Wednesday, September 01, 1993

RIP: Paul Misraki

Paris - Paul Misraki, a prolific French composer of songs and of the soundtracks for more than 150 films made by Orson Welles, Jean-Luc Godard, Roger Vadim and others, died Thursday in Paris, where he lived. He was 90. The French honors he received included being made a Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur and an Officier des Arts et des Lettres. In Britain, the Daily Telegraph, musing in 1993 about songs that enjoyed the honor of being sung by Yves Montand, said “Paul Misraki’s ‘La Tete a l’Ombre’ is a lazy, sunny little song celebrating the joys of a boy waiting in the shade, glimpsing a girl through an open window (she’s stark naked, of course).” Mr. Misraki wrote the music and the original Spanish words for the Anrgentine song “Maria From Bahia,” which became a popular American song, sung by the Starlighters, in the 1940s. In that decade, he and John Hess wrote the music for “Passing By.” It was recorded, with French words by Charles Trenet, by Jean Sablon for RCA Victor. Mr. Misraki’s score for the 1965 film “Alphaville,” directed by Godard, was praised by an American critic last year as contributing much to its melancholy romanticism. Other movies Mr. Misraki wrote the scores for included Welles’ “Mr. Arkadin,” also titled “Confidential Report” (1955); Vadim’s “And God Created Woman” (1956); and Claude Chabrol’s “Cousins” (1959). Born in what is now Istanbul, Turkey, Mr. Misraki graduated from a secondary school in Paris and lived most of his life in France. He joined a band, Les Collegiens, which left war-torn Europe in 1942 for South America. Later, he worked in Hollywood for RKO Pictures.
- New York Times