Lai, Francis 1932–

views updated May 29 2018

LAI, Francis 1932


Full name, Francis Albert Lai; born April 26, 1932, in Nice, France; son of market gardeners; married Dagmar Puetz, 1968; children: two sons, one daughter. Avocational Interests: Electric trains, drawing cartoon strips, football, tennis, skiing.

Addresses: Office 23 Rue Franklin, 75016 Paris, France. Agent Milander, Schleussner, Kaufman Agency, 4146 Lankershim Blvd., Suite 401, North Hollywood, CA 91602.

Career: Composer. Performer as an orchestra musician, beginning 1950; accompanist for other performers, including Claude Goaty, 1955, Edith Piaf, 196063, and Mireille Mathieu, 1965. Composer for radio broadcasts.

Awards, Honors: Gold record certification, Recording Industry Association of America, Triumph Award, and Best Original Song award, all 1966, for the album A Man and a Woman; Golden Globe Award nomination, best original score, 1967, for Un homme et une femme; Golden Globe Award nomination, best original score, 1968, nomination for Anthony Asquith Award for Film Music, British Academy of Film and Television Arts, 1969, and Broadcast Music Award, 1974, all for Vivre pour vivre; Best Music Score award, 1969, for Le passager de la pluie; Grammy Award nominations, best instrumental and best original score, National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, and gold record certification, all 1970, for the album Love Story; Academy Award, best original music score, Golden Globe Award, best original score, and nomination for Golden Laurel, best composer, Laurel Awards, all 1971, for Love Story; French Film Board Award, best music score, 1972, for Smic, Smac, Smoc; Midem Trophy Award, 1972; Beograd Music Festival Award, 1972; Tokyo Song Festival Award, 1972, for "Pour un homme"; decorated chevalier, French Order of Arts and Letters, 1973; Tokyo Song Festival Award, 1974, for "Et ce soir tu telephones"; nomination for Anthony Asquith Award for Film Music, 1975, for La bonne annee; gold record certification, 1976, for Francis LaiThe Man and His Music; gold record certification, 1977, for Les etoiles du cinema; Yamaha Song Festival Award, best foreign song, 1977, for "Bonsoir Tristesse"; Europe 1 Award and Cesar Award nomination, best music written for a film, Academie des Arts et Techniques du Cinema, 1978, for Bilitis; gold record certification, 1978, platinum record certification, Recording Industry Association of America, gold record award (Switzerland), and platinum record award (France), all 1980, all for the album Bilitis; Cesar Award nomination, best music written for a film, 1982, for Les uns et les autres; Cesar Award, best music written for a film, 1989, for Itineraire d'un enfant gate; Cesar Award nomination, best music written for a film (with Claude Bolling), 1999, for Hasards ou coiencidences.


Film Appearances:

(Uncredited) Blind man, Smic, Smac, Smoc, GSF, 1971.

Edith et Marcel (also known as Edith and Marcel ), Miramax, 1984.

Hasards ou coiencidences (also known as Chance or Coincidence and Chances or Coincidences ), UGCFox Distribution, 1998.

Film Work:

Music performer, Robert et Robert, Quartet, 1978.

Television Appearances; Specials:

Interviewee, Edith Piaf: La vie en rose, PBS, 1998.



Love Story (soundtrack recording), MCA, 1970.

Lai's music is represented on a number of albums, including the soundtrack recordings from Bilitis, A Man and a Woman (album from Un homme et une femme ), and Vivre pour vivre, and on the albums Les etoiles du cinema and Francis LaiThe Man and His Music. Recordings of singles include "Bonsoir Tristesse," "Et ce soir tu telephones," and "Pour un homme."


Film Music:

Circle of Love (also known as La ronde ), Continental, 1964.

Un homme et une femme (also known as A Man and a Woman ), Allied Artists, 1966.

Masculine Feminine (also known as Masculin feminin ), Royal, 1966.

The Bobo, Warner Bros., 1967.

Vivre pour vivre (also known as Live for Life and Vivere per vivere ), United Artists, 1967.

Mon amour, mon amour (also known as My Love, My Love ), 1967.

I'll Never Forget What's 'is Name, Regional, 1968.

La louve solitaire (also known as The Lone She Wolf and La gatta dagli artigli d'oro ), 1968.

13 jours en France (documentary; also known as Challenge in the Snow and Grenoble ), 1968.

La lecon particuliere (also known as Tender Moment ), 1968.

Le soleil des voyous (also known as Action Man, Leather and Nylon, and Il piu grande colpo del secolo ), H. K. Film Distribution, 1969.

La vie, l'amour, la mort (also known as Life Love Death and La vita, l'amore, la morte ), Lopert, 1969.

Three into Two Won't Go, Universal, 1969.

House of Cards, Universal, 1969.

Mayerling, MetroGoldwynMayer, 1969.

Hannibal Brooks, United Artists, 1969.

The Games, Twentieth CenturyFox, 1970.

HelloGoodbye, Twentieth CenturyFox, 1970.

Un homme qui me plait (also known as Again a Love Story, Love Is a Funny Thing, A Man I Like, Histoire d'aimer, and Un tipo che mi piace ), United Artists, 1970.

Le passager de la pluie (also known as Passenger in the Rain, Rider in the Rain, and L'uomo venuto dalla pioggia ), Avco Embassy, 1970.

Love Story, Paramount, 1970.

Madly (also known as The Love Mates and Madly, il piacere dell'uomo ), New Line Cinema, 1970.

Le petite matin (also known as Early Morning ), 1970.

Du soliel plein les yeux (also known as Eyes Full of Sun ), 1970.

La modification, 1970.

Smic, Smac, Smoc, GSF, 1971.

Le voyou (also known as The Crook and Simon the Swiss ), United Artists, 1971.

Les petroleuses (also known as Frenchie King, The Legend of Frenchie King, The Oil Girls, The Petroleum Girls, and Le pistolere ), Hemdale, 1971.

L'odeur des fauves (also known as Scandal Man ), 1971. La course du lievre a travaers leschamps (also known as ... And Hope to Die and La corsa della lepre attraverso i campi ), Twentieth CenturyFox, 1972.

L'aventure c'est l'aventure (also known as Money Money Money and L'avventura e l'avventura ), GSF, 1972.

Le petite poucet (also known as Tom Thumb ), 1972.

Un homme libre (also known as A Free Man ), 1973.

Par le sang des autres (also known as By the Blood of Others ), 1973.

Un amour de pluie (also known as Loving in the Rain, Male d'amore, and Sommerliebelei ), 1973.

La bonne annee (also known as Happy New Year, The Happy New Year Caper, and Una donna e una canaglia ), Avco Embassy, 1973.

Les hommes (also known as Killing in the Sun, Men, and Regolamenti di conti ), Cocinor, 1973.

Reigen (also known as Dance of Love and MerryGo Round ), 1973.

Dans le poussiere du soleil (also known as Dust in the Sun and Lust in the Sun ), 1973.

Visit to a Chief's Son, United Artists, 1974.

Emmanuelle, 1974.

Jeune fille libre le soir (also known as The Babysitter, L.A. Babysitter, The Raw Edge, Wanted: Babysitter, BabysitterUn maledetto pasticcio, and Das Banz grosse Ding ), Titanus, 1975.

Le chat et la souris (also known as Cat and Mouse and Seven Suspects for Murder ), Quartet, 1975.

Child under a Leaf (also known as Love Child ), Cinema National, 1975.

Toute une vie (also known as And Now My Love and Tutta una vita ), Avco Embassy, 1975.

Mariage (also known as Marriage ), 1975.

Emmanuelle II (also known as Emmanuelle's 7th Heaven, Emmanuelle: The Joys of a Woman, and Emmanuelle l'antivierge ), 1975.

Si c'etait a refaire (also known as If I Had to Do It All Over Again and Second Chance ), United Artists Classics, 1976.

Le corps de mon ennemi (also known as Body of My Enemy ), AMLF, 1976.

Le bon et les mechants (also known as The Good Guys and the Bad Guys ), 1976.

The Good and the Bad, Paramount, 1976.

Bilitis, Topar, 1976.

Striptease (also known as Insanity ), 1976.

Un autre homme, une autre chance (also known as Another Man, Another Chance and Another Man, Another Woman ), United Artists, 1977.

Anima persa (also known as The Forbidden Room, Lost Soul, and Ames perdues ), Dean Films/Les Productions Fox Europe, 1977.

Nido de viudas (also known as Widow's Nest ), Navarro Productions, 1977.

First musical theme, Robert et Robert, Quartet, 1978.

International Velvet, MetroGoldwynMayer/United Artists, 1978.

Les ringards (also known as The Small Timers ), 1978.

Leidenschaftliche Bluemchen (also known as Boarding School, Passion Flower Hotel, Preppy School Girls, and Virgin Campus ), 1978.

(With Lee Holdridge; and song "Oliver's Theme") Oliver's Story, Paramount, 1979.

A nous deux (also known as An Adventure for Two and Us Two ), AMLF, 1979.

Les borsalini, 1980.

(And song "J'attends l'amour") Beyond the Reef (also known as Sea Killer and Shark Boy of Bora Bora ), Universal, 1981.

Madame Claude 2 (also known as Intimate Moments ), 1981.

(With Michel Legrand) Bolero (also known as Within Memory and Les uns et les autres ), Double 13/Sharp Features, 1982.

Salut la puce, Naja Film, 1983.

Canicule (also known as Dog Day ), UGC, 1984.

Edith et Marcel (also known as Edith and Marcel ), Miramax, 1984.

Les ripoux (also known as My New Partner and Le cop ), AMLF, 1984.

(With Roman Romanelli) Gefahr fuer die LiebeAids (also known as AIDSA Danger for Love and A.I. D.S.: Trop jeune pour mourir ), Cinevox, 1985.

J'ai rencontre le Pere Noel (also known as Here Comes Santa Claus ), New World, 1985.

Marie (also known as Marire: A True Story ), MetroGoldwynMayer/United Artists, 1985.

Saijo densetsu, 1985.

Un homme et une femme: Vingt ans deja (also known as A Man and a Woman: Twenty Years Later ), Warner Bros., 1986.

Attention Bandits! (also known as Bandits ), Grange Communications/Jerry Winters, 1987.

Oci ciornie (also known as Dark Eyes and Ochi Chyornye ), Island Pictures, 1987.

(With others) Date with an Angel, DeLaurentiis Entertainment Group, 1987.

L'association des malfaiteurs (also known as Association of Wrongdoers ), AMLF, 1987.

Bernadette, Cannon, 1988.

Les pyramides bleues (also known as The Novice, Paradise Calling, and La novicia ), Sofracima/FR3 Films/Artedis, 1988.

Itineraire d'un enfant gate (also known as Itinerary of a Spoiled Child and Der Loewe ), AFMD, 1988.

Keys to Freedom (also known as Death Dealers ), RPB Pictures/Queen's Cross Productions, 1989.

Der Atem (also known as The Spirit ), 1989.

La passion de Bernadette, 1989.

Ripoux contre ripoux (also known as My New Partner at the Races, My New Partner II, and Le cop 2 ), AMLF, 1990.

Tolgo il disturbo (also known as I'll Be Going Now and Valse d'amour ), 1990.

Il y a des jours ... et des lunes (also known as There Were Days and Moons ), 1990.

Le provincial, 1990.

Les cles du paradis (also known as The Keys to Paradise ), 1991.


L'inconnu dans la maison (also known as Stranger in the House ), 1992.

Tout ca ... pour ca! (also known as All That ... for This? ), Jose Frade Producciones Cinematograficas, 1993.

Le voleur et la menteuse (also known as The Thief and the Liar ), Les Films 13/Les Films Tapon, 1994.

Les Miserables (also known as Les miserables du vingtieme siecle ), Warner Bros., 1995.

Hommes, femmes, mode d'emploi (also known as Men, Women: A User's Manual ), Gala Films, 1996.

Le serment sous la lune, 1997.

Hasards ou coiencidences (also known as Chance or Coincidence and Chances or Coincidences ), UGCFox Distribution, 1998.

Une pour toutes (also known as One 4 All ), Bac Films, 1999.

Les insaisissables, Opening Distribution, 2000.

Plastic Tree, 2003.

Ripoux 3, Gaumont, 2003.

Also composer for the film Indian Summer.

Songs Featured in Films:

Many of Lai's original film songs have been featured in subsequent films. The music from Love Story was featured in Earth Girls Are Easy, released in 1988; Trop belle pout roi (also known as Too Beautiful for You ), released by Orion Classics in 1990; and 200 Cigarettes, released by Paramount in 1999. Excerpts of his music were included in One Hundred and One Nights, released by Cinema Village Features in 1995. The music from Un homme et une femme was featured in Hustle, released in 1970; My Best Friend's Wedding, released by TriStar in 1997; in Bringing Down the House, released by Buena Vista in 2003; and in The InLaws, released in 2003. Several of Lai's songs were featured in the film The Kid Stays in the Picture, released by Focus Features in 2002.

Television Music; Miniseries:

Les uns et les autres, 1983.

(Including theme song, "Hard to Be Tender") Sins (also known as 3Sins ), CBS, 1986.

Disperatamente Giulia, 1989.

Television Music; Movies:

The Berlin Affair, NBC, 1970.

Theme song, The Sex Symbol, ABC, 1974.

Television Music; Other:

Brigitte Bardot (special), NBC, 1968.

Ein Abend zu zweit, 1969.

Pig in the Middle (series), 1980.

Also composer of music for Les etoiles du cinema. The theme music for the film Love Story was also featured in the television series Love Story, broadcast by NBC in 1973. Lai's original compositions have been featured in subsequent television programs. The music from the film Bilitis was featured in the television series Celeste, broadcast in 1977; and Celeste siempre Celeste, broadcast in 1994.


Contributor to periodicals, including Film Francais.



International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers, Volume 4: Writers and Production Artists, St. James Press, 1996.

Lai, Francis

views updated Jun 27 2018

LAI, Francis

Composer. Nationality: French. Born: Francis Albert Lai in Nice, 26 April 1932. Education: Attended Lycée Saint-Philippe, Nice. Family: Married Dagmar Pütz, 1968; two sons, one daughter. Career: 1950—orchestra musician; then accompanist for Claude Goaty, 1955, Edith Piaf, 1960–63, and Mireille Mathieu, 1965; composer of songs for Piaf, Gréco, Montand, and others; 1966—first film score, for A Man and a Woman, the first of many films for Lelouch; also composer for radio and TV. Awards: Academy Award, for Love Story, 1970.

Films as Composer:


Un Homme et une femme (A Man and a Woman) (Lelouch); Masculin-Féminin (Masculine-Feminine) (Godard) (co)


La Louve solitaire (Logereau); The Bobo (Parrish); Mon amour, mon amour (Trintignant); Le Soleil des voyous (Action Man; Leather and Nylon) (Delannoy); I'll Never Forget What's 'is Name (Winner); Vivre pour vivre (Live for Life) (Lelouch)


Mayerling (Young); Treize jours en France (Grenoble) (Lelouch and Reichenbach—doc)


La Vie, l'amour, la mort (Life, Love, Death) (Lelouch); Three into Two Won't Go (Hall); Hannibal Brooks (Winner); House of Cards (Guillermin); La Modification (Worms); Un Homme qui me plaît (Love Is a Funny Thing) (Lelouch); Le Passager de la pluie (Rider on the Rain) (Clément)


Du soleil plein les yeux (Boisrond); Madly (Kahane); Le Voyou (The Crook) (Lelouch); The Games (Winner); Dans la poussière du soleil (Balducci); Hello-Goodbye (Negulesco); Love Story (Hiller); Berlin Affair (Rich)


Smic, Smac, Smoc (Lelouch) (+ ro); Le Petit Matin (Albicocco); L'Odeur des fauves (Balducci); Les Pétroleuses (The Legend of Frenchie King; The Petroleum Girls) (Christian-Jaque)


Le Petit Poucet (Boisrond); Les Hommes (Vigne); L'Aventure c'est l'aventure (Money Money Money) (Lelouch); La Course du lièvre à travers les champs (And Hope to Die) (Clément)


Un Homme libre (A Free Man) (Muller); La Bonne Année (Happy New Year) (Lelouch)


Child under a Leaf (Broomfield); La Ronde (Le Baiser) (Schenk); The Sex Symbol (Rich) (co); Toure une vie (And Now My Love; A Lifetime) (Lelouch); Par le sang des autres (With the Blood of Others) (Simenon); Un Amour de pluie (Loving in the Rain) (Brialy); A Visit to a Chief's Son (Johnson); Emmanuelle (Jaeckin)


Le Chat et la souris (Cat and Mouse) (Lelouch); Le Baby-Sitter (Clément); Mariage (Lelouch); Emmanuelle II: L'Antivierge (Emmanuelle II: Joys of a Woman) (Giacobetti)


Le Bon et les méchants (The Good and the Bad) (Lelouch); Si c'était à refaire (A Second Chance) (Lelouch); Le Corps de mon ennemi (The Body of My Enemy) (Verneuil)


Anima persa (Risi); Bilitis (Hamilton); Un Autre Homme, une autre chance (Another Man, Another Chance) (Lelouch); Nido de viudas (Widows' Nest) (Navarro)


International Velvet (Forbes); Robert et Robert (Lelouch); Oliver's Story (Korty); Passion Flower Hotel (Farwagi); Les Ringards (The Small Timers) (Pouret)


A nous deux (Us Two) (Lelouch)


Les Uns et les autres (Bolero; Within Memory) (Lelouch); Madame Claude 2 (Intimate Moments) (Mimet); Beyond the Reef (Clarke)


Salut la puce (Balducci)


Edith et Marcel (Edith and Marcel) (Lelouch); Canicule (Dogsday) (Boisset)


Les Ripoux (My New Partner; Le Cop) (Zidi); J'ai recontré le Père Noel (Here Comes Santa Claus) (Gion)


Marie (Donaldson)


Association de malfaiteurs (Zidi); Un Homme et une femme: vingt ans déjà (A Man and a Woman: 20 Years Later) (Lelouch)


Attention Bandits (Bandits) (Lelouch); Oci ciornie (Dark Eyes) (Mikhalkov)


Bernadette (Delannoy); Itinéraire d'un enfant gaté (Lelouch); Les Pyramides bleues (Dombasle)


Der Aten; Earth Girls Are Easy (Temple) (song); Trop belle pour toi (Too Beautiful for You) (Blier)


Il y a des jours . . . et des lunes (There Were Days . . . and Moons) (Lelouch) (co); Provincial (Gion); Ripoux contre Ripoux (My New Partner II; Le Cop 2) (Zidi)


Les Cléfs du paradis (DeBroca); La Belle Histoire (Lelouch)


Tolgo il disturbo (Risi); L'inconnu dans la maison (Lautner)


Tout ça pour ça (Lelouch)


Le voleur at la menteuse (Boujenah)


Les Misérables (Lelouch)


Hommes, femmes, mode d'emploi (Men, Women: A User's Manual)


My Best Friend's Wedding (Hogan)


Une pour toutes (One 4 All) (Lelouch)


By LAI: article—

Film Français (Paris), 16 January 1981.

CinémAction (Conde-sur-Noireau), September 1990.

On LAI: articles—

Ecran (Paris), September 1975.

Film Français (Paris), 3 February 1978.

Film Français (Paris), 2 February 1979.

Score (Lelystad, Netherlands), December 1980.

Lelouch, Claude, in Sight and Sound (London), Summer 1983.

* * *

Francis Lai's first movie credits were for Masculine-Feminine and A Man and a Woman, both released in 1966. Lai's participation in Masculine-Feminine went almost unnoticed, but his score for A Manand a Woman made him an internationally prominent film composer. A Man and a Woman brought honors and recognition to both the director Claude Lelouch (Grand Prize at Cannes, two Academy Awards) and composer Lai (gold record, many versions of the theme song).

The music of A Man and a Woman is simple, lyrical, and sentimental. Lai's songs and Pierre Barouh's lyrics are often charming. But the original aspect of this score lies in the combination of music and image. Music in A Man and a Woman often has an importance at least equal to the images. Music provides emotion, tempo, and movement, while Lelouch's swooping camera and rapid montage add impressionistic details. This is especially true of the film's last half hour, where Lelouch and Lai present several fine songs-with-montage and very few dialogue scenes. In contemporary terms, one could describe the concluding half hour as a suite of music videos. The integration of image and score in A Man and a Woman was widely copied in the 1960s and 1970s.

Lai and Lelouch collaborated on a number of films. Their working method was unusual. Lai would write the main themes for a film after discussions with the director, but before production. The music then served as a guide for filming and editing. Writing music before rather than after production makes the composer much more of a creative partner to the writer and director than is normally the case.

The Lai-Lelouch collaborations are surprisingly diverse. Live for Life and Love Is a Funny Thing have sentimental scores and montage sequences on the model of A Man and a Woman. Treize jours en France, a documentary of the Winter Olympics of 1968, has a lovely score of four interwoven songs which pulls together the sometimes scattered images. The score of The Crook consists mainly of one brash pop song fragmented and repeated in various ways. In Smic, Smac, Smoc, Lai appears on camera as a blind accordionist to play the film's theme song. The Good and the Bad, set in the 1940s, has an interesting period score, with Lai quoting liberally from Glenn Miller. And Now My Love and Les Uns et les autres, both ambitious generational sagas, use music and image to evoke a number of historical periods. And Now My Love's amalgam of Lai originals, Gilbert Bécaud vocals, and American and French pop tunes is more successful than the even more eclectic mix ("Bolero," Beethoven, Glenn Miller, Francis Lai, Michel Legrand) of Les Uns et les autres.

Aside from his work with Lelouch, Lai is best-known for his Academy Award-winning score for Love Story. The sad, sentimental theme for that film has become a pop standard, and he went on to write another strong theme for Oliver's Story, the sequel. Lai's other credits include the haunting music for Rider on the Rain and the very sentimental score for International Velvet. He has worked extensively in France, England, and the United States, and he has composed for everything from historical epics to soft-core pornography.

Lai's great strength is his ability to shape a score to the needs of a particular film. Although he is one of Muzak's favorite composers—half a dozen of his songs can be heard at the local supermarket or dentist's office—he is also a competent craftsman of film music, with several fine scores to his credit.

—Peter Lev

About this article

Francis Lai

All Sources -
Updated Aug 08 2016 About content Print Topic