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Silent movie music tracks: authentic vs. modern


ssnfan
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I absolutely hated the modern jazz soundtrack to "Pickadilly". It did nothing to convey the time, place, mood, feel, or era of this picture. For me, it distracted rather than enhanced. Would anyone enjoy watching a 1940's Big Band musical with Rap or HipHop numbers replacing Glenn Miller & the Andrews Sisters? So why do the same thing with a classic 1920's film? What do you think - does anyone agree, or am I the lone dissenter?

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For what ever reason, TCM runs PICCADILLY rather frequently. This is at least the 5th or 6th time i have seen it on the schedule in just the past few years.

 

No you are definitely not in the minority. Most people seem to loath Neil Brand's musical score. While it has it's moments, the majority of it is just not right for the film. I have personally dubbed scores to so many Silents, that I am quite sure I can put together a much better and far more effective score for this movie in just a few hours time.

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I've tried to watch some of TCM's silent movies several times, but had to quit because of the scores.

 

I think I read or heard somewhere that there were contests in which music students could submit scores to be dubbed into a movie. I guess it didn't really matter which movie because some scores bore no relationship to the movie.

 

One movie I tried to watch some months ago had a score consisting of only drums. Whether there were other percussion instruments, I don't know because I couldn't stand more than a minute of it.

 

Would be nice if TCM included something like "Original Score" in a movie's description. I'd rather listen to an old, scratchy, distorted sound track that was actually written for the movie than say, a modern jazz score for a 1929 movie.

 

Before I wrote this post, I searched the forum and was very surprised to find only one thread on this topic - this one.

 

EdP (new to the forum)

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Hey ssnfan and EdPell , welcome! Like Dracula, this forum always needs new blood! ;)

Yes, that new score just doesn't fit, does it??? On the one hand, composers should have a someone free reign to create the score, but it just seemed like it should have been for a 50's or 60's movie.

If they couldn't get the original one, for whatever reason, it would make more sense to put some hot pop and jazz sides from the 20's with the film...

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There are actually many threads pertaining to disappointing scores going back several years. That being said, TCM had nothing whatsoever to do with the score to *PICCADILLY,* It was commissioned by Milestone some years ago.

 

In addition, The Young Composers Competition has been on hold now for the past couple years. Please don't judge all of the scores based on one or two that you did not like. And many Silents on TCM have very good scores by Vintage flavor composers, or original tracks.

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You're right - most of the TCM silents have very good sound tracks.........but the occasional clunkers like this one sure do detract from the enjoyment of an otherwise great movie. If the TCM folks are listening, I wish they would take you up on your offer to make a better track for Pickadilly. I'd love to hear it!

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> {quote:title=gagman66 wrote:}{quote}

.

>

> No you are definitely not in the minority. Most people seem to loath Neil Brand's musical score. While it has it's moments, the majority of it is just not right for the film.

When PICCADILLY was released in the USA in 1929 by Sono Art-World Wide it was given a Vitaphone disc score which reportedly does still exist. I encouraged its use on the restored version of the film, but as we know, unfortunately it was not used. Apparently the main reason was because the American version of the film was edited differently, and so the music score would not have matched the British version that was being restored. So that new score by Neil Brand was used. As you noted, many people did no care for that score. In fact, when it premiered locally three different reviews in newspapers criticized the score.

 

I'd sure like to hear the original Sono Art-World Wide score. I have the music cue sheet (dated April 10, 1929) that lists all 93 cues, and it looks like a very interesting selection of stock recordings and new selections written for the film by the team of Berge and Conte. Anna May Wong gets her own theme, entitled "Shosho" (heard ten different times throughout the score). Another recurring theme is something called "Crafty ****".

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