Can You Tame Wild Wimmen: Gotham by Gaslight

Just as I finally decided to get my dormant musicalcheese.com url to point to this section, I also got approved as an iTunes affiliate. So, If I can offer some musical cheese stories good enough to get you to click on and buy the music indicated, I might get a nickel or so.

Gotham by Gaslight

While the latest movies adapted from DC Comics have been somewhat hit or miss, they have had several animated videos produced for the home market. Many of these are adaptations of some of the comics’ graphic novels, like “The Killing Joke” or best-known storylines. But rather than being straight adaptations, they twist away from the source material in interesting ways.

Batman: Gotham By Gaslight is one of those movies, and it’s notable in being the first “R” rated DC Animated Universe feature. The original GN, from 1989, was retroactively made the first entry in DC’s “Elseworlds” series, kind of a continuation of their long tradition of “imaginary tales.” Batman: Gotham by Gaslight #1 was written by Brian Augustyn in what’s now recognized as the “steampunk” genre, and illustrated by Mike Mignola (“Hellboy”). It’s the close of the 19th Century in Gotham City, and a mysterious Batman is prowling the city, at the same time it appears Jack the Ripper has come over from London. It’s always Jack the Ripper, isn’t it?

Getting back to the movie, though: Batman is here, Jack the Ripper is here. Additionally, the plot weaves around the scheduled opening of the Gotham City World’s Fair, which looks very much like the “White City” of the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, in 1893. Some other people in the Batman mythos appear, like Commissioner Gordon, Harvey Bullock, the three Robins, and Selina Kyle. Instead of prowling Gotham as the Catwoman, Selina directs a musical stage show and acts as a protector for preyed-upon women.

Oh, those Wild Women

And here’s where we got to out Musical Cheese of the day. Selina has caught the attention of Bruce Wayne and his friend, prosecutor Harvey Dent. The two gentlemen take in the show Selina directs and stars in:

The song selected is a great fit for the movie, even though it was written in 1918, a few years after the setting of the movie, but nonetheless.
“Can You Tame Wild Wimmen” was written by Andrew B. Sterling (lyrics) and Harry von Tilzer (music), and published by Tilzer.

Though the sheet music shows the lesser-known vaudevillian Billy Glason, the popular recording of the song was by one of the best-sellers of the acoustic era, Billy Murray (who deserves a whole Musical Cheese section someday). Apparently I can only link to an album in iTunes:

But here’s an Apple Music preview of the song.

For those wondering, the “R” rating is for the subject matter and some swearing that wouldn’t pass the Comics Code back in the day. Jack the Ripper was a killer of prostitutes, so their business is discussed. And some characters are shown waking up next to each other, but no nudity beyond the Swimsuit Issue level.

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