks up and matches the two speeding up their dancing. Then once the chorus begins “I’ve had the time of my life”, they come together and look at each other than break off to continue dancing, building somewhat of a suspenseful parting. In this scene the pathos is also prevalent because the movie is about ‘young love’, while the lyrics suggest it’s an older love by saying, ‘the time of their lives’.
While this film was released in the 80’s I still believe it’s a need-to-watch classic; and the soundtrack includes timeless songs that are still enjoyed today. I thought that the pieces were all relevant, and really added to the situations faced in the movie.