The Dave Grusin Archive
Music for the Scree

Stars:  Dustin Hoffman, Jessica Lange, Teri Garr, Dabney Coleman, Charles Durning, Bill Murray, Sydney Pollack

Director:  Sydney Pollack
Producers:   Dick Richards , Ronald L. Schwary, Sydney Pollack
Released:  Columbia 1982

Story:  An unemployed actor with a reputation for being difficult disguises himself as a woman to get a role in a soap opera.

Dave Grusin has had considerable experience at scoring comedies, and has turned in his usual professional job on this once-off Sydney Pollack venture into the genre.

The music in this film runs along the lines of what the composer was turning out in his jazz recordings during the period. “An Actor's Life,” which runs over the main titles, also adds pep at strategic stages of the picture.   There is a lively, twinkling quality to it, encapsulating all the movement and ups and downs of Michael's world, and the various jobs he takes on to continue working as a professional actor.

The director was keen on bringing out “the escalation of the idea of a man dressing up as a woman" into something more, "so that the visual gags were working toward the larger sense." Wanting to avoid a punchline-based score,  he admits that he shot the scenes as if they were doing Chekov. He says, “I think the trick for me was not doing it like a comedy.  All the work we did was in coming up with something that had a spine or a center to it.”  The enormous and long-lasting success of “Tootsie” has more than vindicated his approach.

Musical centerpiece of “Tootsie,” of course, is “It Might Be You,” done in two different instrumental versions, as well as vocally by Stephen Bishop singing the lyrics of Alan and Marilyn Bergman.  It has lived after the film, and gone on to be a bit of a standard.

Providing background to the genesis of the song, director Sydney Pollack laughs “Originally Dave and I talked, and I said `we need a song,' and Dave in his usual modest way said `well, maybe we should get some songwriters'.”  The director had his usual faith in the scorer with whom he's done nine pictures, and the result was an Academy Award nomination for Best Song.

The composer adds “the interesting thing about `It Might Be You' is that this was written for a montage that told a story in three-quarters of a song that probably would have taken 10 minutes to talk about if it were straight acting and straight dialogue .  This was amazing to me that it worked the way it did.”

Particularly infectious is the Caribbean flavored vocal “Tootsie,” which accompanies visuals of the metamorphosis of Michael into `Dorothy' as well as the montage showing Dorothy's spectacular rise to fame. Its instrumental companion piece is the bouncy and brassy “Working Girl March” which embellishes images depicting the undaunted spirit and assertiveness of Michael/Dorothy.

The whole picture, named the #2 comedy of all time by the American Film Institute, rings with pace and style, its score all that and more.

Music Editor:  Else Blangsted

Running Time:   1 hours, 56 minutes
Music Time:  (approx) 49 minutes

Warner Bros. - 23781

Also released on CD in Japan


It Might Be You (Theme from Tootsie")
    (vocal Stephen Bishop)
An Actor's Life (Main Title)
Metamorphosis Blues (It Might
    Be You)Instrumental
Don't Let It Get You Down
Montage Pastorale (It Might Be You)

Tootsie (vocal Stephen Bishop)
Working Girl March
Sandy's Song
Out of the Rain
Media Zap

soundtrack album

Dave Grusin
Feature Films



(times approximate)

0.00 - 5.17   (5.17)

“An Actor's Life” plays over main titles and scenes - some with dialogue - of Michael teaching, acting and working as a waiter.

7.20 - 7.39   (.19)

Vocal - friends sing “Happy Birthday” at surprise party for Michael.

7.40 - 9.18   (1.38)

Directly following singing, possible source music of records playing jazz at the party under dialogue of various scenes.

9.19 - 10.18   (.59)

Different source music under more scenes from party.  

10.19 - 11.02   (.43)

Source music of Michael playing the piano as he chats at the party and under other guests' conversation.  Ends with scene after party.

14.01 - 14.13   (.12)

Play in of light melody as Sandy arrives at studio for audition.

16.00 - 16.40   (.40)

“An Actor's Life”  emphasizes Michael's frantic race through the streets to his agent's office to find out why he didn't get a part.  Ends on appearance of agent.

20.03 - 20.41   (.38)

First stinger note of “Working Girl March” - beginning in previous scene - punctuates  Michael declaring his determination to get a job.   The brassy music accompanies “Dorothy' walking through the street on her way to soap opera audition.  Continues as mostly a beat through next scene at the studio

25.01 - 25.12   (.11)

Again moving from a dialogue scene to one out in the street, mood of “Working Girl March” is extended in scene of George approaching Russian Tea Room, with Michael lying in wait to accost him.  Fades out under street noises as they speak.

27.53 - 28.39   (.46)

Again beginning from punch line in dialogue scene (in restaurant),  “Working Girl March” takes “Dorothy”  through street scenes and in shops, buying clothes.  Ends on a screeching note as taxi she has struck a man down for drives away.

31.21 - 31.30   (.09)

Romantic string music in fun as Michael is caught about to try on Sandy's dress, and covers up by ending in bed with her.

31.57 - 32.59   (1.02)

“Tootsie” plays on cue of alarm clock ringing and over close-ups of Michael putting on makeup to look like a woman.  Ends as he asks his roommate how he looks.

37.34 - 37.41   (.07)

Source music of soap opera play in as actors begin a scene.

38.34 - 38.44   (.10)

Source music of soap opera theme during scene with “Dr. Brewster.”  Ends with conclusion of scene.

40.14 - 41.31   (1.17)

Source music of faint piano playing in apartment building as Michael and Jeff chat.

42.26 - 44.20   (1.54)

“An Actor's Life” plays over a montage of Dorothy's experiences on the soap opera, meeting fans, Julie's father, and people watching the show, as well as Michael dressed as himself.   Ends with conversation in the dressing room.

45.02 - 45.12   (.10)

Source music of soap opera play out.

49.33 - 49.41   (.08)

Source music of possible radio playing jazz as Julie prepares dinner.

50.51 - 51.00   (.09)

“Sandy's Song” plays briefly over scene of the actress waiting alone at a table set for two.

51.05 - 52.39   (1.34)

Faint piano music running audibly (but occasionally not) under conversation in Julie's apartment.  Ends seemingly as “Dorothy' suddenly remembers in panic the dinner date with Sandy.

54.50 - 55.00   (.10)

Dramatic source music on soap opera, as scene is viewed on monitor.

55.54 - 58.05    (2.11)

“Tootsie” theme begins  on a stinger at end of a scene, and plays under a series of soap opera situations from different viewing points.  Music opens up, and chorus then sings over  a montage of images of Dorothy's portrayal in the media.  Ends with Michael in conversation with his agent.

59.07 - 1.01.20   (2.13)

Source music piano playing at cocktail party.

1.01.32 - 1.01.39   (.07)

Source music soap opera stinger at end of scene.

1.04.34 - 1.05.02   (.28)

“An Actor's Life” plays over scene of train traveling in the country and vehicle arriving at farm.  Ends with Dorothy's stepping out and greeting dog.

1.05.51 - 1.08.07   (2.16)

Vocal “It Might Be You” sung over a montage of happy scenes of Dorothy, Julie and her father during the weekend on the farm.  Fades out during conversation between `Dorothy' and Julie in the bedroom.

1.08.10 - 1.09.18   (1.08)

Source music “That's All” (faintly heard before the scene in which piano is seen)  played by Dorothy.

1.09.52 - 1.10.26   (.34)

Vocal - Les begins singing “Mary” with `Dorothy' playing a few notes of it at the piano.

1.10.30 - 1.10.35   (.05)

“It Might Be You” played tenderly by keyboard over Michael stroking Julie's hair after she turns away, having related a story about her mother.

1.15.36 - 1.16.11   (.35)

Gentle moment is broken by  wig's curlers falling down over Michael's forehead, punctuated by  “An Actor's Life,” which then plays over train returning to town into beginning of next scene in studio.

1.23.39 - 1.23.55   (.16)

Lullaby plays in music box style as baby plays while Dorothy sleeps.

1.23.58 - 1.25.48   (1.50)

Faint piano music (only possibly source music) plays only sometimes audibly over conversation between `Dorothy' and Julie.  Appears to end when `Dorothy' almost kisses Julie.

1.26.59 - 1.27.59   (1.00)

Source music of “Carnival” playing loudly at restaurant where `Dorothy' and Les chat, then dance.  Ends when band stops.

1.28.07 - 1.28.59   (.52)

Faint source music “Red Sails in the Sunset” as Les proposes to `Dorothy.'  Ends with next scene

1.29.00 - 1.29.44   (.44)

Source music - jazz,  probably coming from a night spot somewhere in the street outside Michael's apartment house as John accosts `Dorothy.'

1.29.48 - 1.30.05   (.17)

Vocal - John sings “I'll Know” in the street.

1.38.39 - 1.38.44   (.05)

Source music on soap opera.

1.41.11 - 1.41.20   (.09)

Source music at end of scene on soap opera.

1.41.36 - 1.41.45   (.09)

Source music on soap opera leading into scene played live.

1.45.04 - 1.45.16   (.12)

Source music on soap opera following scene where Miss Kimberly is revealed to be a man.

1.45.32 - 1.48.19   (2.47)

Bluesy, funky version of “It Might Be You” plays over Michael in the streets, back to his own life, chatting with mime artist, and over image announcing production of Jeff's play.  Michael waits at bar.  Les walks in, and music plays softly as Michael attempts to smooth over things with him.  Fades out during their conversation.

1.49.18 - 1.49.36   (.18)

Bluesy version of “It Might Be You” starts up again after  Michael asks if Julie has spoken about him.  Les gives him a friendly poke.  Plays through to next scene in the street, ending when Julie walks into the frame and sees Michael.

1.50.19 - 1.50.37   (.18)

Source music of a street band playing chamber music as Michael and Julie chat.  Fades away  when they are out of ear shot.

1.52.47 - 1.55.55   (3.08)

“It Might Be You” begins in sparkling fashion after Julie asks if she can borrow a dress.  As Michael and Julie walk away bantering, end credits roll under vocal version of song.

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