Music renders a good film into a great one?

Discussion in 'The Moving Picture' started by Naphtali, Dec 21, 2008.

  1. Naphtali

    Naphtali Practically Family

    Messages:
    751
    Location:
    Seeley Lake, Montana
    Excluding musicals, can music be so intertwined with screenplay that without its music, a great motion picture becomes mediocre? Or a mediocre-to-good motion picture becomes a great one because of its music?

    Among motion pictures of this type, the three that come to my mind are:

    1. Casablanca (1942) Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman.

    2. The Third Man (1949) Joseph Cotten, Alida Valli, Orson Welles.

    3. Tom Jones (1963) Albert Finney, Susannah York, Hugh Griffith.

    I'm confident there are others.
     
  2. byronic

    byronic One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    186
    Location:
    U.K. (for the moment)
    I think John Barry has turned many an average flick into a better than average one. It was he who was called in at the eleventh hour to rearrange Monty Normans score for the first Bond movie 'Dr No'. The story goes that the director, Terence Young heard Normans original score and said 'Oh lord, it's mining disaster music.' Barry rearranged, amongst other things, the main James Bond theme using elements of an earlier jazz tune of his called 'Bea's Knees', both the film and the theme went on to become smash hits, and the rest, as they say, is history.
     
  3. The Captain

    The Captain One of the Regulars

    MAX STEINER

    Max Steiner's scores for Casablanca, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, etc., are - to me - a perfect example of "Good to Great". Check out his bio; it's amazing!
     
  4. WH1

    WH1 Practically Family

    Messages:
    963
    Location:
    Over hills and far away
    Jaws is a classic example of music making the movie. It would have been a run of the mill shock movie without the music.
     
  5. Naphtali

    Naphtali Practically Family

    Messages:
    751
    Location:
    Seeley Lake, Montana
    Absolutely accurate. I have read the novel -- dull.
     
  6. 2001

    Say no more
     
  7. p51

    p51 One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,070
    Location:
    Well behind the front lines!
    Dances with Wolves. A pretty good film made into an experience with the incredible music...
     
  8. Mike in Seattle

    Mike in Seattle My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Messages:
    3,027
    Location:
    Renton (Seattle), WA
    And on the other side of the coin, there are movies that are completely ruined by an inappropriate soundtrack, or by the songs used. It can be the wrong songs, or it can be it's too loud and intrusive. It should highlight but not overshadow.

    So few films these days are really scored - they just grab whatever song / singer is considered hot at the time and cram their latest song in, whether or not they fit the story or mood of the film.
     
  9. Sefton

    Sefton Call Me a Cab

    I don't think that a truely mediocre film can be saved by decent music. Many times I will only really remember the music and completely forget the images (or try to!) On the other hand a great film should be able to stand on its own without excessive or heavy-handed scoring (John Williams comes to mind).

    A couple of films that come to mind for minimal use of music:

    The WWII prison escape film by Robert Bresson titled "A Man Escaped". I believe that the only music is Mozart which is heard during the begining titles and then again over the final shot of the film. The ending of the film maintains a terrific tension without relying on any of the usual musical themes that we hear in typical prison escape films. Another wonderful film with minimal music is Andrei Tarkovsky's "Nostalgia". The music is small sections of Bach and I believe, female bulgarian sheperdess songs. Also there is the sounds of nature and lastly a bit of Beethoven's 9th (The Ode to Joy) thrown into the mix.

    As for films where the music is an almost equal partner with the images I'd say any of the Fellini films scored by the great Nino Rota. I can't imagine a "La Dolce Vita" or "8 1/2" without the Rota music.

    Still, I do enjoy a lot of old Hollywood films, even when the soundtrack insists on relentlessly reminding me how I'm to react to the images (John Ford westerns, Hitchcock thrillers, and of course the Universal horrors of the 1940s)
     
  10. byronic

    byronic One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    186
    Location:
    U.K. (for the moment)
    Good point- 'One of our aircraft is missing' has NO music soundtrack, yet it's still a rattling good movie.
     
  11. Naphtali

    Naphtali Practically Family

    Messages:
    751
    Location:
    Seeley Lake, Montana
    Here are head scratchers. The 1950 Academy Awards for best musical scoring in non-musical went to "Sunset Boulevard." The award for best song went to "Mona Lisa" from "Captain Carey, U.S.A."

    What wasn't nominated for awards in either category was Anton Karas' work in "The Third Man." Can anyone remember any music from "Sunset Boulevard?" While I enjoy Nat Cole's rendition of "Mona Lisa," Karas' "Harry Lime" theme sold 40 million copies to metamorphose a Viennese Rathskeller musician into a millionaire.
     
  12. Starius

    Starius Practically Family

    Messages:
    698
    Location:
    Neverwhere, Iowa
    While not a vintage example by any means, I have always felt that the musical score by Basil Pouldouris for the Conan movies made those films far more watchable than they would have been without his score. I wrote many a paper in college while listening to those soundtracks in particular, as if the hand of Crom himself was helping me write about Buddhist Sherpas in Nepal for my cultural anthropology class.

    On a more retro note, I think the musical score for the 1956 film The Forbidden Planet was a very unique soundtrack and surely the film wouldn't have nearly had such a mysterious otherworldly quality if they had gone with more traditional adventure-esque music.
     
  13. Sefton

    Sefton Call Me a Cab

    Basil Pouldouris music for the film Conan is wonderful. I love the spoken word intro on the album. That is definitely one film that benefited from the music.
     
  14. nola89

    nola89 Familiar Face

    Messages:
    63
    Location:
    New Orleans, LA
    I am obsessed with the timbres used to push the storyline of The Shining. The use of Béla Bartók's Music For Strings, Percussion and Celesta is perfect.

    The thing that is most unique is that certain sounds created during scenes mimic that of the score, such as the rolling of Danny's tricycle on the wood floor and then rolling on the carpet. The contrast in sound between the wood and the carpet in such intervals evokes the sounds of the swelling contrabass in Bartók's composition.

    Brilliant.

    The Dark Knight also is a good example. The main theme is one melodic minor 3rd. Sometimes simplicity is everything.
     
  15. lenj

    lenj New in Town

    Messages:
    30
    Location:
    northern California
    Movie Music

    For me Nino Rota - did the music for all those Fellini films and of course the Godfather.

    lenj
     
  16. Doh!

    Doh! One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,079
    Location:
    Tinsel Town
    Psycho and Sweet Smell of Success would probably still be very good movies, but their scores push them over the top into classics.
     
  17. Laura Chase

    Laura Chase One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,354
    Location:
    Copenhagen, Denmark
  18. Naphtali

    Naphtali Practically Family

    Messages:
    751
    Location:
    Seeley Lake, Montana
    Shouldn't omit Korngold's score for "The Adventures of Robin Hood" (1938, Errol Flynn, Olivia DeHaviland).
     
  19. Nighthawk

    Nighthawk One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    257
    Location:
    USA
    To name a few:

    The Great Escape (1963). Music by Elmer Bernstein.

    The Graduate (1967). Music by Simon and Garfunkel.

    Planet of the Apes (1968). Music by Jerry Goldsmith.
     
  20. Hondo

    Hondo One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,655
    Location:
    Northern California
    Director David Lean's Lawrence of Arabia and The Bridge on the River Kwai, good if not great sound track.
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.