Quentin Tarantino is a filmmaker who, across a career like no other, has expertly used music to elevate his movies. The audio accompaniment provides an extra degree of emotion, one that pictures alone are incapable of unlocking, and nobody is more aware of this asset than the director of Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, and Kill Bill.
The auteur has previously acknowledged the importance of music while in the early stages of his creative process, detailing how it helps him “find the spirit of the movie”. For Tarantino, the song he selects to use during the opening credits isn’t a negotiable last-minute addition in the editing booth. Instead, he sees it as the nucleus of the scene.
Tarantino’s musical taste is varied, but Bob Dylan’s early records are unparalleled in his mind. Surprisingly, the director has never found a way to shoehorn music into his work despite holding him in the highest regard. However, while making Death Proof, Tarantino did successfully squeeze a reference to his hero using a close-up of the jukebox to display the Dylan song ‘Gotta Serve Somebody’. Tarantino also sent the singer an advance copy of the script because he thought he’d appreciate “the wordplay — the structure of the words in it and the different voices for the dialogue”.
‘Tangled Up In Blue’ by Dylan particularly stands out to the director, and he even described the track as “my all-time favourite song”. Speaking to Uncut, Tarantino revealed: “I know this is off Blood On The Tracks, but it’s my all-time favourite song. It’s one of those songs where the lyrics are ambiguous you can actually write the song yourself. That’s a lot of fun – it’s like Dylan fooling around with the listener, playing on the way he or she interprets the lyrics.
“It’s very hard to take individual songs off Blood On the Tracks, because it works so well as an entire album. I used to think ‘If You See Her, Say Hello’ was a more powerful song than ‘Tangled Up In Blue’ but, over the years I’ve kinda realised ‘Tangled…’ has the edge, just for the fun you can have with it.’
Tarantino then discussed the LP in more detail and spoke about why it remains Bob Dylan’s masterpiece. He added: “This is my favourite album ever. I spent the end of my teenage years and my early 20s listening to old music–rockabilly music, stuff like that. Then I discovered folk music when I was 25, and that led me to Dylan.
“He totally blew me away with this. It’s like the great album from the second period, y’know? He did that first run of albums in the 1960s, then he started doing his less troublesome albums – and out of that comes Blood On The Tracks. It’s his masterpiece”.
Tarantino is set to retire from filmmaking after his next project, but wouldn’t it be scintillating if, before he rides off into the sunset, he finally mould his two great loves together by bringing a slice of Dylan to the silver screen.