Archive for category: Film music

Carl Davis on Scoring Abel Gance’s ‘Napoleon’

19 March, 2012 (07:03) | by Sean Axmaker, Film music | By: Sean Axmaker

If all you know of Abel Gance’s 1927 masterpiece Napoleon is the version presented by Francis Ford Coppola in the U.S. in 1983 (and subsequently released on VHS tape and laserdisc), you ain’t heard nothin’ yet. Coppola invited his father, Carmine Coppola, to compose an original score for the American release, which was cut down […]

Basil Dearden’s London Underground

3 February, 2011 (09:36) | by Sean Axmaker, DVD, Film music, Film Reviews | By: Sean Axmaker

“Basil Dearden’s London Underground” (Criterion/Eclipse) British workhorse director Basil Dearden never established a strong cinematic personality like Michael Powell or the storytelling muscle (and powerful canvases to match) of David Lean, his two most distinctive contemporaries in the British film industry. But in a career of nearly 40 feature films (plus TV and contributions to […]

“Somebody’s Fiddle”: Traditional Music in “The Searchers”

13 December, 2009 (19:43) | by Robert C. Cumbow, Film music, John Ford, Westerns | By: Robert C. Cumbow

Martin Pawley has barged into Charlie McCorry’s wedding to Martin’s childhood sweetheart Laurie Jorgenson, and the two have waded into a typically Fordian brawl—momentary comic relief from the darker concerns of most of The Searchers. Suddenly, Charlie interrupts the fistfight: “Somebody’s fiddle!” he cautions, picking up an overlooked musical instrument and handing it hastily out […]

Keeping Score – Musique Noir: Investigating the Sound of Film Noir

2 April, 2009 (19:48) | by Robert C. Cumbow, Film music, Film Noir | By: Robert C. Cumbow

The sound of noir—plaintive sax solos, blue cocktail piano, the wail of a distant trumpet through dark, wet alleyways, hot Latin beats oozing like a neon glow from the half-shuttered windows of forbidden nightspots. You walk the sidewalks of big, lonely towns, with no destination in mind, following only the sounds, guided by them, wondering […]

Keeping Score – Scary Music: the Sequel

13 February, 2009 (00:04) | by Robert C. Cumbow, Film music, Horror | By: Robert C. Cumbow

For last Halloween, I offered a list of 13 movie scores that I believe stand out as landmarks in the in the history of scary movie music. I got some comments from a few readers who were disappointed that some of their own favorite fright film scores and composers weren’t represented. Well, there’s a lot […]

Keeping Score – “Ennio Morricone: The Complete Edition”

21 January, 2009 (19:20) | by Robert C. Cumbow, Film music | By: Robert C. Cumbow

Fifteen CDs is a big set—and a bargain for $99.95. But in what sense is GDM’s big holiday release a “Complete Edition”? Obviously it’s not everything the Maestro has written; that couldn’t be done in ten times as many discs. The avowed effort here is, for the first time in a single collection, to offer […]

Keeping Score – Scary Music for Scary Movies

22 October, 2008 (00:43) | by Robert C. Cumbow, Film music, Horror | By: Robert C. Cumbow

In the spirit of the Halloween season, here’s a list of 13 movie scores that stand out as landmarks in the honorable tradition of writing music designed to scare the pants off the movie viewer. 13. Jaws, John Williams, 1975. Any responsible list of scary movie music has to acknowledge the achievement of John Williams […]