Dire Straits’ “Walk of Life” Is the Perfect Song to End Any Movie: The Graduate, Psycho, Easy Rider & 50+ Other Films

It’s hard to con­ceive of direc­tor Stan­ley Kubrick choos­ing a more per­fect song for Dr. Strangelove’s final mush­room cloud mon­tage than Vera Lynn’s “We’ll Meet Again.”

Dit­to Mike Nichols’ The Grad­u­ate. Can you imag­ine Ben and Elaine mak­ing their exis­ten­tial get­away to the tune of any­thing oth­er than “The Sound of Silence”?

Free­lance video edi­tor Peter Salomone can (see above). If he had his druthers, all films would end with Dire Straits’ 1985 hit, ”Walk of Life” a tune Rolling Stone described upon its release as a “boun­cy Fifties rock & roll song about cool Fifties rock & roll songs,” not­ing its “cheesy organ sound.”

More recent­ly, the New Zealand-based music blog Off the Tracks pro­claimed it “god-awful,” sug­gest­ing that the CIA could sur­gi­cal­ly implant its “obnox­ious” key­board riff to trig­ger assas­sins, and assert­ing that it (“and those fuck­ing sweat­bands”) were the demise of Dire Straits.

Such crit­i­cal eval­u­a­tions are imma­te­r­i­al where Salomone’s The Walk of Life Project is con­cerned. Over the course of a cou­ple months, he has glee­ful­ly applied it to the final min­utes of over five dozen films, leav­ing the visu­als unmo­lest­ed.

There are no sacred cows in this realm. Casablan­ca and The God­fa­ther are sub­ject­ed to this aur­al exper­i­ment, as, some­what mys­ti­fy­ing­ly, are Nanook of the North and Chaplin’s City Lights. Hor­ror, Dis­ney, musicals…Salomone dab­bles in a wide vari­ety of gen­res.

For my mon­ey, the most suc­cess­ful out­comes are the ones that impose a com­mer­cial send-em-up-the-aisles-smil­ing sen­si­bil­i­ty on delib­er­ate­ly bleak end­ings.

Direc­tor Dan­ny Boyle may have allowed audi­ences to decom­press a bit with heart­warm­ing footage of the real life Aron Ral­ston, whose auto­bi­o­graph­i­cal account of a life-chang­ing acci­dent inspired the film 127 Hours, but Salomone’s choice to move the play­head to the moment shocked hik­ers encounter a dazed and dehy­drat­ed James Fran­co clutch­ing his muti­lat­ed arm is sub­lime. That heli­copter could not be more per­fect­ly timed:

Some oth­er dark gems:

Easy Rid­er:

Plan­et of the Apes


Salomone told Giz­mo­do that he’s tak­ing a break from the project, so if there’s a film you think would ben­e­fit from the Walk of Life treat­ment, you’ll have to do it your­self, with his bless­ing. Fan stabs at Scar­face, The Silence of the Lambs and Gone with the Wind sug­gest that the trick is not quite as easy to pull off as one might think.

You can view the com­plete col­lec­tion on The Walk of Life Project’s web­site or YouTube chan­nel.

via Giz­mo­do

Relat­ed Con­tent:

The Art of Film and TV Title Design

Watch Steven Soderbergh’s Cre­ative Mashup of Hitch­cock and Gus Van Sant’s Psy­cho Films

Hear 4+ Hours of Jazz Noir: A Sound­track for Strolling Under Street Lights on Fog­gy Nights

Ayun Hal­l­i­day is an author, illus­tra­tor, the­ater mak­er and Chief Pri­ma­tol­o­gist of the East Vil­lage Inky zine.  She’ll is cur­rent­ly appear­ing as one of the clowns in Paul David Young’s Faust 3, open­ing this week­end in New York City. Fol­low her @AyunHalliday.

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