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Palmerin
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The music that John Williams wrote for JAWS and the STAR WARS series raised the status of movie composers from mere supporting players to major stars. Being a lifelong melomaniac, I would like to propose a discussion of the history of movie music and the work of such people as Steiner, Korngold, Waxman, and Rozsa. For example, the movie serials of the 1930s did not have original scores, but instead used prepackaged music such as Liszt's LES PRELUDES over and over again. When did it become the established practice for each specific movie to have its own specific music score, as was famously the case with the 1933 KING KONG and with GONE WITH THE WIND, both of which were scored by Steiner?

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Interesting question.

 

And notice that there were/are several well respected composers who became so primarily due to their MOVIE scoring.  Williams is a good example.  If not for his movie scores, we may have never heard of him.

 

On the other side of that coin, there WERE already established "legitimate" composers who"dabbled" in a few movie scores.  Leonard Bernstein and Aaron Copeland come to mind....Carmine Coppola, too.

 

The question of WHEN it was decided to use specially composed music for the scores of individual movies is one I have no answer for.  But, when you consider MANY of the scores created over the years for just such a purpose, I SALUTE whomever came up with the concept!

 

 

Sepiatone

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John Williams is a good example.  If not for his movie scores, we may have never heard of him.

 

 

 

Sepiatone

practically everyone knows that John Williams, then Johnny Williams, put himself on the map with his fantastic music to Lost in Space.

 

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Interesting question.

 

And notice that there were/are several well respected composers who became so primarily due to their MOVIE scoring.  Williams is a good example.  If not for his movie scores, we may have never heard of him.

 

On the other side of that coin, there WERE already established "legitimate" composers who"dabbled" in a few movie scores.  Leonard Bernstein and Aaron Copeland come to mind....Carmine Coppola, too.

 

The question of WHEN it was decided to use specially composed music for the scores of individual movies is one I have no answer for.  But, when you consider MANY of the scores created over the years for just such a purpose, I SALUTE whomever came up with the concept!

 

 

Sepiatone

Who ever would have heard of Henry Mancini were it not for films?

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I feel that music was way over-used in movies - especially in the studio era, but also in many movie of the 70's and 80's.

 

I feel that one director who uses music very, very well in his movies is Eastwood. The usage is subtle and always supportive; never overwhelming.

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I feel that music was way over-used in movies - especially in the studio era, but also in many movie of the 70's and 80's.

 

 

This has always been my one VERY minor complaint with my favorite movie of all time, "The Best Years of Our Lives", as I always thought Wyler went JUST a little overboard in what I feel is his attempts to "move our heartstrings" at key moments and with just a little too much use of Hugo Friedhofer's excellent but violin-centric musical score for that film.

 

Of course it doesn't come close at all to "ruining" the movie for me. I just think that it sometimes is JUST a little overused and calls attention just a little too much to itself.

 

(...could be wrong I suppose...maybe that IS why I like TBYOOL so much...maybe all those violins ARE the reason and Wyler knew what he was doin' was right after all, eh?!) ;)

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practically everyone knows that John Williams, then Johnny Williams, put himself on the map with his fantastic music to Lost in Space.

 

Yes, but does everyone know Johnny Williams is the son of John Williams, drummer for Raymond Scott Quintet?

 

I certainly hope our forum regular Ray Faiola pipes in, he's our resident movie music guy....hey-where's musicalnovelty?

 

And I'll put in a mention of Bernard Herrman, the guy who did such a brilliant job on Twilight Zone's TV music and most Alfred Hitchcock films, most notably PSYCHO.

 

Also I recently watched a few Universals starring Don Knotts and was impressed with the scores by Vic Mizzy. They were lively and just a bit silly and definitely moved the story along. I recalled many of the tunes from seeing the movies decades ago and marveled at the staying power of musical themes. Mizzy's music was catchy & kooky, perfect lighthearted fare for kids.

 

I am forever disgusted when "movie music" is reduced to a string of familiar pop songs. That's just a cheap route, a cheat. The only time it made sense was in AMERICAN GRAFFITI, when it was supposed to be Wolfman Jack on the radio, showing the importance of current radio songs to the teens experience.

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One of my favorite albums I produced that was outside our usual "golden age classics" realm was Mizzy's THE GHOST AND MR. CHICKEN.  I also did RELUCTANT ASTRONAUT, but MR. CHICKEN was a longheld childhood memory.

 

Vic sent me a letter after he heard the master.  He concluded by saying, referring to my editing prowess, "with your fingers you should have been a gynecologist" !!!  Only a guy who plays the fuzz guitar could get away with a crack like that!!

 

Here's some of MR. CHICKEN from our CD:

 

http://www.chelsearialtostudios.com/mr_chicken.mp3

 

ghostcover.jpg

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This has always been my one VERY minor complaint with my favorite movie of all time, "The Best Years of Our Lives", as I always thought Wyler went JUST a little overboard in what I feel is his attempts to "move our heartstrings" at key moments and with just a little too much use of Hugo Friedhofer's excellent but violin-centric musical score for that film.

 

Of course it doesn't come close at all to "ruining" the movie for me. I just think that it sometimes is JUST a little overused and calls attention just a little too much to itself.

 

(...could be wrong I suppose...maybe that IS why I like TBYOOL so much...maybe all those violins ARE the reason and Wyler knew what he was doin' was right after all, eh?!) ;)

Somehow, abbreviating it TBYOOL makes it lose it's impact. In fact. it could represent the celebration of Christmas by a certain omnipresent poster on these boards.

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One of my favorite albums I produced that was outside our usual "golden age classics" realm was Mizzy's THE GHOST AND MR. CHICKEN.  I also did RELUCTANT ASTRONAUT, but MR. CHICKEN was a longheld childhood memory.

 

Vic sent me a letter after he heard the master.  He concluded by saying, referring to my editing prowess, "with your fingers you should have been a gynecologist" !!!  Only a guy who plays the fuzz guitar could get away with a crack like that!!

 

Here's some of MR. CHICKEN from our CD:

 

http://www.chelsearialtostudios.com/mr_chicken.mp3

 

ghostcover.jpg

I have both scores on cd from percepto records...

 

of course it is now out of print. :)

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practically everyone knows that John Williams, then Johnny Williams, put himself on the map with his fantastic music to Lost in Space.

 

Yes, but does everyone know Johnny Williams is the son of John Williams, drummer for Raymond Scott Quintet?

 

I certainly hope our forum regular Ray Faiola pipes in, he's our resident movie music guy....hey-where's musicalnovelty?

 

And I'll put in a mention of Bernard Herrman, the guy who did such a brilliant job on Twilight Zone's TV music and most Alfred Hitchcock films, most notably PSYCHO.

 

Also I recently watched a few Universals starring Don Knotts and was impressed with the scores by Vic Mizzy. They were lively and just a bit silly and definitely moved the story along. I recalled many of the tunes from seeing the movies decades ago and marveled at the staying power of musical themes. Mizzy's music was catchy & kooky, perfect lighthearted fare for kids.

 

I am forever disgusted when "movie music" is reduced to a string of familiar pop songs. That's just a cheap route, a cheat. The only time it made sense was in AMERICAN GRAFFITI, when it was supposed to be Wolfman Jack on the radio, showing the importance of current radio songs to the teens experience.

mizzy also scored Don Knott's last solo starring comedy effort How to Frame a F ig g

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Somehow, abbreviating it TBYOOL makes it lose it's impact. In fact. it could represent the celebration of Christmas by a certain omnipresent poster on these boards.

 

So, are you suggesting that my use of an acronym there would be considered an anachronistic practice, ol' buddy?

 

;)

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I'm patiently waiting for someone to mwention the couple of dozen or so movie musicals that HARRY WARREN wrote all that music for!

 

The fact that more modern( sort of) versions of a couple or so of the songs, like "AT LAST",  or "I ONLY HAVE EYES FOR YOU" and even the "Big Band" standard "CHATANOOGA CHOO- CHOO", were also penned by Warren.

 

The man was a MUSIC MACHINE throughout the '30's and '40's.

 

 

Sepiatone

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I feel that music was way over-used in movies - especially in the studio era, but also in many movie of the 70's and 80's.

 

I feel that one director who uses music very, very well in his movies is Eastwood. The usage is subtle and always supportive; never overwhelming.

 

Yeah, but how would you feel if Spielberg wrote and performed all of the music in his films?

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Vic sent me a letter after he heard the master.

 

That's great Faiola! He certainly was one of a kind.

 

As a novelty percussionist, I appreciate Mizzy's creative use of oddball instruments. He peppered his screen music with things like a super big bass harmonica a la Three Suns.

(I play uke, theremin, vibraslap, fish, egg, etc jack-of-all-master-if-none type deal)

 

I really enjoy Mizzy's music in those Universal Knotts movies....what a great introduction for kids to great movie music. Like I stated before...that music stuck in my head through 30 years-AMAZING!

 

I don't care much for John Williams' work, it's rather bland and lackluster to me. And I truly loathe Danny Elfman's movie music. I thought he did ok with the PeeWee Herman movies, but all subsequent work just seemed to stretch his creativity out too thinly. He belongs right up there with Andrew Lloyd Webber for one trick ponies. 

smiley-scared003.gif

 

I just saw your name in the credits of the Errol Flynn documentary too. You're everywhere!

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I am forever disgusted when "movie music" is reduced to a string of familiar pop songs. That's just a cheap route, a cheat. The only time it made sense was in AMERICAN GRAFFITI, when it was supposed to be Wolfman Jack on the radio, showing the importance of current radio songs to the teens experience.

 

The box office success of "The Big Chill" might have also "helped" propel this practice into wider use, wouldn't you say Tiki? Though, one could rightly argue the point that in THIS case at least and despite how one feels about the movie overall, because the film is about a group of people coming together to reconnect and recollect about their college years and utilizes the popular music from that era to press the point, that this had been a proper use of such. 

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The box office success of "The Big Chill" might have also "helped" propel this practice into wider use, wouldn't you say Tiki? Though, one could rightly argue the point that in THIS case at least and despite how one feels about the movie overall, because the film is about a group of people coming together to reconnect and recollect about their college years and utilizes the popular music from that era to press the point, that this had been a proper use of such. 

 

I would have to seek out some very detailed research but I assume MOST studio-era movies use pop music of the time (or say the last 10 or so years) instead of original music.     Often one song,  that is featured and sung by someone in the movie, is played over and over and over (but with slight variations), as the background music.    To me this is about as 'cheap' as playing actual released versions for the song as done by some singer or band.     Once Warner Bros got the rights to a song for an "A" production they would use the same song as backgound music in future "B" movies to death.

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...Third try for this.  For some reason, the first two tries didn't "take"  So, this won't be a verbatim repeat, since I can't recall all of the stuff from the first two tries....

 

Probably since the days of silent film presentation, film makers realized how music can be used in movies( since the advent of SOUND movies, and a film soundtrack .) to both set the audience mood, and tell them how or what they should FEEL at certain times.  When to feel SAD, or feel HAPPY, or let them know what kind of person a newly introduced character is.

 

One example of mood or such is found in "Boy's Town".  Just listen to the music being played as Father Flanagan and the boys march to the tavern where Whitey and his older brother are hiding out.

 

 

But the practice of using already prerecoded music in period pieces, like the ones about the 1950's, or the late '60's seem like they were dictated by....either the likes or dislikes of the directors and/or producers, or else they had no clue as to which songs or music would be fitting and/or appropriate.

 

Then there's the problem that some movies may forward a stereotype.

 

For example, my brother was  for many years, a truck driver.  When over at somebody's house with a friend of his, this somebody being somebody his friend knew....and upon hearing that my brother was a truck driver, he quickly got up and said, "I'll find something you'll probably like better..."  went over to the radio and changed it to the country music station!

 

But, my brother COULDN'T STAND country music!  When he told me this story, he finished up with, "I'd like to SHOOT that FU**ING Burt Reynolds!"  You see, he blamed Reynolds for perpetuating the belief that ALL truck drivers just LOVED country music.

 

And I agree that there ARE times that they overdo the background music.  There was a practice in the later '80's that had many movies nearly drown out the last 15 minutes or so of a movie with some sappy tune, like, I think, "That's What Friends Are For"  during the last 10 minutes of MOSCOW ON THE HUDSON  I think it was....

 

 

Sepiatone

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practically everyone knows that John Williams, then Johnny Williams, put himself on the map with his fantastic music to Lost in Space.

 

Yes, but does everyone know Johnny Williams is the son of John Williams, drummer for Raymond Scott Quintet?

 

I certainly hope our forum regular Ray Faiola pipes in, he's our resident movie music guy....hey-where's musicalnovelty?

 

And I'll put in a mention of Bernard Herrman, the guy who did such a brilliant job on Twilight Zone's TV music and most Alfred Hitchcock films, most notably PSYCHO.

 

Also I recently watched a few Universals starring Don Knotts and was impressed with the scores by Vic Mizzy. They were lively and just a bit silly and definitely moved the story along. I recalled many of the tunes from seeing the movies decades ago and marveled at the staying power of musical themes. Mizzy's music was catchy & kooky, perfect lighthearted fare for kids.

 

I am forever disgusted when "movie music" is reduced to a string of familiar pop songs. That's just a cheap route, a cheat. The only time it made sense was in AMERICAN GRAFFITI, when it was supposed to be Wolfman Jack on the radio, showing the importance of current radio songs to the teens experience.

..and AMERICAN GRAFFITI did in fact spark an oldies renaissance. But wasn't it the prior GREASE that really started this retro trend, the difference being that GREASE had original songs?

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My top 6 rock, soul, or disco songs from movie scores:

 

Across 110th Street---Bobby Womack

Freddie's Dead-----Curtis Mayfield (from SUPERFLY)

Thank God It's Friday----Donna Summer

Pretty in Pink-----Psychedelic Furs

Theme from SHAFT----Isaac Hayes

Dead Man's Party---Oingo Boingo (from BACK TO SCHOOL)

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My top 6 rock, soul, or disco songs from movie scores:

 

Across 110th Street---Bobby Womack

Freddie's Dead-----Curtis Mayfield (from SUPERFLY)

Thank God It's Friday----Donna Summer

Pretty in Pink-----Psychedelic Furs

Theme from SHAFT----Isaac Hayes

Dead Man's Party---Oingo Boingo (from BACK TO SCHOOL)

 

Paxton Quigley's Had the Course - Chad & Jeremy (from 3 in the Attic)

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