Posts Tagged ‘taxi driver’

Bernard Hermann – Taxi Driver

December 13, 2010 Leave a comment

Photograph of Bernard HermannI love Hermann’s soundtrack to Taxi Driver.

I’m not a fan of jazz and although this soundtrack has a smoky, nightclub, beat kind of feel to it, it’s way more evocative than any jazz I’ve heard. In fact, I do it a disservice to liken it to jazz at all. I heartily recommend it.

There have been a couple of times when I’ve listened to this all day; the album on a loop. Have to point out, it’s not music to lift one’s spirits but it can accompany you well through the kind of day when you do need to engage your brain, but not for anything particularly exciting.

This was one of the last scores Hermann wrote, having spent a career working with Hitchcock, Welles, Truffaut and the like.

Everyone’s seen the film Taxi Driver. I think we all agree that it’s a landmark, brilliant thing. I can’t play the soundtrack to you, so here are the ‘lyrics’ from the track: ‘Diary of a taxi driver.’

May ten. Thank God for the rain which has helped wash away the garbage and trash from the sidewalks.

I’m working long hours now – six days a week, sometimes seven days a week. It’s a long hustle but it keeps me real busy. I can take in three, three-fifty a week. Sometimes even more when I do it off the meter.

All the animals come out at night. Buggers, queens, dopers, fairies, junkies. Sick. Venal. Some day a real rain’ll come and wash all the scum off the streets.

I go all over. I take people to the Bronx, Brooklyn. I even take’em to Harlem. I don’t care. Don’t make no difference to me. It does to some. Some won’t even take Spooks. Don’t make no difference to me.

Each night when I return the cab to the garage I have to clean the back seat. Some nights I clean off the blood.

Twelve hours work and I still can’t sleep. Damn! The days go on and on. It don’t end.

All my life needed was a sense of some place to go. I don’t believe one should devote his life to morbid self attention. I believe that someone should become a person like other people.

Loneliness has followed me my whole life. Everywhere. In bars and cars and sidewalks, stores and everywhere. There’s no escape. I’m God’s lonely man.

June eighth. My life has taken another turn again. The days move along with regularity. Over and over. Then suddenly there is change.

June twenty ninth. I gotta get in shape now. From now on it’ll be fifty push-ups each morning; fifty pull-ups. From now on it’ll be total organisation. Every muscle must be tight.

The idea had been growing in my brain for some time. True force. All the kings’ horses cannot put it back together again.

You talkin’ to me?
You talkin’ to me?
You talkin’ to me?
Then who the hell else you talkin’ to? You talkin’ to me?
Well I’m the only one here.
Who do you think you’re talkin’ to?
Oh yeah? Huh. Okay?


Listen you screwheads. Here’s a man who would not take it any more. A man who stood up against the scum, the dogs, the filth. Here is someone who stood up.
Now I see it clearly. My whole life has pointed in one direction. I see that now. There has never been any choice for me.

Photo of De Niro as Travis Bickle at end of taxi driver

When Travis and Betsy get together for their first date, Betsy brings along a copy of ‘The Silver-Tongued Devil and I’ by Kris Kristofferson – great album, his best – because he reminds her of the character in The Taker. I like this film all the more for that little shout out.


Categories: film, music