Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Movie Music Meme, Take 2

Okay, nobody wants to go through a list of 200+ movies, especially in such an unorganized way. So I only have the heavily emphasized movies in this list, in alphabetical order. Let me reiterate, this list is supposed to be representative of the major developments in film scoring. Copy the list and bold those movies you have seen, and snark about those movies that are missing.

The Adventures of Robin Hood
Ben Hur (1959)
The Best Years of Our Lives
The Birth of a Nation [I haven't seen all of this yet]
The Bride of Frankenstein
Citizen Kane
Don Juan (1926)
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
The Empire Strikes Back
The Godfather
Gone With the Wind
High Noon
The Jazz Singer (1927) [I've seen scenes]
King Kong (1933)
The Last of the Mohicans
Lawrence of Arabia
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
The Mission
On the Waterfront
Rain Man
Rebel Without a Cause
The Red Violin
Run Lola Run (Lola Rennt)
To Kill a Mockingbird
Touch of Evil
The Wizard of Oz
Wuthering Heights

I've seen 71% of the movies thus far, and plan to see all except Don Juan before the end of the semester. If I can find a copy of Don Juan, I'll watch that too. Now, I expect Jaquandar and Peter (the other) to carry on this meme, even if it dies there.


Peter (the other) said...

This is such a HUGE subject. A lifetime. Maybe it should have its own blog? People will argue on forever. I have been trying to obtain all of the 250 films in the AFI list.

By the way, I found very inexpensive DVDs of important film/scores on Amazon France that are not available in the USA. Things such as The Informer (Steiner) and The Magnificent Ambersons (Herrmann).

I find I have a very different idea of what is good/important in film music then many others. I am with Claudia Gorbman (1987) when she writes:

"To judge film music as one judges “pure” music is to ignore its status as a part of the collaboration that is the film. Ultimately it is the narrative context, the interrelations between music and the rest of the film’s system, that determines the effectiveness of film music." (page 12) (comments won't allow blockquote).

Others have very different values. I think we would have to agree on the variety of analytical values we would use.

Perhaps I should mention the demise of Film Score Monthly, that will no longer be published in hard copy. Although I find their amateur, "trainspotting" focus mostly irrelevant, I will miss the gossip (will have to keep a closer watch to their web site).

I will start pondering my first arguments (like I didn't have enough to do :-) ).

Scott Spiegelberg said...

I saw the Film Score Monthly news at Jaquandar's blog. I have never read it, so I can't miss it much.

Peter (the other) said...

Hokay, Hickman is in the house, and hopefully I shall get a few minutes read this week-end to get some of his arguments as to "importance".

Why this shorter list, or is this your list of most "important" fims?

It is funny, I was pondering Rain Man in a used DVD shop this week. Although I consider (like him or not) Zimmer a very important composer, I hadn't remembered the score of Rain Man being particularly important. I'll have to rush back and see if it is still there. I re-watched Driving Miss Daisy a few months ago, and enjoyed his work (in a different genre then I do consider him important in). I remember liking the score to Green Card back when it first came out, but I havn't refreshed that since then.

I have always felt that all admiration for Corigliano's The Red Violin, was more a misplaced admiration for the spectacular job of synchronizing the music and images (the playing of the violin) then for the actual strength of the dramatic underscore. I seem to remember that Annabel Cohen writes about it in an article, perhaps I should re-consider.

Last night, refreshed Dimitri Tiomkin's Town Without Pity and Lalo Schifrin's Prime Cut, which has some nice examples of Schifrin's high tension music (the chase in the fields) but also some good examples of why one should not compose for an ethnic type of instrument (banjo), without a strong knowledge of it or input from the player. Tiomkin's score is a mix of wonderful (like the famous theme song) and occasionally strange moments where one might ponder if the film was recut after scoring. I am beginning to get a Tiompkin bee in my bonnet, he really needs a deeper looking into then I have afforded him before (other then just often enjoying his scores). When I watched Rio Bravo, it struck me how much of Morricone's westerns came from Tiomkin.