[This is so weird- DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER is a jokey, goofy movie, but the score was fantastic!]
Pertinent point, Patch, and there’s an equally perceptive reason for it, also. During a remarkably far-ranging chat encompassing an incredible array of subjects – some of which were wholly unrelated to composing, such as Kierkegaard being among his favorite authors – we mentioned to John one of his most moving sequences was Tilly’s demise.
What always made it stand-out for us was the underlying sorrow running beneath the scene, that another (almost) innocent had paid the ultimate price for being involved in a ruthless game far beyond their capabilities to deal with – and so they had to be permanently dealt with.
Aside from a Mona-Lisa smile (subtext: “Ah, you noticed, didja?” ) his response (and remember, this was fairly early on in his BarryBonding – only his second full-scale score on the series) was he always wanted to accentuate the EMOTIONAL essence beneath what was overtly being seen on screen.
And he attempted to do so without unnecessarily drawing the audience’s attention too blatantly to that fact, but also not ignoring or negating what the character (in this case, 007) was feeling.
Taking this musical motivation forward, it’s evidence in its applied excellence this was a key element he carried on throughout not only the series but as a seminal statement for his career as a whole (as to that, it’s an approach that rarely misfired – obvious hideous aberrations ala the estupido Beach Boys’ bit during “View to a Kill”'s opening ski sequence thankfully aside).
It’s not often artists articulately discuss how Talent matched with Technique and the corresponding expansion of experience can inform plus influence their own foundational growth,
so it was truly a treat to hear the genesis of what was later to become such a pronounced pattern in his (and others’) professionally-creative approach.
This is so weird- DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER is a jokey, goofy movie, but the score was fantastic!
Exactly. Worst (official) Connery Bond film, and in a special way - the best Connery Bond score. I actually think that YOLT and OHMSS are the better, more serious scores.
But DIAMONDS in its incredible variety and its moody soundscapes which already foreshadows the epic style of MOONRAKER... after its expansion on CD is definitely the one I listen to most of all the Bonds.
By now it's probably also THE film score I have listened to the most of all.
And it never, never, never gets boring, I must add.
Well said Tall Guy but i am not sure "The Godfather" is anyway near HMSS in my view, can't think of a single track that could compete with Gumbold's Safe or Journey to Blofeld's Hideaway as a piece of composition.
I was really talking about the overall quality of the films rather than just the music. The Godfather's music is a couple of divisions below OHMSS if you just take that single aspect.
And the architypal Bond music moment: when the sorrow of the final scene, played against a heart-breaking version of WHATTITW, is replaced by the James Bond Theme, signifying that he'll return, harder and more embittered, but more than ever determined to fight for Queen and country.
Whatever pathos-filled moment that may have existed in the final scene is ruined by the blaring inclusion of the Bond theme--who wrote that, anyway? It was IMO highly innapropriate and shatters what could've been an effective downbeat ending.
Oh Jim. Jimjimjimjimjim.
If there's ANY criticism that I could make of that end scene, it's that the James Bond Theme perhaps isn't hard-edged enough. It loses an ounce of impact when the rather reedy synth starts up half way through. The juxtaposition of the beautiful and the brutal is perfect, both in musical terms and in the context of the film. Bond's lost the love of his life - now it's back to the gritty side of the business - and thank the lord for that: you don't want a moping Bond. Case in point - Casino Royale - "The bitch is dead".
Y’know, the HIGHEST compliment we’re capable of is “Boyoboy, we wished we’d written that!”. As an excellent case for current extortion, we submit the following:
[Today I thought about how to characterize the difference between the YOLT and OHMSS scores, and the comparison that I ended up at was this:
YOLT is more like a grand Hieronymus Bosch painting with all its hundreds of amazing details, and incredibly bandwidth of colour tones and full of big drama, sometimes bordering the surreal world, while
OHMSS is more like an expressionist Van Gogh painting, dealing with down to earth sceneries, usually simplified, but yet incredibly rich, bold and powerful in its moods and unsurpassable in intensity.” ]
“Good Gawd, Franklin – how we wished we’d written that!!!”
It is very interesting reading these posts and everyone's thoughts. I think most of us would agree Barry has written some of the most enduring film music of all time for the Bond series. I would have to say that Goldfinger is the most influential (not the best) and should have won an oscar. OHMSS could have easily been a winner too. There are many Barry Bond scores that should have at the minimum gotten a nomination.
Goldfinger isn't the best, most sophisticated, most refined. But it is the most iconic in that it's the one that hit our cinema screens with such freshness, catching people's ear and having them say, "There's something different happening here and it's exciting".
Given the expressive eloquence with which Hands and Stephen have articulated their abbreviated impressions of
we feel this is a terrific opportunity for the previously-mentioned esteemed gents to elaborate on which qualities imbue the scores with their special significance - tho Senor Accidentally Air-Brushed Out is an old authoritative hand with his past Barry perceptions going yeeeeeers back, Hands is relatively new but no less insightful.
So much so one (okay, two - no, make three) wants to say "More. Go further - did deeper!"
Mind you, these don't necessarily haveta be in chronological order, but please give it some serious consideration. You guys are far more eloquent than you realize!
I am not sure if I am the best judge for the FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE score, given I have always ranked it in my personal third tier of Barry's Bond scores. Out of shere coincidence, I only watched the movie less than a week ago, and after neotrinity's encouragement, I gave the CD a fresh spin last night and took some notes. Be prepared that my interpretation is quite a grim one.
FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE 1963 Score composed and conducted by John Barry Song composed by Lionel Bart
If I characterized the score in a few adjectives and associations, they would be: cold, hard, merciless, no nonsense, no way out
To me, the thrust of Barry's FRWL were never the folksy pieces or Monro's nostalgic ballad, but the bare bones action and underscore tracks. Among my 2-3 most memorable tracks, Meeting in St. Sophia (as does Spectre Island) sets a first mark with just a few unforgiving, cold and grey church bell* bars that evoke a feeling of loneliness and an air of grim inevitability, almost like an irrevokable verdict being spoken. Barry's "own" 007 adds a "precise clockwork" dimension to its interpretation of the Bond character. Death of Grant culminates in musical "punches" which almost seem to mickey-mouse the on-screen action - remotely reminiscent of the orchestra "stings" that accompany Bond killing the tarantula in DR. NO. Stalking features similar brutal stings. Eventually, 007 Takes the Lektor drives the action with an air of inevitability again.
Consistent with the original score, Barry's take on The James Bond Theme in FRWL (James Bond with Bongos) is what I regard as the most twangy and most pure rendition of the theme ever. The few bars featuring the bongos playing a mere skeleton of the theme represent the leanest and meanest take on it ever.
The gipsy music and even the "romantic" From Russia with Love melody display a comparative distance to the inevitable folksy sounds usually connected with such a setting. Girl Trouble features hard brass punches very much aligned with the action tracks characterized before. Even the "Guitar Lament" conveys an air of inevitability and finality rather than solace.
Against this background – or my subjective take on it –, From Russia with Love superficially appears as a kind of humane and comforting island in this remarkably grey and cold portrayal of Istanbul (Side note: As a youngster, I believed for years that the action was set in Moscow, not Istanbul. Just compare the cold Istanbul picture the movie presents with the steamy sceneries of DR. NO and you might understand what contributed to that impression). However, I have always perceived the song as nostalgic rather than comforting – it evokes memories of a beautiful and nice past with no chance of a revival in the present, an impression further underlined by the thousands of miles between Moscow and Istanbul: Sweetness is gone and far away. Unlike the calypso sounds of DR. NO, the FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE score has no lightness nor beauty "in the moment".
To me, Barry's score for FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE shows Bond very much alone in the world – at times the movie does that, too: Bond seems almost shy and insecure being the sole stranger in the gypsy camp.
_____________________________________________________________________ * It's probably a different instrument, but I guess it's clear which sounds I mean.
To me, the thrust of Barry's FRWL were never the folksy pieces or Monro's nostalgic ballad, but the bare bones action and underscore tracks.
That's exactly my take on it, too. Although you don't go into much detail about my favourite track from this score, "Stalking" never fails to get my undivided attention. Looking at my iTunes playlist, I've played that track twice more than any other single track from the disc, and four times more than the average!
It demonstrates perfectly Barry's ability to entertain through "Mickey Mousing" - it hits all the spots in the film sequence yet makes great isolated listening.