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Roses of Picardy
in cinema, television, and video

Films, television programmes, and videos, in which Roses of Picardy
is performed or listened to by characters or persons, or is used as background music.

 

Other compositions by Haydn Wood in cinema, television, and video

 


Non English-language films are listed under their English title (with the original language title following in brackets). Where a film has never been released with an English title, it is listed under its original title [with an English translation in square brackets].
Film date is the production date, not the release date.

A chronological discrepancy related to Roses of Picardy in a film is mentioned as a curiosity. Such a mention is not judgmental.

Links to video-sharing websites: the film you expect to watch may have been blocked in your country.


Roses of Picardy
Triangle Film Corporation (USA, 1918)

Colinette is a singer famous for her interpretations of Roses of Picardy. She has a passing affair with Henri, a gang leader who falls madly in love with her; every evening, he enters her house to secretly leave a bunch of roses on her pillow. But Colinette loves a certain young engineer who is on the verge of making a great discovery. This discovery arouses such jealousies that there is a price on his head, and it is Henri who is asked to organize the murder. But Henri, consumed with remorse, confesses the plot to Colinette. And, upon leaving her house, he receives the bullet intended for his rival. The end of the film shows Colinette spreading crumpled rose petals over Henri's dead body.

The song is a recurring theme in the film.

Advertisement for the attention of cinema managers in the UK.

This silent film was accompanied in the cinemas by one or more instrumentalists playing different tunes, including Roses of Picardy.

Also in 1918, another film entitled Roses of Picardy was produced in the UK, this time by Union Photoplays. An actress loves an engineer whose hydroplane is stolen by spies. Information related to this film is extremely scanty. One can only assume that Roses of Picardy was featured in it.


Roses of Picardy
directed by Maurice Elvey (UK, 1927)

A young British officer pays a visit to the village in Belgium where he was billeted in the Great War. He remembers Madeleine who, like a mother to a child, gave him the comfort he craved when he went to pieces after a bloody night attack.

During the war, Madeleine was in love with a French soldier in hospital in Paris, though he was not in love with her.

This silent film was accompanied by music on records or by instrumentalists playing live. Roses of Picardy was on the playlist. In some cases, a singer took part in the show.


Camera Interviews: Mr F. E. Weatherly, KC, the Famous Song Writer
Pathé Pictorial (UK, 1928)

documentary

F. E. Weatherly was an English barrister who wrote the lyrics of many songs, including Roses of Picardy.

A close-up of a rose and the front page of a Roses of Picardy sheet music are superimposed.

 

This silent short can be watched on the British Pathé channel on YouTube.


Strong and Willing
Vitaphone Corporation (USA, 1930)

The american vaudevillian Trixie Friganza sings Strong and Willing, a caricature of Roses of Picardy written by Neville Fleeson.

It tells how Rosie O'Kerry, from a one horse town, went to the big city and was immediately engaged in a music hall company. The manager did not realize the only song she could sing was Roses of Picardy. Never mind! She will fit the song into the show's weekly theme.

She sang Roses of Picardy as a two-part song all by herself, and carried on in a fox trot style. Next week it was a Spanish fandango. Another week, it was a New Orleans jazz version.

     

Trixie Friganza sings and dances in this five-minute-long quick-change act. She does not tell how many weeks Rosie's engagement lasted!

Strong and Willing can be watched on YouTube.


Rudy Starita and His New ‘Octarimba’ in Melodies of Long Ago
Pathé Pictorial (UK, 1936)

Rudy Starita plays Roses of Picardy on the octa-rimba, accompanied by a guitarist and an accordionist. They carry on with Love's Old Sweet Song composed by J. L. Molloy.

This reel can be watched on the British Pathé channel on YouTube.


A Friend Indeed
American Red Cross (USA, 1941)
announcement

Deanna Durbin, blessed with a surprisingly mature voice, became a singer star on radio at the age of 14 and a Hollywood star the following year. She was nineteen years old when she sang in this American Red Cross Public Service Announcement.

With a background symbolizing destruction, and an orchestra playing the chorus of Roses of Picardy in the sound track, she declares that every year she renews her membership and continues, I am very proud this year that the Red Cross has asked me to sing some new words to a very famous old song that I’m sure many of you will remember. And she sings to the melody of the chorus of Roses of Picardy, accompanied by the orchestra.


When there is grief in this land of ours,
Then the Red Cross is our friend in need
Bringing relief as a friend indeed …

The orchestra, in a vibrant coda, supports the final title.

This announcement can be watched on YouTube.


Forever and a Day
directed by Edmund Goulding, and others (USA, 1942)

a portmanteau film

This film was made with the entire British colony in the Hollywood studios as a war effort to raise money for charities. Producteurs, writers, directors, actors and main technicians volunteered. Haydn Wood agreed that no fee would be paid for including Roses of Picardy in the film.

The film tells in as many episodes, the changing fortunes of one mansion in London from 1804 when it was built, through 1941 when it was destroyed by the Blitz. The episode directed by Edmund Goulding starts in 1917; the mansion is by then a boarding house. On 11 Novembre 1918, the patrons—civilians or military, manager and staff, and friends, have a party to celebrate the armistice. They waltz and sing while a sailor plays Roses of Picardy on piano.

Forever and a Day can be watched on OK.RU. Roses of Picardy is at 1:37:25.


Variety Jubilee
directed by Maclean Rogers (UK, 1943)

The son of the Queen's Theatre manager visits his parents to introduce his fiancée to them (he is a soldier on leave). The show is about to begin; one can hear from the lobby the orchestra playing Roses of Picardy.

The sequence begins with a close-up of a sign announcing that today 20 May 1915, soldiers pay half price—and yet in actuality, Roses of Picardy was not published in England until December 1916.


This Happy Breed
directed by David Lean (UK, 1944)

London, 1919: Frank Gibbons is demobilized after four years in the war. He has got a job in a travel agency which proposes package tours to the main battlefields of the Great War.

David Lean shows the agency's window with flags and a picture of soldiers patrolling a devastated field.

An orchestral arrangement of the chorus of Roses of Picardy is the background music for this shot.

Haydn Wood's Bird of Love Divine is also performed in This Happy Breed.

Lean will choose Roses of Picardy again in his film A Passage to India in 1984.

This Happy Breed can be watched on YouTube. Roses of Picardy is at 14:54.


I Live in Grosvenor Square (aka A Yank in London)
directed by Herbert Wilcox (UK, 1945)

The Duke of Exmoor has given his residence in London for use by American GIs. His housekeeper doesn't like foreigners, so she says, but she secretly sews their uniforms' buttons back on and mends their socks. As she does, she listens to a music box which plays Roses of Picardy.

Herbert Wilcox will choose again Roses of Picardy for his film The Courtneys of Curzon Street in 1947.


Devil in the Flesh (Le Diable au corps)
directed by Claude Autant-Lara (France, 1946)

François and Marthe meet again in a pub in Paris. She suddenly lets him believe that she is engaged; at this point, a service man at a piano starts playing Roses of Picardy in a rather joyful manner.

Later at a restaurant, François alludes to the promised Nivelle Offensive. This places the scene in April 1917, which was actually too soon for Roses of Picardy to be well known in France.


The Courtneys of Curzon Street (aka Kathy's Love Affair)
directed by Herbert Wilcox (UK, 1947)

England, 1900: despite his mother's opposition, the lieutenant Edward Courtney marries Kate, their chambermaid. A few months later, Kate moves away from him so as not to hamper his military career. She has always been a lovely singer and succeeds in getting an engagement in a theatre, and later becomes a star.

During the Great War in Arras, France, Edward goes to an entertainment for the troops where he unexpectedly sees Kate singing Roses of Picardy, accompanied by a small orchesta. The soldiers join in the chorus the second time around. Edward goes backstage to find Kate, and they promise to never part again.

  

Anna Neagle is Kate. She prerecorded Roses of Picardy with a bigger orchestra than the orchestra seen in the film.

Herbert Wilcox had chosen Roses of Picardy before, for his film I Live in Grosvenor Square in 1945.


The Good Old Days
produced by Barney Colehan (UK, 1959)
television variety show series

In this BBC reconstruction of an old-style show, pre-recorded at the City Varieties in Leeds and broadcast on Boxing Day 1959, the comedian Smoothey of the double act Smoothey & Layton, plays the chorus of Roses of Picardy on the trumpet, backed by the pit orchestra conducted by Alyn Ainsworth. Out of frame, the audience sings along.

The bill which introduces the show is dated 26 December 1900, but Roses of Picardy was actually premiered on 20 January 1917.

The show can be watched on YouTube. Roses of Picardy is at 14:15.


Brian Henderson's Bandstand
directed by Warwick Freeman (Australia, 1961)
television variety show series

This series was a TCN weekly pop music variety hour on Australian television pre-recorded in Sydney. Brian Henderson hosted the show and the musical director was Bob Young.

In the programme broadcast on 2 December 1961, Lana Cantrell sang ‘a swinging revival of Roses of Picardy,’ as announced by Henderson.

 

At the end of the number, Henderson concluded, ‘Lana Cantrell ... being dynamic with Roses of Picardy as it should be swung.’

The show (incomplete) can be watched on YouTube. Henderson announcing Roses of Picardy is at 14:04.


Coronation Street
directed by Christopher McMaster (UK, 1962)

television serial: episode 129

Dennis Tanner has organized a variety show in the Mission Hall for the benefit of the town's old age pensioners. So many pensioners have flocked in that the Hall is overbooked, but the artistic troupe has not arrived by curtain time. Local pianist Minnie Caldwell tries to take the edge off their wait by playing old chestnuts from the Great War, to which the audience sings along. Backstage, Tanner desperately tries to figure out how to control the crowd, which gets more and more boisterous while singing the chorus of Roses of Picardy to Minnie's accompaniment.

     

After the commercials, the traditional image of the serial announcing Part Two of the episode is accompanied by Roses of Picardy, in place of the well known usual signature tune.

Except for a medium close-up of a few of Dennis Tanner’s acquaintances in the audience, one just has to imagine the Hall with its crowd of spectators. It is not possible to tell whose voices are singing Roses of Picardy.

This episode can be watched on YouTube. Roses of Picardy is at 12:39.


The Great War - Part 11: Hell Cannot Be So Terrible
British Broadcasting Corporation (UK, 1964)

television documentary

This episode is dedicated to the Battle of Verdun (1916) interrupted by a contrasting sequence looking at civilian life in France at the time.

A pan shot shows a funfair at Place Blanche in Paris. The commentary tells that Paris is ‘still pleasure-seeking after two years of war. The music halls are full every night. Tipperary and the Roses of Picardy were favourites imported by the British.’

Roses of Picardy, which was not published until December 1916, could not actually have been a favourite at the time of the Battle of Verdun.

This episode can be watched on YouTube. Roses of Picardy is mentioned at 28:37.


World War Ⅰ: Tipperary and All That Jazz
Columbia Broadcasting System (USA, 1964)

television documentary: episode 19

‘The First World War has a special background music of its own. Spirited, comic, sentimental. An innocent counterpoint to a brutal war.’ In this episode, different experiences in American soldiers' lives are accompanied by as many British or French hits from the period. In and around the trenches, life in the mud is supported by Roses of Picardy in a sentimental mood.

Morton Gould, the composer for the whole series, has arranged for this episode numerous tunes. The chorus of Roses of Picardy is sung by a tenor accompanied by harmonica and guitar in a calm arrangement.

This episode can be watched on YouTube. Roses of Picardy is at 6:04.


It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
directed by Bill Melendez (USA, 1966)

television movie

Snoopy wearing his World War Ⅰ flying ace costume is entertained by Schroeder who plays famous wartime tunes on piano. He bursts into tears when he hears Roses of Picardy.


Picardie Actualités :
Il y a cinquante ans … Doullens 26 mars 1918, le commandement unique

[Picardy News: Fifty Years Ago … Doullens 26 March 1918, The Sole Command]
Office de radiodiffusion télévision française (France, 1968)
television newsfilm

On 26 March 1968, the regional television news in Picardy tells how, on 26 March 1918 at Doullens town hall, General Foch was granted the coordination of the allied armies. The newsfilm begins as follows:

‘Spring 1918 ... In Doullens, barely 80 kilometers away from the front, right in the heart of the English sector, the roses of Picardy were slow to bloom while over there to the east, the red blood of men still watered the fertile soil of the Aisne department.’

 

While the Germans continue their advance towards the west, on 23 March ‘at 4 p.m., Pétain and Gough first meet in Dury, at this castle which served as Foch's headquarters two years earlier. Yesterday, the English demanded three French reinforcement divisions … Tomorrow, they may need thirty to cover Amiens. Pétain, who wants to cover the Champagne area, hesitates. The French and the English are breaking their agreement, the every man for himself policy is emerging. In Paris, Foch asks Clemenceau to create a centralized body to run the war.’

‘On the evening of 24 March, another meeting, Pétain-Haig, in Dury … The separation between the Allies is consummated, both in people's minds and on the ground. The front line is definitely overpowered by the enemy … The situation is desperate on the morning of the 26th.’

 

Around midday on 26 March, the French and the English meet in Doullens at the town hall. President Poincaré and Clemenceau grant Haig the French reinforcements he calls for, while they can appoint Foch as coordinator of the Allied armies. The Germans had continued their advance and now Doullens is only ten kilometers from the front.

The commentary ends: ‘One spring day in 1918, the English and the French at last realized that only one person should rule them all. General Foch was that one, and it was in Doullens that psychologically the tragedy unfolded. And it was also thanks to him that [the Germans] never occupied Amiens.’

Roses of Picardy: the introduction, then the beginning of the arrangement for his orchestra, by George Melachrino, accompanies the beginning of this newsfilm. Then twice this arrangement serves as background music. Finally, a very short excerpt from the introduction concludes the newsfilm after the commentary ends. This arrangement is based on the melody of the song's chorus.

These excerpts are from the recording by the Melachrino Strings and Orchestra (UK, 1963?).

This newsfilm can be watched on Images de Picardie. Roses of Picardy is at 0:00, 2:23, 3:53, and 9:11.


Oh! What a Lovely War
directed by Richard Attenborough (UK, 1968)

At an Army Ball in December 1915, soon after Douglas Haig has been appointed as the new Commander in Chief of the British expeditionary force, guests are waltzing to the music of Roses of Picardy.

There is a chronological discrepancy here: Roses of Picardy was actually composed in 1916.

Oh! What a Lovely War can be watched on OK.RU. Roses of Picardy is at 1:16:26.


Those Daring Young Men in Their Jaunty Jalopies (aka Monte Carlo or Bust!)
directed by Ken Annakin (Italy, France, UK, 1968)

This is a farcical film about the Monte Carlo rally in the 1920s. The competitors from various places in Europe drive to Chambéry, the common destination where they are billeted at the same hotel.

Before going to bed, Willi Schickel finds it a bit long before he can access the shared bathroom. Actually, Lt. Barrington is in there taking a hot bath and delighting in singing ‘Roses are blooming in Picardy.’

 

When at last Schickel can get to bed, he is joyously singing to himself the first bit of Roses of Picardy.

Those Daring Young Men in Their Jaunty Jalopies can be watched on OK.RU. Occurrences of Roses of Picardy are at 1:10:54, 1:13:55, 1:14:25, 1:15:01, and 1:15:15.


Solveigin laulu [Solveig's Song]
directed by Reima Kekäläinen (Finland, 1973)

television series: episode 3

During the 1930s and 1940s in Helsinki, Solveig had a difficult childhood and adolescence, what with a bad mother and a loving but ailing father.

Later in the 1950s, she is walking in the snow with her boyfriend; this is the day of her first kiss. Roses of Picardy is the background music for this moment of happiness.

References are not known for this recording of the chorus of Roses of Picardy for saxophone with orchestra.


Upstairs Downstairs: Peace out of Pain
directed by Christopher Hodson (UK, 1974)

television series: season 4, episode 13

London, November 1918, a few days before the armistice: Hazel Bellamy is in bed with a high fever. One can hear Roses of Picardy played on a gramophone by her husband in his room next door. The doctor wishes that Hazel rests in a quieter ambience.

References are not known for this recording of the chorus of Roses of Picardy sung by a tenor with piano accompaniment.


When the Boat Comes In: A Land Fit for Heroes and Idiots
directed by Ronald Wilson (UK, 1975)
television series: season 1, episode 1

A town north-east of England, 1919: Sergeant Jack Ford returns on leave pending discharge.

At Tom and Mary's wedding reception, Tom's brother and sister talk together about a shell-shocked veteran who has returned to their town—he was buried alive during a German attack; she realizes that Jack Ford helped to dig him out.

Tom, then Tom's father, and later Mary, ask Ford questions about her brother who was killed in combat—he was in the same company as Jack and the rumour has it that he was gay.

Amid the hubbub of chatting and dancing, one can faintly discern a pianist gaily plunking out the chorus of Roses of Picardy in a bouncy new style.

This episode can be watched on YouTube. Roses of Picardy is at 30:14.


Aces High
directed by Jack Gold (UK, 1975)

October 1917: a Royal Flying Corps squadron is based near Amiens in Picardy. At the mess hall, the captain enjoys playing the chorus of Roses of Picardy on the piano.

Superior officers and lower ranks have dinner together. A few pilots hum Roses of Picardy to hide their concern about a missing comrade-in-arms. When his death is confirmed, they carry on humming as if nothing had happened.

A couple of days later, their leader takes some of his men on a binge to a nightclub in Amiens. There, a singer gives Roses of Picardy, accompanied by a pianist.

She sings the chorus of the French version which actually was published in 1918.

Aces High can be watched on OK.RU. Roses of Picardy is at 21:07, 24:09, and 1:25:25.


All You Need Is Love, The Story of Popular Music: Jungle Music, Jazz
directed by Tony Palmer (UK, 1976)

television documentary: episode 4

A sequence of this episode dedicated to jazz music features an interview with the jazz pianist George Shearing, and the George Shearing Quintet in concert.

They play a short arrangement of the chorus of Roses of Picardy in a medley of jazz standards.

 

This episode can be watched on YouTube. Roses of Picardy is at 38:52.


The Good Old Days
devised and produced by Barney Colehan (UK, 1976)
television variety show series

In this BBC reconstruction of an old-style show, pre-recorded at the City Varieties Theatre in Leeds and broadcast on 20 January 1977, the comedian Dailey of the double act Dailey & Wayne, barely starts singing the chorus of Roses of Picardy before he is interrupted for good by the antics of his partner Wayne. They are accompanied by the pit orchestra conducted by Bernard Herrmann.

   

This show can be watched on YouTube. Roses of Picardy is at 23:21.


Vera Lynn Sings
directed by Keith Beckett (UK, 1977)

television variety show

Vera Lynn invited the jazz pianist George Shearing to join her in her television recital of 1977.

The George Shearing Quintet played a short arrangement of the chorus of Roses of Picardy in a medley of jazz standards.

 

This show can be watched on YouTube. Roses of Picardy is at 10:23.


A Christmas to Remember
directed by George Englund (USA, 1978)

television movie

The opening credits' music starts with a lively fiddle tune followed by a warm rendition of the beginning of the chorus of Roses of Picardy, soon followed by a romantic melody, all performed by an orchestra.

At a small country fair in Minnesota, loud sounds from a drum and bugle corps playing Roses of Picardy provide the fun climax for the unveiling of a huge and powerful modern tractor. Russell McCloud is super-impressed with the big machine, and even climbs in during the demonstration ride. As he rides in the cab, he muses about his grandpa's old tractor that was such an important part of his youth on his grandparents' farm. Then the fortissimo sounds of the drummers and buglers playing Roses of Picardy dissolve into a mellow orchestral version.


Christmas Eve 1932: grandpa Daniel suddenly pours his heart out, reflecting on his son's life, their difficult relationship together, and his untimely death in the Great War.

He and grandma Emma have a rare, tender hug which gladdened young Russell. Three bits of Roses of Picardy quickly follow each other. First, a meditating orchestral rendition, followed by the pure sound of a classical violin accompanied by solo guitar to the words (if they had been sung) ‘But there's one rose that dies not in Picardy!’, followed by the tinkle of a bell to the words (if they had been sung) ‘'Tis the rose that I keep in my heart!


Daniel suddenly wants to surprise and please his wife. Though Emma thinks she is merely indulging in a celebratory Christmas Eve cider, her husband has purposely given her stump juice so she will be sound asleep when he and Russell start pulling her harmonium behind the old tractor to the church, in time to surprise her on Christmas morning.

Russell helps his tipsy grandmother to bed. The moving of the harmonium out of the house is accompanied by a mellow orchestral version of Roses of Picardy's chorus. Over its last chord (held for several seconds), a serene bugle call with a drum roll symbolizes the spirit of the deceased soldier son, Russell's uncle.


After the church sequence, the movie reverts back to the small country fair. The mellow orchestral version of Roses of Picardy's chorus starts again, and will develop through the final credits, ending with the bugle call with a drum roll. The grown-up Russell has walked over from the fairground to the nearby graveyard where his grandparents are buried, musing to his grandpa’s headstone and to his wife: ‘Just want to show the big machine to grandpa. He would'a loved it so!

Most of A Christmas to Remember can be watched on YouTube. Roses of Picardy is at 2:17, 53:41, 1:01:09, and 1:27:29.


The Dick Cavett Show: Oscar Peterson
directed by Richard Romagnola (USA, 1979)

television talk show series

During this WNET talk show, Dick Cavett and his guest Oscar Peterson discuss the different stylistic trademarks of other prominent jazz pianists, including ‘the relaxed block chords’ of George Shearing which are likened to ‘the fullness of a sax section.’ Peterson plays the celebrated start of the chorus of Roses of Picardy to demonstrate Shearing's style.

Later, Peterson uses the same bit of Roses of Picardy again, demonstrating two possible contrasting harmonic progressions.

The talk show (incomplete) can be watched on YouTube. The discussion on George Shearing is at 15:09, and Roses of Picardy is again at 17:53.


MASH: Old Soldiers
directed by Charles S. Durbin (USA, 1979)

television series: season 8, episode 18

The Korean war in 1950: refugee orphans are looked after at an American field hospital. Colonel Potter withdraws into his office to remember his four comrades-in-arms of the Great War; the last of them has just died in hospital in Tokyo. Potter plays a record of Roses of Picardy together with a Korean kid who has stepped into the office when he heard the music through the door.

This recording of Roses of Picardy was probably recorded especially for the episode. It is a duet for violin and accordion with added clicks typical of a 78 rpm record.

The episode can be watched on dailymotion. Roses of Picardy is at 14:17.


The Good Old Days
produced by Barney Colehan (UK, 1980)
television variety show series

In this BBC reconstruction of an old-style show, pre-recorded at the City Varieties Theatre in Leeds and broadcast on 9 July 1980, Vince Hill sings the chorus of Roses of Picardy. He is accompanied by the pit orchestra conducted by Bernard Herrmann.

While he is singing the chorus again, he encourages his audience, ‘do you know it?’, to sing with him.


This show can be watched on YouTube. Roses of Picardy is at 30:14.


Montand 81
directed by Guy Seligmann (France, 1981)
televised recital

Yves Montand's recital at the Olympia Hall in Paris was recorded by Antenne 2 in 1981.

Montand sings (and dances) Dansons la rose [Let's Dance the Rose].

Bob Castella on the piano accompanies Yves Montand and leads the instrumental ensemble.

Dansons la rose is a French song created by Montand in 1980 ‘in memory of’ and to the melody of the chorus of Roses of Picardy.

The recital can be watched on Vimeo. Roses of Picardy is at 26:41.


Eureka
directed by Nicolas Roeg (UK, 1982)

1925: Arctic prospector Jack McCann becomes one of the world's wealthiest men when he literally falls into a mountain of gold. Some twenty years later he lives in luxury on a Caribbean island that he owns. But Miami mobsters want his island to build a casino. They attack him in his mansion and beat him to death.

There is a gramophone in the entrance hall with a record ready to be played. One of the gangsters starts the machine, which plays Roses of Picardy.

Sung serenely by Jo Stafford with Paul Weston and his orchestra (USA, 21 November 1947), the chorus of Roses of Picardy accompanies the beginning of this otherwise violent sequence. (Earlier in the movie, a radio broadcast gives a clue as to when the murder takes place: the battle of Iwo Jima, in February or March 1945.)

Eureka can be watched on OK.RU. Roses of Picardy is at 1:28:25.


One Deadly Summer (L'Été meurtrier)
directed by Jean Becker (France, 1982)

Éliane was born after her mother was raped by three men, one of them being a street musician who would go from city to city pulling a player piano.

He is dead now but under a drive for vengeance, Éliane flirts with his son and soon asks him about the player piano. ‘Hey, how did you hear about it? … It's a pity it can play one tune only!


They make love that night at his place, and the next morning she searches and finds the player piano abandoned in a barn. She dusts it off and unveils the monogram M, the initial of the man who could have been her father.

Another day, haunted by the rape, Éliane spins herself around and around until she faints beside the player piano.


Later in the film, a flashback develops at length as to how the rape happened.

Jean Becker and the composer Georges Delerue chose Roses of Picardy as the only tune which the player piano can play. Actually, it is never activated in the film. Roses of Picardy is only heard as a haunting recollection at each instance described above.


Montand international
directed by Guy Job (France, 1983)
documentary

This documentary retraces the series of recitals that Yves Montand gave in 1982 in Paris and around France, and especially those he gave during a world tour that took him to Brazil, the United States and Japan.

He is seen singing (and dancing) Dansons la rose [Let's Dance the Rose] at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles.

Bob Castella on the piano accompanies Yves Montand and leads the instrumental ensemble.

Dansons la rose is a French song created by Montand in 1980 in memory of and to the melody of the chorus of Roses of Picardy.

This documentary can be watched on YouTube. Dansons la rose is at 26:46.


The Indomitable Teddy Roosevelt
directed by Harrison Engle (USA, 1983)

documentary

Theodore Roosevelt was president of the United States from 1901 to 1909. In 1914, he campaigned unsuccessfully for the US to join the Allies when World War Ⅰ broke out.

His four sons served in combat; two were wounded, and the youngest, Quentin, was killed in 1918 when his airplane was shot down.

  

For Theodore Roosevelt it was a long, lonely walk back to the house, to tell his wife Edith the terrible news.

  

To feel that one has inspired a boy to conduct that has resulted in his death, has a pretty serious side for a father.

The music of John Philip Sousa accompanies this feature-length documentary, except for this sequence which is accompanied by the chorus of Roses of Picardy originally sung twice in a row by the tenor John McCormack with an orchestra conducted by Josef Pasternack (Camden, New Jersey, USA, 1919).


A Passage to India
directed by David Lean (UK, 1984)

India, the 1920s: the English Administrator of Chandrapore (an imaginary town) has condescended to give a reception for the local Indian elite in the Club's garden. This is an unprecedented event which he hopes will not be repeated, so that the Club will remain strictly forbidden to Indian people. During the reception, a military band plays Roses of Picardy.

David Lean had chosen Roses of Picardy before, in his film This Happy Breed in 1944.


Le Téléphone, un pont entre nous [The Telephone, a Bridge Between Us]
Ministère des P.T.T. (France, 1984)

television commercial

The French Ministry for the postal services and the telephone network encourages individuals to have a telephone installed.

‘Today, the telephone is no longer a luxury, it is part of our life. And so that men can call each other, talk to each other, get closer to each other, installing a telephone is getting faster and cheaper.’

The chorus of Roses of Picardy accompanies this commercial.

References are not known for this recording of the chorus of Roses of Picardy for piano with orchestra.

The commercial can be watched on ina.fr.


He Died with His Eyes Open (On ne meurt que deux fois)
directed by Jacques Deray (France, 1985)

The detective Staniland investigates the murder of a well-known pianist, Charly Berliner. He hears from a barman about how Charly, when he couldn't bear an unhappy love affair, would go to the bar late at night and sit at the piano: ‘You wouldn't believe it, an artiste, he was on familiar terms with Beethoven … he would play the Roses of Picardy, old crap of the '20s!’ The detective and the barman have fun with humming together the chorus of Roses of Picardy.


A Month in the Country
directed by Pat O'Connor (UK, 1986)

Summer in the early 1920s: Tom Birkin, a young man emotionally suffering from his participation in the Great War, has arrived by train from London to a remote Yorkshire village for a month's job, restoring a mural in the local church. The stationmaster's children, to keep him company, bring a gramophone they install upon the baptismal font. The first record they put on for him is Roses of Picardy.

  

While it is playing, the children have almost an argument with Tom about the lilies in a religious painting they have at home; Tom muses, ‘Why just lilies? Why not roses, or lilies and roses, or just roses, or roses and daisies?’ He will not allow them to climb up the ladder and look at his work in progress.

One morning he thinks he hears the children entering the church and he immediately tells them that he doesn't want Roses of Picardy today. When he turns around, he sees the vicar's charming wife who dares join him on the scaffolding to look at the mural; she wears a hat with one of the old roses she grows in the vicarage's garden.

The chorus of Roses of Picardy, arranged for violin and piano, followed by a few bars for string orchestra, is heard in the film once only. Yet rose symbolism pervades through several scenes.


The Whales of August
directed by Lindsay Anderson (USA, 1986)

Two elderly widowed sisters, Sarah and Libby (Libby is blind) are staying together in the family's summer cottage on an island off the coast of Maine.

One morning, Sarah picks a red rose and a white rose from the garden. An orchestral arrangement of the beginning of Roses of Picardy's chorus accompanies Sarah's visit to the garden until she picks the red rose.

In the evening, when she is alone, Sarah celebrates her forty-sixth wedding anniversary. She tenderly looks at a picture of her late husband (in a military uniform) and talks to him with a glass of wine in her hand, the red rose and the white rose beside her: ‘46 years, Philip, 46 red roses, 46 white, white for truth, red for passion.’ Then she puts the gramophone on and listens to the song Roses of Picardy, with the red rose in her hand, looking out through the window and musing about the intimacy between them.

The next morning, as often, Libby asks Sarah to walk her out to the point, the spot from which they used to watch the whales go by. The same orchestral arrangement of Roses of Picardy's chorus accompanies the start of their walk, and ends on a shot of Libby's rocking chair.

Roses of Picardy's chorus was arranged for the film and conducted by Derek Wadsworth. And Sarah listens to the recording by the tenor John McCormack, accompanied by an orchestra conducted by Josef Pasternack (Camden, New Jersey, USA, 1919)—one edit in the soundtrack cut out the first verse, so the viewer hears the orchestral intro and the chorus only as originally sung by McCormack twice in a row.

The Whales of August can be watched on YouTube. The arrangement is at 6:33 and again at 1:26:30, and the recording by John McCormack is at 1:12:08.


Cause célèbre
directed by John Gorrie (UK, 1987)
television play

England, 1934: Alma, an ex-pianist and composer, talks to George, her young servant. Learning that he was born in November 1916, she confides to him that she married her first husband in 1916. He was 19 when he left for the French front, and she never saw him again. Seated at her piano, she nostalgically tinkles the keys and hums the chorus of Roses of Picardy, and bursts into tears.


Chasing Rainbows
directed by William Fruet (Canada, 1987)

television series: episode 2

Montreal, spring 1919: Jack Kincaid and Christopher Blaine who became friends in France in the Great War, are readapting to peacetime life. At the Welcome Home Boys Ball, Jack meets Paula Ashley and feels rather interested in her. He does not know yet that she is Christopher's girlfriend since before the war.

Out of frame, a small music ensemble plays the chorus of Roses of Picardy for the dancers; first with their female vocalist sometimes forgetting the words and scattingla la la, la li …’ and then, with the instruments alone.

This episode can be watched on YouTube. Roses of Picardy is at 34:08.


Montand de tous les temps [Montand of all time]
directed by Marie-Sophie Dubus and Frédéric Rossif (France, 1987)
documentary

This three-part documentary covers forty years of Yves Montand's career in song. It is made of archival documents of the singer, filmed in rehearsal or giving a recital, on stage or for television.

The opening credits, identical for each part, present a series of photographs of Montand in his private life and in his career as a singer and a film actor, and finish with a shot of Montand singing a few words from Dansons la rose [Let's Dance the Rose]. The credits are accompanied by an edit, interspersed with applause, of the soundtrack of a document in which Montand performs Dansons la rose before an audience.


In the second part of the documentary, Yves Montand in a television studio croons Dansons la rose alone, then a piano and a bass out of frame repeat the melody and Montand joins in for the final line.

The edited soundtrack and the last shot of the opening credits are from Yves Montand's recital at the Olympia Hall in Paris, as recorded for television in 1981. And Montand singing in a television studio is from ‘Grand public,’ a programme directed by Rémy Grumbach in 1986.

Dansons la rose is a song created by Yves Montand in 1980 ‘in memory of’ and to the melody of the chorus of Roses of Picardy. Incidentally, it is titled Roses de Picardie in the end credits of the second part.

The documentary can be watched on OK.RU: part 1, part 2, part 3. Dansons la rose is at 0:58 (part 1), 0:11 and 49:21 (part 2), and 0:12 (part 3).


Another Woman
directed by Woody Allen (USA, 1988)

Marion is a New York philosophy professor on sabbatical leave who is facing a mid-life crisis. She pays a visit to her brother Paul with whom she long had a difficult relationship.

In the corridor leading to Paul's office, one can hear Roses of Picardy played in a nearby room. While they talk, Paul goes and shuts his office door, putting an end to this musical presence.

Woody Allen chose Frankie Carle's piano rendition of Roses of Picardy (New York, 1947).

For a previous film, Radio Days (1986), Allen wrote a scene about an amateur radio channel: the Coopers broadcast from their garage; the mother introduces the programme, and plays the piano accompaniment for her daughter who sings Roses of Picardy; the father is in charge of all technicalities. The scene was shot but it was not included in the final version of the film.

Allen will choose again Roses of Picardy for his film Wonder Wheel in 2017.


Yves Montand`i laulud [Yves Montand's Songs]
Eesti Televisioon (Estonia, 1990)

television variety show

This show of Yves Montand's songs (and Édith Piaf's) performed in Estonian, includes footage of Montand singing Dansons la rose [Let's Dance the Rose] at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles in 1982. It is an excerpt from the documentary Montand international, converted to black and white.

Bob Castella on the piano accompanies Yves Montand and leads the instrumental ensemble.

Dansons la rose is a French song created by Montand in 1980 ‘in memory of’ and to the melody of the chorus of Roses of Picardy.

The show can be watched on OK.RU. Dansons la rose is at 29:39.


The House of Eliott
directed by Graeme Harper (UK, 1992)

television series: season 2, episode 2

The House of Eliott is a London high society fashion house in the 1920s. Beatrice Eliott invites Alice Burgoyne to tea with the idea of hiring her, because she believes her to be an experienced saleswoman with an established list of clientele. While they discuss the matter in the elegant tearoom, a violin and piano duo plays Roses of Picardy.

Actually one doesn't see the two musicians. This performance of Roses of Picardy was probably recorded especially for the episode.

The episode can be watched on dailymotion. Roses of Picardy is at 18:23.


Performance: Message for Posterity
directed by David Jones (UK, 1994)

television play

London, 1967: a committee of the House of Commons commissions a socialist Welsh painter, James Player, to do a portrait of Sir David Browning who had been a long serving Tory prime minister. Browning, retired in the country, is aging and becoming confused.

He turns the television on, mumbling, ‘I hope they sing Roses of Picardy for a change.

One day, he falls asleep in his garden and has a nightmare of the Great War. Visions of trenches and cemeteries mix with a sustained machine-like soft dissonant drone and a warbling soprano singing Roses of Picardy. James Player suddenly arrives, paying a first visit to David Browning. He wakes him up and introduces himself:
– My name is James Player … the painter, Sir.
Ah yes, the painter, in the hush of the silvery dew!
Player does not get Browning's quotation from
Roses of Picardy:
– I beg your pardon.
– You interrupted an unscheduled doze, Mr. Player.

  

Another day, Clara Browning is driving to her grandfather's. The car radio is playing Roses of Picardy. She gets tired of it, ‘Oh, brother!’ and switches the radio off.

The nightmarish visions mix with the chorus of Roses of Picardy sung by the soprano Florence Smithson with an orchestra (London, July? 1917). And the radio plays a waltz version of Roses of Picardy by Victor Silvester and His Ballroom Orchestra (UK, circa 1960).

Message for Posterity can be watched on YouTube. Browning turns the television on at 20:26; Roses of Picardy is at 43:31 and 1:24:20.


Johnny and the Dead
directed by Gerald Fox (UK, 1994)

television series: episode 3

England, the 1990s: the Blackbury cemetery is sold to property developers. The dead appear to Johnny, a boy who likes strolling around there; they ask him to help them save their cemetery.

Two of the dead, Fletcher and Einstein, decide to go to their favorite pub after so many years. They find that the place hasn't changed much, but to them the jukebox is making terrible music. Fletcher presses a button and instantly Roses of Picardy takes over. Einstein starts humming the chorus.

  

This tune of another age spreads confusion and, although a middle-aged lady sings along, all customers and staff run out when the pinball machine and the jukebox both short-circuit. The dead are left alone in the dark and have a beer, much to their delight.

Roses of Picardy is performed by Freddy Gardner on the saxophone with Peter Yorke and His Concert Orchestra (London, UK, 1948).


Black Holes (I buchi neri)
directed by Pappi Corsicato (Italy, 1995)

Adamo and Angela are two tormented souls in search of tenderness and love. He is a homosexual whose job is driving a truck to take rotten bananas to the dump. She is a prostitute.

Once he dreams that they are making love at the bottom of the Gulf of Naples. Suddenly, dozens of bananas floating in the water sink over him while she surfaces.

This dream sequence is accompanied by Roses of Picardy performed by Eddie Calvert on the trumpet, with Norrie Paramor and His Orchestra (London, UK, 31 January 1955).

Black Holes can be watched on Vimeo. Roses of Picardy is at 53:58.


Roses of Picardy
directed by Steven Mochrie (UK, 1998)

short film

After stealing a Somme veteran's medal, an aimless young man is haunted by visions of the war, while the old soldier relives his childhood for the first time since the war.

Information related to this film is extremely scanty. One can only assume that Roses of Picardy is performed in it.


Great Battles of the Great War: Here Comes Kitchener's Army
directed by Ed Skelding (UK, 1999)

television documentary: episode 2

This documentary is dedicated to the Battle of the Somme (1916).

A quiet piano version of the chorus of Roses of Picardy is the background music to its conclusion.


‘The price was the death toll of more than a million men on all sides … Some historians claimed the Battle of the Somme as a British victory, but in winning it, a generation was lost.’

This performance of Roses of Picardy was probably recorded especially for the documentary.

The documentary can be watched on YouTube. Roses of Picardy is at 47:51.


Léargas: Ná Lig Sinn i nDearmad ... [Léargas: Lest We Be Forgotten ...]
directed by Pat Butler (Ireland, 2003)

television documentary

This documentary remembers the some fifty-five thousand Irish nationalists who fell fighting with the British Army in the Great War.

The Irish writer Pól Ó Muiri is in Albert (Somme, France) on his way to the battlefield where his own relation, James Murray, died in 1916.

     

This sequence in Albert (from the railway station to the basilica) is accompanied by the chorus of Roses of Picardy performed by the tenor John McCormack with an orchestra conducted by Josef Pasternack (Camden, New Jersey, USA, 1919).

Part of this documentary can be watched on YouTube. Roses of Picardy is at 2:44.


Ladies in Lavender
directed by Charles Dance (UK, 2003)

The coast of Cornwall in 1936: two elderly spinster sisters, Ursula and Janet, take into their home and soon into their hearts, a young Polish shipwreck survivor, Andrea. Ursula has a dream: she as a young girl is rolling in a sunny field in a loving embrace with Andrea; but soon in her dream, Andrea is looking tenderly at their neighbour, a young lady the sisters are a little jealous of.

The chorus of Roses of Picardy is the background music throughout Ursula's dream and continues into the next sequence, just long enough to show a photograph of a soldier on Janet's bedside table. Janet, a volunteer nurse in the Great War, became very close to this soldier whose wounds she tended, and who later died fighting.

Roses of Picardy is sung by the tenor John McCormack, with Edwin Schneider at the piano (New York, 1928). Dream-like reverberation and echo were added to the original recording.

Ladies in Lavender can be watched on OK.RU. Roses of Picardy is at 1:01:24.


A Little Light Music: Friday Night Is Music Night
directed by Ian Russell (UK, 2005)

televised concert

The first ever television recording of the popular BBC music programme Friday Night Is Music Night was broadcast on BBC Four on 8 October 2005. It had been recorded on 5 August at the Mermaid Theatre in London while broadcast live on Radio 2, with the BBC Concert Orchestra conducted by John Wilson. Roy Hudd was the presenter.

Roy Hudd announces Roses of Picardy: ‘In 1916, Roses of Picardy became terrifically popular in parlours, pubs, and barrack rooms … [And later] it became a mainstay of request shows like Housewives' Choice and Two-way Family Favourites.’ Then he introduces the soprano Janis Kelly.

John Wilson's arrangement, as sung by Janis Kelly, includes the first verse only and the chorus of Roses of Picardy, followed by a repeat of the chorus by the orchestra alone for the first half until the singer joins in for the rest of the song.

 

The story by Roy Hudd of the popularity of Roses of Picardy is true, except that the song—published in December 1916, could not have been popular until 1917.

The concert can be watched on YouTube. Roses of Picardy is announced at 22:21, and performed at 23:20.


La Nuit des Talents [Talent Awards Night]
Conseil général de la Somme (France, 2006)
videoed event

On 25 January 2006 at Mégacité, in Amiens, the Somme General Council rewarded nine talents from the Somme department, well known in their professional or association circles for their craft or industrial, scientific or artistic activities. The event was filmed and stored on a 2-DVD set distributed by the General Council.

The evening was also the opportunity to launch a year of commemoration of the 90th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme.

At the opening, a short film is shown:
A hand is seen writing a poem with a fountain pen, ‘Rose of Picardy.’ This is followed by an archival photograph of a soldier sitting and writing on his lap. Superimposed: ‘A true ode to love, “Les roses de Picardie” has been a famous poem since 1916, when a British soldier wrote it during the Battle of the Somme ...’ Then follow landscapes, monuments, stelae, cemeteries (as one can see them today in the department), interspersed with superimposed shots of the hand writing the poem. Some of those sites of remembrance are the property of each of the allied nations against Germany during World War Ⅰ.
On stage, the pianist Jean-Pierre Baudon accompanied the film, drawing his inspiration from the score written by Haydn Wood for Roses of Picardy in his Bouquet of Happy Memories.

Later in the evening, Roses of Picardy (the chorus only) was played in two musical interludes, first a jazz version by the Romain Brizemur Trio, then a rock version by Jay Morales.

   

Finally at the close the evening, Roses of Picardy was performed by the opera singer Jean-Philippe Courtis and the Musicaa Chamber Chorus, in the version written by Haydn Wood for his Bouquet of Happy Memories. They were accompanied by Jean-Pierre Baudon on piano.

The lyrics to Roses of Picardy were probably written in 1916, but they were not written by a British soldier during the Battle of the Somme. Their author, Fred E. Weatherly, was a lawyer in England. In addition, Roses of Picardy, published on 4 December 1916, was not famous until 1917, the lyrics themselves not having previously been published as a poem.

During the evening, the Musicaa Chamber Chorus, accompanied by Jean-Pierre Baudon, performed all the songs that Haydn Wood included in his Bouquet of Happy Memories.


Lilies: The Sea
directed by Roger Goldby (UK, 2006)

television series: episode 5

Liverpool in the 1920s: the Moss family has invited Billy's friend Nazzer for tea. Billy and Nazzer fought the war on the same ship. They were torpedoed. Nazzer lost both his legs and one arm; he is now in a care home. For the occasion, Billy has also invited another friend, Queenie, to join them.

They all gather around the pianola and sing the chorus of Roses of Picardy.

Nazzer – That was great!
Queenie – Ah naw, pink is teal to a glass eye. But doesn't it make you think about... you know, the war?
Billy – There weren't many roses in our war, Queenie. It was fought at sea.
Nazzer – It's just a song, Bill.
Queenie – Aw, isn't he lovely? And you know after a few drinks you forget you're are a cripple.


This scene can be watched on YouTube. Roses of Picardy is at 8:40.


Downton Abbey
directed by James Strong (UK, 2011)

television series: season 2, episode 8

Yorkshire, 1919: cousins of Lavinia have given her a gramophone. She tries it out with Lady Mary who puts on a record of Roses of Picardy. The dowager Countess of Grantham does not welcome this new technology in Downton Abbey Castle.

  

Roses of Picardy was recorded specially for the episode by the tenor Alfie Boe, accompanied by James Morgan on piano. One hears the song, as it quickly fades into the background, starting from the piano introduction through the second line of the first verse. The recording was processed to sound like a 78 rpm record.


War Horse
directed by Steven Spielberg (USA, 2011)

Dartmoor, Devon, 1914: to pay the rent, Ted Narracott sells his son Albert's beloved horse Joey to Captain Nicholls of the British Army. Nicholls promises Albert that he will take good care of the horse and possibly bring it back to him after the war.

Captain Nicholls and Joey go off to train for battle, and Joey meets and becomes friends with another horse. While they are nuzzling, the song Roses of Picardy subtly begins, played on a gramophone while Nicholls, still in England, draws a portrait of Joey to send to Albert.

 

Nicholls and Joey with their unit have been transferred to France. The song carries on for a short moment over a shot of the cavalry who is going to attack a German unit at Quiévrechain in 1914.

Since Roses of Picardy was not written until 1916, there is a chronological discrepancy here. Sung by the tenor John McCormack with an orchestra conducted by Josef Pasternack (Camden, New Jersey, USA, 1919), one hears the chorus only on a loop.


Birdsong
directed by Philip Martin (UK, 2011)
television movie: part 1

A trench near Béthune, 1916 : Lieutenant Wraysford and Captain Weir get a break in a dugout. Weir has a shave before he half-heartedly opens a package sent by his mother while Wraysford plays solitaire and turns over the Queen of Spades.

A faintly audible gramophone is playing Roses of Picardy.

Roses of Picardy was not recorded until 1917, and Philip Martin chose a recording from 1919, by the tenor John McCormack with an orchestra conducted by Josef Pasternack (Camden, New Jersey, USA).

Another song was substituted for Roses of Picardy on the DVD of Birdsong.

Part 1 can be watched on OK.RU. Roses of Picardy is at 13:42.


Les Fils du vent [Sons of the Wind]
directed by Bruno Le Jean (France)
documentary

This feature-length documentary portrays gypsy jazz artistes who perpetuate the legacy of Django Reinhardt.


At Saint-Quay-Portrieux (Côtes-d'Armor, France), one of them, Tchavolo Schmitt, plays a uniquely contemplative rendition of Roses of Picardy while sitting on a deck overlooking the English Channel (year unknown: Les Fils du vent was shot over eight years and released in 2012).


Before the Winter Chill (Avant l'hiver)
directed by Philippe Claudel (France, Luxembourg, 2012)

Paul, a successful French neurosurgeon, has been married to Lucie for about thirty years. They are still very much in love, although their relationship has developed ongoing patterns of lack of communication. After a tense dinner, he puts a record on and they tenderly dance to Roses of Picardy, sung in English.

It is about then that they start getting anonymous bouquets of red roses, delivered to his office at the hospital, or at home.

The recording chosen by Philippe Claudel includes the chorus only of Roses of Picardy, by the Irish entertainer Sonny Knowles (circa 1972).

Avant l'hiver can be watched on OK.RU. Roses of Picardy is at 9:06.


An Accidental Soldier
directed by Rachel Ward (Australia, 2013)
television movie

A town in France near to the front, March 1918: Australian soldiers are idly hanging around outdoors waiting to be called up to the front.
– Think we'll ever get there?
– I think there is no hurry to get myself shot.
– Yeah, we can't go back without seeing the show, can we? It wouldn't be right.

A gramophone installed on the street is playing Roses of Picardy.

  

Sung by the tenor Ernest Pike with an orchestra conducted by Arthur Wood (London, 12 May 1917), one hears the beginning of the chorus of Roses of Picardy which quickly fades into the background.


The Danish Girl
directed by Tom Hooper (UK, 2015)

Copenhagen, Denmark, 1926: Einar and Gerda Wegener, both emerging painters, are a happily married young couple.

While chatting at a party, they recount the day they first met:
– We went for coffee, and after, I kissed him. And it was the strangest thing. It was like kissing myself.

 

One can hear softly in the background an ensemble playing Roses of Picardy.

Roses of Picardy is performed by Certains L'Aiment Chaud, an all-female jazz orchestra (Soignolles-en-Brie, France, January 2002). One hears their introduction, which is the melody of the verses of Roses of Picardy.


Art Abscon, Secret Show in Athens, Travelling with Ukulele: Roses of Picardy
Art Abscon (Greece, 2015)
videoed concert

His concert in Athens having been cancelled, Art Abscon gave a concert to a small audience on a roof garden in Athens on 3 October 2015. Playing an electric ukulele, he sang his version of Roses of Picardy accompanied by Stelios on accordion.

Mainly based on the chorus of Roses of Picardy, this version includes the line ‘Europa is falling apart.’

Art Abscon uploaded this performance of Roses of Picardy to YouTube.


The People Remember: Courage and Sacrifice
directed by Tim Fransham (UK, 2015)
television documentary series: season 2, episode 3

This season of the BBC series The People Remember was recorded in October 2015 at the Imperial War Museum in Duxford, Cambridgeshire. It was presented by Sophie Raworth and Andy Torbet. Midway through the programme, Raworth's voice announces, ‘still to come on today's programme: (now starts Roses of Picardy's intro) the world's only one-handed concert pianist, Nicholas McCarthy, plays a wartime classic.’

Towards the end of the programme, the presenters talk with McCarthy who recalls how Roses of Picardy was a ‘massive, massive hit’ in World War Ⅰ. ‘I wanted to arrange this piece for left hand alone as a tribute to that era.’

 

Nicholas McCarthy plays the verse and the chorus of Roses of Picardy.

The episode can be watched on dailymotion. Nicholas McCarthy is announced at 24:19, and Roses of Picardy is at 40:38.


Louise by the Shore (Louise en hiver)
directed by Jean-François Laguionie (France, 2015)

Louise is an elderly lady who misses the last train of the summer season and finds herself alone in a seaside resort which as usual, is deserted come autumn. She is surprised that none of her acquaintances inquires about her disappearance, but she decides to face the situation with determination and ends up finding real pleasure in it.

Louise by the Shore begins with an album of vintage postcards among which are inserted the credit titles. These postcards represent scenes of seaside holidays. The credits are accompanied by the chorus of Roses of Picardy played by an orchestra.

     

Once a week in the evening Louise strolls along the empty sea wall promenade, amusing herself with visions of the summer crowd, and she stops at the tennis court to watch a couple playing tennis under the light of hanging lamps. The chorus of Roses of Picardy is the background music to the sequence.

     

One day, poking around an abandoned landfill, her attention is drawn to a sputtering transistor radio; she grabs it in the hope of a good deal, but the batteries are almost dead and the device only emits short and uncertain bits of the melody of Roses of Picardy: ‘[But there's] never a rose [like] you!

The chorus of Roses of Picardy was arranged and orchestrated for the movie by Pascal Le Pennec. It was recorded by the Orchestre symphonique de Bretagne conducted by Johannes Le Pennec (Rennes, Brittany, October 2015). Audio engineering added a Twilight Zone touch to the recording.


Cézanne et moi
directed by Danièle Thompson (France, 2015)

Paul Cézanne and Émile Zola, and friends, with their wives or lovers, spend a leisurely day in the country beside a river.

Writing notes (Zola), painting from nature (Cézanne), picnic lunch on the grass, boat-rides ...


Roses of Picardy is a predominant non-diegetic feature for most of the sequence.

Roses of Picardy is performed by Certains L'Aiment Chaud, an all-female jazz orchestra (Soignolles-en-Brie, France, January 2002).

Note that neither Cézanne (died in 1906), nor Zola (died in 1902) would have known Roses of Picardy.


Wonder Wheel
directed by Woody Allen (USA, 2017)

Humpty is the carousel operator on Coney Island in the 1950s. As he passes by the Cyclone, one can hear in the distance a mechanical organ playing a joyous version of Roses of Picardy.

The next shot shows Humpty on duty at the carousel which is in motion while the carousel organ carries on playing Roses of Picardy.

Woody Allen chose the chorus of Roses of Picardy as played by a Belgian Mortier organ which was kept in Paul Eakins's collection of musical machines at Sikeston, Missouri, and recorded circa 1963.

Allen had chosen Roses of Picardy before, for his film Another Woman in 1988.

Wonder Wheel can be watched on OK.RU. Roses of Picardy is at 12:22.


Songs of the Great War
National Trust of Guernsey (UK, 2017)
videoed concert

The mezzo soprano Patricia Hammond and her duet partner, the multi-instrumentalist Matt Redman, gave a concert at the National Trust of Guernsey's Victorian Shop and Parlour, St Peter Port, Guernsey, on 29 April 2017.

Hammond sang Roses of Picardy, with the accompaniment arranged and played on six-string guitar by Redman.

The National Trust of Guernsey uploaded the concert to YouTube. Roses of Picardy is at 13:11.


Gerald Finley & Julius Drake
Library of Congress Music Division (USA, 2018)
videoed concert

The baritone Gerald Finley and the pianist Julius Drake gave a programme of Germanic and Russian art song in the Coolidge Auditorium at the Library of Congress, Washington, DC, on 25 April 2018.

To commemorate the centenary of the end of World War Ⅰ, they gave Roses of Picardy as an encore. Finley, who was born in Canada, introduced it as ‘one of the songs that the Canadians heard before they found themselves completely demolished at Vimy Ridge.’

The Library of Congress uploaded the concert to YouTube. Finley's introduction is at 1:24:18, and Roses of Picardy is at 1:25:19.


Pilgrimage: The Road to Rome
directed by Mark O'Brien, Deborah Lovett, and Lizzie Toms (UK, 2018)
television documentary: episode 1

Eight celebrities with differing faiths and beliefs tackle the ancient Via Francigena pilgrimage, from the Italians Alps to Rome.

 

They cross the river Po on a little boat sailed by a local, travelling from Lombardy into Emilia Romagna. The actor Les Dennis suddenly sings the very beginning of the chorus of Roses of Picardy—adapted to the situation: Roses are shining in Lombardy.’ The background music to the documentary carries on softly under Dennis's singing.

The documentary can be watched on dailymotion. 'Roses of Lombardy' is at 50:55.


BBC Proms: Last Night of the Proms
directed by Helen Mansfield (UK, 2018)
televised concert: part 2

On 8 September 2018, at the Royal Albert Hall in London, the Last Night of the Proms marked the centenary of the end of World War Ⅰ with a medley of four wartime songs. The concert was broadcast live.

Roses of Picardy was performed first by the baritone Gerald Finley, with the soprano saxophonist Jess Gillam, and with the BBC Symphony Chorus and the BBC Singers in the background. The BBC Symphony Orchestra was conducted by Sir Andrew Davis.

The other three songs were It's a Long, Long Way to Tipperary, Keep Right on to the End of the Road, and Keep the Home Fires Burning. The whole medley was arranged by Anne Dudley.

The concert can be watched on bilibili. Roses of Picardy is at 37:54.


Rick Stein's Secret France
Denham Productions (UK, 2018)
television documentary: episode 1

The celebrity chef Rick Stein travels in Picardy on the look out for exciting new recipes and produce to cook with.

   

Stein, en route to the Beaumont-Hamel Memorial, listens to Roses Are Shining in Picardy which is making [him] quite emotional. It was an incredibly popular song during the First World War.’ He reflects on the 60,000 British [actually, Commonwealth] casualties on the first day of the Battle of the Somme, and visits the trenches at the Memorial.

The mix of Roses of Picardy with Rick Stein's voice suggests that he was not listening to any music while he was driving his car and talking to the camera. The chorus of Roses of Picardy originally sung twice in a row by the tenor John McCormack with an orchestra conducted by Josef Pasternack (Camden, New Jersey, USA, 1919) is the background music to this sequence dedicated to the Great War in Picardy.

The documentary can be watched on dailymotion. Roses of Picardy is at 35:47.


Générations France Musique, le live
Radio France (France, 2018)
videoed radio programme

Générations France Musique, le live is a weekly radio programme featuring several musicians performing live in front of an audience. In studio 106 at Radio France on 3 November 2018, the soprano Clémentine Decouture, accompanied on piano by Nicolas Chevereau, performed several songs created during the First World War, including Roses of Picardy. She sang the French version written by Pierre d'Amor and published in 1918, until the end of the second verse. Then she sang the chorus in the original English version.

The programme was broadcast on France Musique. It was videoed by Radio France which uploaded extracts, including Roses of Picardy, to YouTube.


The Royal British Legion Festival of Remembrance
directed by Bridget Caldwell (UK, 2018)
televised event

On 10 November 2018, at the Royal Albert Hall in London, the Royal British Legion Festival of Remembrance paid tribute to those who served and who lost their lives in the Great War. The event was broadcast later in the evening on BBC One.

While the orchestra is playing Roses of Picardy, Adrian Lester reads a letter written on 12 November 1918 by Corporal Robert Bloch to his sweetheart: ‘Dear darling Millie … do you remember one Saturday night, just before we sat down for a quiet tea? Suddenly, you looked up and asked, “Bobby, how much do you love me?” I replied, “I don't know.” … You dropped your head, and softly sang Roses of Picardy … Last night, I heard a chap play Roses of Picardy. And if you did not come and stand before me, I saw you smile and I was glad.’

 

‘When Robert returned home, he proposed to Millie.’

Then the bass baritone, Sir Bryn Terfel, sings the chorus of Roses of Picardy, still accompanied by the orchestra.

 

The Central Band of the Royal Air Force is conducted by Lieutenant Colonel Darren Wolfendale.

This event can be watched on YouTube. Roses of Picardy is at 46:32.


Living Room Requests: From Deep Purple to Black Velvet Band and Polish Tango
Patricia Hammond and Matt Redman (UK, 2020)
videoed concert

During COVID-19 and its restrictions, the mezzo soprano Patricia Hammond and her duet partner, the multi-instrumentalist Matt Redman, performed in their living room in London, a series of short concerts to be watched on YouTube, made up of song requests sent in by individuals.

Hammond sang Roses of Picardy, with the accompaniment arranged and played by Redman, the first verse and chorus on mandocello, and the second verse and chorus on contraguitar.

Hammond wrongly dated Roses of Picardy 1913, instead of 1916.

This concert was uploaded to YouTube on 9 June 2020. Roses of Picardy is at 31:17.


Roses of Picardy as Sung by Adam LeFebvre
Adam LeFebvre (USA, 2020)
videoed performance

Adam LeFebvre, from Honolulu, Hawaii, the bass in the Full Measure Quartet, sings all four parts to Roses of Picardy as arranged for barbershop quartet by Lou Perry.

 

The title of the video reproduces the title of the song, as designed on Roses of Picardy sheet music in the USA since 1923.

Adam LeFebvre uploaded his video to YouTube on 10 June 2020.


An Aria a Day: Clarissa Foulcher Performs Roses of Picardy by Haydn Wood
Opera Queensland (Australia, 2020)
digital programme No. 70

An Aria a Day is a daily digital programme launched by Opera Queensland to support artistes during the COVID-19 lockdown in Australia.

The Australian mezzo soprano Clarissa Foulcher presents at home a Roses of Picardy sheet music which is dated in writing June 1920. She says that the song was one her father's favourites.

 

She sings the first verse and the chorus of Roses of Picardy, accompanied on piano by Narelle French.


Falling Stars
directed by Michael Strassen (UK, 2020)
musical act digital production

Rehearsals for Falling Stars had just started at the Union Theatre in London when a COVID-19 lockdown was announced in the UK. It was then decided to film the show and make it available on Stream.Theatre.

Peter Polycarpou, who wrote the show, comes on stage and remembers when he found years ago a tattered songbook in an old antique shop. One can hear an intro and the beginning of Roses of Picardy being played on piano. He and Sally Ann Triplett who plays the part of the shopkeeper, will perform a whole bunch of forgotten songs with some stories about the writers and their lives. The stage set represents the antique shop.

Sally Ann Triplett introduces Roses of Picardy, a ballad ‘written in 1916. It was mostly sung by British soldiers after they had left sweethearts in France or Flanders. The lyrics were written by Frank [sic] Weatherly after he had fallen in love with a French widow while she was protecting him at a health centre in France. He was also a lawyer … The tune by Haydn Wood is sublime.’ She adds that Haydn Wood's music in his lifetime was compared favourably to Elgar's. Peter Polycarpou sings Roses of Picardy, accompanied off-screen by Mark Dickman on piano.

Polycarpou sings expressively but he is too free with the lyrics, changing words, and even a line in the second verse for a line in the first verse.

Note that Fred E. Weatherly actually remained in England during World War Ⅰ.


Roses of Picardy composed by Hadyn [sic] Wood 1916
Flo Bonner (UK, 2020)
videoed performance

During COVID-19 and its restrictions and on the occasion of Remembrance Day, Flo Bonner at home sings Roses of Picardy to help raise funds for the Royal British Legion.

‘Dedicated to all those who risked and gave their lives and to my grandad who has wanted me to sing this for a long time!’

She sings along to the recording of Roses of Picardy, orchestrated by David Jones, and performed by the Central Band of the Royal British Legion, conducted by David Cole (London, 2014?).

Flo Bonner uploaded her video to YouTube.


(to be continued)


Other compositions by Haydn Wood in cinema, television, and video

 


Home A short biography Available sheet music Roses of Picardy: the real story
About us Days in the life of Haydn Wood The recorded works The lyrics of Roses of Picardy
Contact us Haydn Wood and Slaithwaite Live performances Roses of Picardy printed music
  Haydn Wood and the Isle of Man   The performers of Roses of Picardy
The Haydn Wood Music Shop Haydn Wood, symphonist   A discography of Roses of Picardy
Our CD A Breezy Ballad Haydn Wood and films   Roses of Picardy in films
Our lectures Haydn Wood 2009   Roses of Picardy: a research in progress

This page last modified 15 Juillet 2021.

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