Monday, May 30, 2016

"Movie Scores I Love"

We are going away for a few days, and, rather than scrambling to get a few posts ahead so there would be no “dead air” on Just Speaking, I thought I would instead present a handful of selections from my favorite movies scores. 

Also, it’s easier.

Although not as easy as I had hoped. 

To me, film scores are our classical music.  In not a few cases, they are more memorable than the movies they accompany, the soundtracks remaining happily stuck in our heads after the recollections of films they were composed for have long since dissolved and disappeared.

Perhaps – not “perhaps; it is – the most evocative demonstration of the integral significance of movie soundtracks took place during the 1982 Oscars presentation.  To explain how the musical underscoring enhances the movie, they showed a clip from the ultimate 1982 “Original Film Score” winner, Chariots of Fire. 

The clip showed a gaggle of English competitors preparing for the 1924 Olympics, running on the beach, backed by the now iconic Vangelis composition.

Immediately thereafter, they reran the same clip, this time with the musical accompaniment edited out.  What the audience then witnessed was a bunch of Englishmen in short pants padding noiselessly  in the sand.

It was truly hilarious.  And it successfully made the point.

Film scores are really important.  A great one can put you over the top.

I wanted you show you that Oscars Chariots of Fire film clip.  But after close to ten minutes of an all-out Internet “Search” – it was probably closer to five – I was unable to find it. 

That’s what I meant that doing this was “not as easy as I had hoped.”

I don’t know if anyone else feels this way, but for me, doing Internet research is excruciating and exhausting.  Looking at the screen, trying to figure out the precise way to word my request so as to obtain the information I am looking for rapidly drains my body and depletes my spirit, I almost immediately lose patience, my nose itches and my feel fall asleep, none of which I enthusiastically I look forward to. 

I’d make a terrible research scientist. 

“Did you “Search”:  “Similar experiments throughout history”?

“I tried.”


Every day while I’m away, I shall present snippets from one of my favorite film scores.  I am sure there are more than six examples but these are the ones that popped immediately into my head.  There is a list of “Greatest Film Scores” I could have checked as a mind-jogging reminder.  But you know… it’s on the Internet.

I have always written – and studied for exams – with some kind of music playing.  A quiet surrounding feels oppressive to me.  I get stomachaches in libraries. 

Passing my office at any studio I ever worked, you’d hear enlivening music emanating from my office.  Especially film soundtracks.  At Universal, my incomparable secretary Astrid – she preferred that designation – would order stacks of soundtrack CDs from the studio library, and when she was challenged about why I required so many of them, she replied,

“They inspire him.”

She was right.

Check out this example, and you’ll understand.

From 1948, composed by Max Steiner, a demonstrative sampling from the invigorating film score of Don Juan.

An Unbidden Bonus:  I am also providing a magnificent sword fight.

You’re welcome and enjoy.


Josiah said...

Good stuff, Errol Flynn was quite the swordsman. Check out Max Steiner's bio...very impressive!

This has numerous scenes from Chariots, and the entire main theme.

Alan said...

Korngold - Robin Hood...