RUMBLE will tell the story of a profound, essential, and, until now, missing chapter in the history of American music: the Indigenous influence. Featuring music icons Charley Patton, Mildred Bailey, Link Wray, Jimi Hendrix, Jesse Ed Davis, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Robbie Robertson, Randy Castillo, and others, RUMBLE will show how these talented Native musicians helped shape the soundtracks of our lives.
RUMBLE is inspired by the Smithsonian Institution exhibit “Up Where We Belong: Native Musicians In Popular Culture,” created by Tim Johnson and Stevie Salas for the National Museum of the American Indian.
RUMBLE has a long list of music artists, historians, family members, and experts participating in the film, including: Buddy Guy, Steven Van Zandt, Tony Bennett, Taj Mahal, Cyril Neville, Ivan Neville, Martin Scorsese, John Trudell, David Fricke (Rolling Stone Magazine), Steven Tyler, Derek Trucks, Corey Harris, Guy Davis, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Monk Boudreaux, George Clinton, Jackson Browne, Martha Redbone, James “Hutch” Hutchinson, Joy Harjo, Iggy Pop, Wayne Kramer (MC5), Marky Ramone (The Ramones), Taylor Hawkins (Foo Fighters), Pura Fe Crescioni (Ulali), Dan Auerbach (The Black Keys), Phil Soussan (Ozzy Osbourne), Matt Sorum (Guns ‘N’ Roses), Mike Inez (Alice in Chains), Robert Trujillo (Metallica), Taboo (Black Eyed Peas), Slash (Guns ‘N’ Roses), Charlie Sexton (Bob Dylan), Rhiannon Giddens (Carolina Chocolate Drops), Pat Vegas (Redbone), Robbie Robertson, Buffy Sainte-Marie, and many others.
With its tender plot line about two widowed pensioners seeking comfort in each other’s company it promised to be the perfect vehicle for its veteran stars Jane Fonda and Robert Redford.
Some have even spoken of it as being an opportunity for Fonda to re-establish herself as one of Hollywood’s leading ladies, after a run of minor parts.
What no one on the production team appears to have realised, however, is that the film’s title gives entirely the wrong impression.
Because while it may sound faintly lyrical to American ears, Our Souls at Night has a rather unfortunate meaning over here.
And if you don’t believe us then read it aloud to yourself.
The title of the Netflix production, which premiers on the internet channel today, has already caused hilarity among British film fans.
Several entertainment industry professionals have questioned how the US production team failed to spot the embarrassing pronunciation blunder.
With admirable understatement Rufus Sewell, the British actor and star of the current ITV drama Victoria, posted on Twitter a photograph of a billboard promoting the film, adding: “Maybe it sounds more family friendly with an American accent.”
Jo Unwin, a London-based literary agent whose clients include Charlie Brooker, whose award-winning drama series Black Mirror is on Netflix, wrote on Twitter: “Did Netflix think this title through?”
Peter Briggs, a British screenwriter based in Hollywood, said: “Oh, dear god. I can’t believe not a single British person was around to snigger at this during production.”
Jack Birch, who works in marketing for the London-based publisher Bloomsbury, wrote: “I'm genuinely flabbergasted that they're releasing this in the UK as 'Our Souls At Night.”
Others were happy to have fun at the film’s expense.
Aaron Cameron a scriptwriter and script editor, wrote: “Could have been worse. Could have been ‘Our Souls Ignite’.”
Julie Irwin, the children’s author who lives in Leigh-on-Sea, in Essex, said the film’s title put her in mind of “Southend High Street on a Saturday evening” rather than a gentle romance.
More than one person said the linguistic gaffe reminded them of the old Peter Cook and Dudley Moore joke: “The Americans have their soul singers and we in Britain have our soul singers."
But despite British viewers queuing up to point out the obvious, Netflix have refused to change the title of Our Souls At Night to something more suitable for the UK market.
A spokesman for the channel said: “We’re aware of how it sounds to some British ears. But the film has had this title for months and it’s coming out on Friday. There are no plans to change the title for the UK market.”
In the film Fonda - whose last significant role was in the 2015 Paolo Sorrentino film Youth, for which she won a Golden Globes best supporting actress nomination - plays a widow who asks Redford if they can sleep together on a purely Platonic basis, for comfort and companionship, having lost their respective partners.
From that unorthodox request springs an exploration of pain, friendship, ageing and family.
The New York Times wrote that the beauty of the Fonda and Redford’s performances “lies in the rediscovery of what wonderful actors they can be, and how good they are together”.
No doubt Netflix are hoping that our souls will be moved.
Ex Libris: New York Public Library (2017), 8/10. Solid, stripped down documentary with no narration or interstitial chapter titles.