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Guest finnie12, moira

Your Favorite Movie Composers

24 posts in this topic

Guest finnie12, moira

Do you have a favorite film composer whose work you could recommend? Why? Are there any film scores that you find annoying or that detract from a movie?

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Guest jeanecooper

Do re mi - Maurice Jarre for "The Longest Day", "Dr. Zhivago" and "Passage to India" Did you also know that Paul Anka wrote the theme song for "TLD"?

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Guest mongo

The one and only Max Steiner. What a resume! "King Kong" (1933), "The Informer", "A Star Is Born", "Jezebel", "Angel's with Dirty Faces", "Dark Victory", 'GONE WITH THE WIND", "The Letter", "Now, Voyager", "Since You Went Away", "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre", "Johnny Belinda", "Casablanca", Sergeant York", "A Summer Place" and so many other delights.

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Guest K, Sandy

Gosh, mongo, I love Max Steiner! He wrote some good ones. One of his scores that I love is from LITTLE WOMEN. As for annoying scores, THE PELICAN BRIEF has one of those most jarring scores ever! Maybe that's what the composer was trying to do, but it almost ruined my enjoyment of the movie. My favorite current-day movie composer is Danny Elfman-PEE-WEE'S BIG ADVENTURE, EDWARD SCISSORHANDS, THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS.

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Guest olmsted, l

I more familiar with composers of today--John Barry's score for Out of Africa was the only thing--besides Meryl Streep--that saved that movie. He also composed the score for Somewhere in Time--just beautiful. Other faves are Patrick Doyle (Much Ado About Nothing, Great Expectations), Rachel Portman (Chocolat, Emma 1997, Benny and Joon), and Thomas Newman(Shawshank Redemption, Scent of a Woman). It seems to me ,that except for the classics that had Overtures and Intermissions, not much attention was paid to the music in films until fairly recently. These days, the music plays just as much of a part in a film as its star actress and actor. In classic film, the music was simply a backdrop--except for the most memorable score EVER, Gone With the Wind!

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Guest mongo

Olmsted, is Thomas Newman related to top notch film composer Alfred Newman? Remember "Airport", "The King and I", "With a Song in My Heart", "How Green Was My Valley", "Camelot", "The Song of Bernadette" and so many others.

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Guest olmsted, l

Thomas Newman is Alfred Newman's son. Dad won something like 10 or 11 Oscars and was nominated for countless others. I've always been able to appreciate the film scores of films, but what I guess I've noticed is that more attention seems to be paid to the music of contemporary films. For instance, when you go to the "Soundtrack" section at a music store, they carry the scores and soundtracks from new movies, but if you try to find one from a classic (unless it's a musical), you'll be hard pressed.

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Guest finnie12, moira

I think my favorite film composer from the classic era is Bernard Herrmann--not so much for the well known Hitchcock scores, but for the brooding, romantic score of "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir", written for that movie in the late '40s. His music from this can stand alone, but in context, it is almost another character, mirroring the emotions and movements of the characters and the sea. I also like his music for "The Devil and Daniel Webster", "The Day the Earth Stood Still", and "Taxi Driver". Did you know that Herrmann died in his sleep a few hours after recording the latter score? Among contemporary composers I like some of Jerry Goldsmith's work, especially his "Chinatown" score and the jazz score for "The Russia House" with Branford Marsalis on alto saxophone. The music for "Anatomy of a Murder" by Duke Ellington seems jarring to me, but it's grown on me, especially since this is one of my favorite movies, and a feast of ensemble acting-- with terrific interplay from James Stewart to Eve Arden to Murray Hamilton to George C. Scott.

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Guest walker, ken

My favorite from the classics is Alfred Newman.My modern favorite is Randy Edleman for "Gettysburg".

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Guest Cat, Maggie the

Another great is Miklos Rosza. He scored a lot of films noir. But what was really amazing was his work on Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid. If you haven't seen it, it's an affectionate spoof of film noir, with Steve Martin interacting with characters from This Gun for Hire, The Asphalt Jungle, etc. (At one point, he dresses up in drag, as Phyllis Dietrichson from Double Indemnity. It's a hoot!) Anyway, much of the footage from the old films had music cues that were impossible to take out, so Rosza had to weave the existing music into the score. He managed it, seamlessly. That's pretty darn amazing.

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Guest son, jery

Max Steiner is god. His scores for Bette Davis alone make him immortal. His score for "Mildred Pierce" was another stunner. I was with an audience here in l980 when the old Regency Theater here in NYC played 1949's "Beyond the Forest." Woooo! Talk about being knocked out of your seats. When Steiner's name appeared on the screen, everyone cheered and applauded. At the end, we all jumped to our feet and screamed: "Bravo!"

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Guest Alix

Seeing as how I just voted for Max Steiner, how about a vote for Aaron Copland? I love his score for THE HEIRESS.

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Guest Kilduff, John

The man who walked as a synthesizer God... GIORGIO MORODER! You want proof? "Midnight Express" soundtrack...first track, "Chase". It's suspenseful and taut, yet to borrow the "American Bandstand" line, it has a good beat and you can dance to it. The mixture of Studio 54 disco and Middle Eastern textures guarantee a good beat. Moroder won an Oscar for the score (presented to him by Racquel Welch and Dean Martin), and well deserved. Sincerely, John Kilduff

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Guest Levin, Michael A.

Jerry Goldsmith and Elmer Bernstein. I admired Goldsmith for his eclecticsm but as time goes one his music has survived enough to be considered one of the greats. When I saw the 1966(?) rerelease of "The Ten Commandemnts" I was impressed (an understatement) by Elmer Bernstein's music and bought the double LP album. However, his greatest score is "Hawaii". Bernstein also has an easily identifiable style. However, he also was very versatile; he wrote the jazzy score for "Man With the Golden Arm" and the pop score for "The Silencers". I don't think it's a coincidence those two did most of their great work during the '50s and '60s. Their scores also are more sparing in that they provided music when they felt it was necessary, not the constant underlaying style that marked some of the scoring during the '30s and '40s.

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Guest son, jery

has anybuddy mentioned another great: Erich Wolfgang Korngold? When I first saw "King's Row" (1941) on TV years ago, it brought back a memory of having seen it in a real theater--all because of that fab music! His score for Bette Davis' "Deception" is another great one. Warner Brothers seems now to have had on its roster the world's greatest movie music composers. Steiner, Korngold, Franz Waxman.

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Guest finnie12, moira

Does anyone like Ennio Morricone? from the spare whistle of "A Fistful of Dollars" to the lush romanticism of "Cinema Paradiso" to the forgotten score for that Warren Beatty-Annette Benning turgid remake, "Love Affair"--his music has been pretty interesting over the years, don't y'all think?

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Guest Kilduff, John

He did the score for "The Untouchables", I think. I thought that was a fine score, especially the end credits theme (heard at the climax of the TCM short "100 Years At The Movies", over shots of 80s and 90s films). The way it sweeps and swoops is magnificent. Sincerely, John Kilduff

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Guest son, jery

Moira, didn't Morricone also do the fabulous score to THE THING? I'm always getting him and Pino Donnagio (who scored CARRIE)mixed up. To me, horror films have had some of the best scoring of any other type of film genre--except for the "women's" movies made during the late 30s and 40s with Bette Davis, Crawford, Colbert, etc. When you think of those Universal horror classics, I think of the music--especially the incredible score by Frank Skinner and Charles Previn for both SON OF FRANKENSTEIN and THE WOLFMAN. Those scores were reused in countless Universal shockers--and that's one reason I think they're now classics.

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Guest finnie12, moira

Go to the head of the class, jery! Morricone's score for the John Carpenter version is still available at Amazon if you're interested. I gotta confess though, I've never made it through the entire 1984 version due to the goriness...but I love the '50s original and always get a laugh and a thrill out of it, even after numerous viewings. Next time I curl up for a "Wolfman" viewing, I'll be sure to pay more attention to the music--which has probably made me like the movie despite my obliviousness to that element of the flick. Say, did you happen to notice the musical score for "The Spiral Staircase" when it was shown last week? For the first time, I noticed that nutty theremin underlying the more conventional music composed by Roy Webb. Though I'd seen the movie before, one of the many good things about classic movies is that I usually notice something new each time I watch them. Anyway, the movie was very entertaining and I loved Ethel Barrymore's cranky matriarch. Jeez, Kent Smith was quite a useless character, wasn't he?

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Guest son, jery

You said it, Moira! THE SPIRAL STAIRCASE is one of my all-time faves and that music really added to the atmosphere. Kent Smith was one of those bland, anonymous looking wall-paper guys who you can't remember anything about five seconds later. Kind of like a male Dolores Moran ("Old Acquaintance"). Best part of SPIRAL: scene of the deaf girl approaching the old mansion during the storm and that character suddenly jumps out from behind a tree! Gimme this kind of a flick any day over those talky, pretentious Val Lewton efforts. His work is SO over-rated--except for I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE. One of the best things about the DVD edition of THE WOLF MAN is the segment about the musical score. I was thrilled that at last, horror movie music was finally getting the attention it deseved.

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Guest finnie12, moira

Gee, Jery, sorry you don't like Val Lewton much...Maybe one of the problems with his movies is that they don't really fit in with the horror genre---too bad they're only shown around Halloween. They belong to their own category, not horror, but more like the moody, brooding genre, if there were one! There's little scary stuff in these movies, in any case, so horror fans would always be disappointed by the lack of real action. I've tried viewing just about all the Lewton stuff that's still shown on TCM and a few other outlets, like the Mystery Channel, and I do like "Cat People" (very much) and "The Seventh Victim" (sort of)... and from what I've read about him, he hated being a B movie producer, but where else in Hollywood of that time could he have slipped in so many references to the taboo subjects that intrigued him, (such as analysis, lesbianism, bestiality, suicide and more...)? I do like the the lighting, the excellent and selective use of sound, and some of the "stock" players he found a way of using again and again--Tom Conway, Kent Smith, (even though he was a stiff, I've always been a fool for that kind of square guy), and Elizabeth Russell, most memorably. Re: Theremin music...Have you seen the documentary, "Theremin: An Electronic Odyssey" (1993) about the inventor of this weird instrument? Leon Theremin managed to come to the U.S. to introduce his otherworldly contraption, but he was apparently kidnapped by the KGB while lingering in the US and spirited away into a gulag, only to emerge in Russia decades later, shortly before his death, with little explanation. If you haven't seen it, you might enjoy the documentary--it's on vhs & dvd. I saw it on IFC, which shows a lot of interesting, though squirrelly documentaries from time to time.

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When I noticed the favorite composers thread I checked it out and I recall posting plaudets to Max Steiner and my post wasn't listed. Lo-and-behold I discovered this thread lying dormant which has some very interesting tid-bits regarding the masters who made the music.

 

Mongo

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Honorable mention must go to composer Frank Skinner whose score for "Magnificent Obsession" with Jane Wyman was outstanding. Just a beautiful score. Mr. Skinner scored more than 200 films for Universal (many soaps/tear jerkers) and received 5 Oscar nominations.

 

Mongo

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