The Music Of The Schoolgirl Report

Collecting movie soundtracks is a pastime shared by both film and music aficionados alike.  It’s true that for any collector it is a rare thrill to find something obscure or unique at a reasonable price.  I myself am such a person.  I’ve written before about the first vinyl pressing of Chico Hamilton’s score for Sweet Smell Of Success, but now I am going to write about a different kind of movie soundtrack; the “blue” film.

In 1970, Ernst Hofbauer brought Wolfgang C. Hartwig’s book to the screen with Schoolgirl Report Part 1: What Parents Don’t Think Is Possible.  Hartwig’s book followed a trend in West German journalism that was popular in the seventies.  Journalists wrote about the corruption of youth, often interviewing a number of subjects.  This was the case for Kai Hermann and Horst Rieck who published a series of interviews with girls who performed sex acts for heroin in Stern magazine.  Where Hermann and Rieck’s work was turned into a critical and commercial hit film by Uli Edel called Christiane F., Hartwig’s book was adapted into exploitative commercial fare.

Hofbauer’s film adaptation smacks of sleaze, and the stiff two-dimensional performances of soft-core porn movies.  Though the film and its subsequent sequels are easily dismissible, its soundtrack is not.  Christiane F. has its David Bowie soundtrack (all the songs were previously released); School Girl Report has Gert Wilden & His Orchestra.

Like Xavier Cugat in the forties, Wilden combined contrasting styles of music into a hybrid that optimized the mood and content of the film.  Wilden successfully crosses jazz with acid rock in a cabaret vernacular; creating music that is as sexual as it is distinctly German.  Wilden scored not just the first Schoolgirl Report film, but also all of it subsequent sequels, revising his musical aesthetic along the way with the introduction of vocals and a big band sound.

For years Wilden’s music had been unavailable in the U.S., surviving as an obscure “import only” item.  That is until Crippled Dick Hot Wax Records released an anthology of his Schoolgirl Report pieces to CD and collectable vinyl a few years back (they also released the soundtrack to Jess Franco’s Vampyros Lesbos).  Since then, we’ve been very fortunate to have his music readily available.

-Robert Curry

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Filed under Summer 2012

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