The melody of 'Autumn Leaves' was originally written as a ballet
'Le rendez-vous' for Roland Petit
. The original stage design was done by
Moved by the music and the dance, the French film director Michael Carné'
his screenplay on 'Le rendez-vous': not without problems. Originally he tried
to talk Marlene Dietrich
into playing the lead role, which she refused. Another
actor refused the role because of the fact that Marlene had refused. The composer
, who had set the melody of the ballet into a chanson
on the poem '
Feuilles mortes' (Dead leaves), insisted in using the sung version. The movie was
, but the melody (hummed by Yves Montand
) became an instant hit.
History tells that the first recording was made by Cora Vaucair
Yves Montand followed the same year. In 1949, Juliette Greco
made the first
clip while singing the song (amidst autumn scenes of course).
The first English version, which was translated by Johnny Mercer
, was sung by
, the famous French 'chansonier'.
The rest is history: Jo Stafford
(1950), Mitch Miller
(1950), Bing Crosby
(1950), Artie Shaw
(1951), Anny Gould
(1955), Roger Williams
(1955), Nat King Cole
(1956), Stéphane Grapelli
(1956), Duke Ellington
(1957), Cannonball Adderley
(1968), Placido Domingo
(1990) and Ute Lemper
Shmoonkie Poonks, for starting my curiousity: thanks!
'The Originals' - Arnold Rypens