movie music

Discussion of the actors, directors and film-makers who 'made it all happen'

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dfordoom
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movie music

Post by dfordoom »

We sometimes overlook the very important part that music plays in movies. Atmosphere is all-important, and music can play a critical role in establishing atmosphere. So, who are your favourite composers of film music? What classic movies use music most effectively? Are there any examples of movies that don’t quite have the impact they should because the music isn’t up to par?
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ken123
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Post by ken123 »

Miklos Rozsa IMHO was by far # 1 when it came to background music for Noirs ( THE KILLERS, CRISS CROSS, ans THE ASPHALT JUNGLE ) but also for Biblical Epics ( BEN - HUR, THE KING of KINGS ). For Westerns Elmer Berstein ( THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN, THE COMANCHEROS ), A WALK ON THE WIDE SIDE is excellent also.
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Post by benwhowell »

This reminds me of the pairing of (screenwriter) Lorenzo Semple, Jr. and the De Laurentiis family on three campy remakes in the late '70's-"Hurricane," "King Kong" and "Flash Gordon."
The movies may have been "turkeys," but the scores were great!
Nino Rota did "Hurricane." John Barry did "King Kong." "Flash Gordon" was scored by Howard Blake and Queen!
This may sound tedious, but I love it when a film uses one song repeatedly to propel the story..."St. Louis Woman" in "Babyface," the theme song to "Tokyo Drifter" (sometimes it plays over instrumentally, sometimes it is whistled by the hero and sometimes he even sings it) and Dean Martin's "Sway" in "Gaudi Afternoon."
I'm usually too distracted by intrusive scores that constantly switch to comedic melodies and dramatic melodies to establish moods. I wish I could think of a good example. Maybe later...
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Dewey1960
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Post by Dewey1960 »

Dfordoom wrote: "Are there any examples of movies that don’t quite have the impact they should because the music isn’t up to par?"

One particular film that comes to mind is THE MALTESE FALCON (1941) with music composed by Adolph Deutsch, who seemed to be the official Warner Bros guy for gangster and mystery pictures (THEY DRIVE BY NIGHT, HIGH SIERRA, MASK OF DIMITRIOS, THE BIG SHOT, ACROSS THE PACIFIC, etc). Much as I love FALCON (its one of my favorite films ever), its primary (and possibly only) weakness is the score; the music is often bright and overly orchestrated when it should be moody and dark, rendering the film somewhat less than it could have been with respect to its standing as classic noir.
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Sue Sue Applegate
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Post by Sue Sue Applegate »

I feel the same way about The Maltese Falcon score, Dewey.
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Post by Lzcutter »

Best pairing of music and film off the top of my head:

To Kill a Mockingbird (Bernstein)
Magnificent Seven (Bernstein)
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
Chinatown (Goldsmith)
LA Confidential (Goldsmith)
Once Upon a Time in the West (Morricone)
Once Upon a Time in America (Morricone)
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dfordoom
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Post by dfordoom »

Dewey1960 wrote:Much as I love FALCON (its one of my favorite films ever), its primary (and possibly only) weakness is the score; the music is often bright and overly orchestrated when it should be moody and dark, rendering the film somewhat less than it could have been with respect to its standing as classic noir.


I've always felt there was something wrong with FALCON. As a noir it just doesn't work. It has the content, and it has (to some extent) the tone, but the look isn't quite right. I hadn't really thought about the music, but I think you're right - it's also part of what's wrong.
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traceyk
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Post by traceyk »

Musical scores are such an important part of the whole movie experience. Some movies don't have them, or have limited ones and they lose something, somehow.

My favorites are Korngold (all those Errol Flynn epics), John Williams, Max Steiner (what would GWTW be without his score?) Bernard Hermann's Hitchcock scores and Henry Mancini. A little predictable, I suppose, but I know what I like.
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Max Steiner's score of "Dark Victory"

Post by knitwit45 »

When Dick Cavett interviewed Bette Davis, didnt she talk about the score of Dark Victory? I remember hearing her say that either she or Max Steiner was "going up those stairs (last scene in the movie) but by God, not both of us!" According to the story, she was really p***'d off that the director added the music back into the scene.

Mongo, Jack, Moira....anyone heard this before?

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knitwit45
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Max & Bette

Post by knitwit45 »

Ah, John, thank you. I have reached a time of life when I'm not sure anymore if I really heard or read something, or it just "appeared" in my head..... :oops: :lol:

I love Steiner's music in the movie, but I think Miss D. thought it would be more effective (and more attention on her ascent) if there were no music behind her.

One of my alltime favorite scores is the music of Flynn's Adventures of Robin Hood
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Ray Faiola
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Post by Ray Faiola »

People often talk about the number of films that Hitchcock had scored by Bernard Herrmann.

Some day take a look at Michael Curtiz' credits. Then look at Max Steiner's credits. Big films and little films, they were a great team for nearly 20 years.
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Re: Max & Bette

Post by jdb1 »

knitwit45 wrote:Ah, John, thank you. I have reached a time of life when I'm not sure anymore if I really heard or read something, or it just "appeared" in my head..... :oops: :lol:

I love Steiner's music in the movie, but I think Miss D. thought it would be more effective (and more attention on her ascent) if there were no music behind her.

One of my alltime favorite scores is the music of Flynn's Adventures of Robin Hood


Nancy, I'm sure I've heard Davis herself tell that anecdote on a talk show - I don't think it's apocryphal.

As for movie music - I'm a Theramin fan, and I love its eerie and atmospheric sound. I'd love to own one, but I don't think my neighbors would approve. However, I think that all too many films used that instrument just because they could, and not always because it was appropriate to the action. It's not surprising that the Theramin quickly became a movie cliche.

Mel Brooks made that point very well in High Anxiety: "What a dramatic airport!"
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Post by MissGoddess »

A great score plays my emotions like a violin. :wink:

Favorite composers: Bernard Herrmann, Henry Mancini, John Barry, Alex North, Elmer Bernstein, Max Steiner, Franicis Lai, E.W. Korngold

Favorite Scores:
The Ghost and Mrs. Muir
The Pink Panther
Out of Africa
Gone With the Wind
The Searchers
Rio Grande
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
One-Way Passage
Doctor Zhivago
Casablanca
Love is a Many Splendored Thing
Humoresque
Waterloo Bridge
Hard Contract
Un Homme et Une Femme
Black Orpheus
Gilda
The Bad and the Beautiful
The Man With the Golden Arm
The Detective
The Big Sleep
Laura
Captain Blood/The Adventures of Robin Hood
Vertigo
North by Northwest
The Tamarind Seed
"007" Theme
Goldfinger
Thunderball
Love Story
Somewhere in Time
High Noon
Son of Fury
Now, Voyager
All That Heaven Allows
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