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 Posted:   Jan 19, 2008 - 12:15 AM   
 By:   JSWalsh   (Member)

Good post. I'd forgotten his recommendation got me to buy RETURN TO OZ, too.

He was right about DePalma.

I miss him, too.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 19, 2008 - 12:40 AM   
 By:   quiller007   (Member)

"irrelevant, obtrusive and stupid" "inadequate noise" "dishes out any and every irrelevance"

Exactly what I always thought of Cook
and his reviews.

Den

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 19, 2008 - 12:51 AM   
 By:   JSWalsh   (Member)

Wow, a lot of venom for a guy who wrote music reviews!

Who else should get my venom?


It's just kinda weird to read such anger towards a guy who just gave opinions about music.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 19, 2008 - 1:12 AM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

Page Cook was a polemicist, not a scholar, and there's an important difference between his strident opinions and those so often seen on this board: Cook's were always entertaining:

Bernard Herrmann - The Concert Suites (Masters/Varese CD Club):
1990 has commenced with a knock down Fourth of July showering of beneficence with the release of not only quite probably, and plausibly, the single most important set of filmusic [sic] recordings ever prepared -- Bernard Herrmann - The Concert Suites -- but with other screen music milestones whose magic has never been more exquisitely, or more powerfully, realized in the flawless technology of the compact disc illusion of live resonance, i.e., a veritable wealth of the magnificence in the pure manner of sound the CD revolution now provides for home delectation.

Return To Oz (Bay Cities):
Perhaps the most memorable filmusic [sic] of the '80s finally, thankfully, available on CD. This is a consistently inspired score, humanly beneficent, delivering a cornucopia of riches. . .Cultivated purveyors of '90s sensibilities rally in agreement that in whatever media David Shire chooses to grace with his artistry, he remains one of our best, most intelligent and compassionate composers.

The Magnificent Ambersons (Bremner conducts):
A thoroughly refulgent new recording, at long last (only 48 years late), of one of Herrmann's earliest, most elegant scores. The chamber-like quality of the scoring finds lambent repose in Tony Bremner's sympathetic conducting and the diaphonous digital bloom of Robin Gray and Allan Eaton Studios of Melbourne.

The Fury (1st Varese cd release):
A splendid CD transfer of one of Williams' more imaginative efforts, including the original version of "Death On The Carousel." A valiant attempt by Williams to save a certifiable dog, the CD of The Fury almost convinces you that Brian De Palma is not one of our day's nastier schlockmeister pests.

I miss Page Cook.


I miss him too. Despite his blasts at scores that I liked, he rarely let me down regarding scores that HE liked. When I bought his recommended soundtracks on spec, I was rarely disappointed. But let's enjoy some more of his blasts, shall we:

On Scores from 1970-1971:
Ryan's Daughter (Maurice Jarre) - "[David] Lean's repeated utilization of Jarre makes one suspect Lean may be musically deaf. Jarre's musical flotsam for Ryan's Daughter abets such a suspicion."
Julius Caesar (Michael J. Lewis) - "musical filler of the sawdustiest kind ... modern and jarring percussions ... trite brass cacophonies"
The Andromeda Strain (Gil Melle) - "diatonic and monotonic ... reverberant bursts of sound doodling."
THX 1138 (Lalo Schifrin) - "ludicrous South American rhythms and Latin-ized mickey-mousing ... a veritable fantasia on a computerized one-note acciaccatura."
Waterloo (Nino Rota) - "turgid banalities languidly jumbled together ... made up of non-martial marches, non-vivacious waltzes, inept variations on 'La Marseillaise' and "Deutschelande uber Allis,' and other tired sound-shovelings."
Summer of '42 (Michel Legrand) - "musical treacle ... monothematic detrius"

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 19, 2008 - 1:25 AM   
 By:   James MacMillan   (Member)

Page Cook (which was not his real name - he had some movie person's name in real life, if I recall correctly) was, I don't think, out of his teens when he began spewing forth his reviews. He had been a letter-writer to FIR prior to that. And like many teens today on the Internet, he was prissy, effete, snobby, snotty and unbearable. However, nothing really changed as he got older. I think he and Joecaps were buddies - hush my mouth.


Yeah, I seem to recall his real name was Charles Boyer.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 19, 2008 - 6:29 AM   
 By:   pp312   (Member)

Yeah, I seem to recall his real name was Charles Boyer.

That's correct, so can you wonder that he always seemed to be angry about something?

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 19, 2008 - 11:07 AM   
 By:   quiller007   (Member)


It's just kinda weird to read such anger towards a guy who just gave opinions about music.



It was his attitude. Like Bruce said,
he came across as a snob and very
snotty. Not only did he bash a lot
of scores that I like, but also
the films that produced these scores.
So, he fancied himself a film critic, too.
Just take a look at his vile comments
toward Brian De Palma on The Fury review
(even though he liked Williams' score).

Page Cook had every right to voice
his opinion on these subjects as he
saw fit. After all that's what he
was being paid for. However, like
any other critic, I don't have to
agree with his views. In fact,
it's my right to be angry with
his reviews and his contempt for
things I personally liked...but
especially his "elite" attitude.

Den

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 19, 2008 - 11:21 AM   
 By:   haineshisway   (Member)

Wow, a lot of venom for a guy who wrote music reviews!

Who else should get my venom?


It's just kinda weird to read such anger towards a guy who just gave opinions about music.


Anger? You think that was anger? Do you understand that words have meanings and anger doesn't cut the mustard, my friend - anger doesn't even cut the ketchup or the mayo. Ah, the Internet. Anger. It is to laugh. I was expressing my opinion of Mr. Cook, just the same as Mr. Cook expressed his opinions. It takes a lot more than Mr. Cook to get me angry, but when I AM angry there's no mistaking it.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 19, 2008 - 1:02 PM   
 By:   Joe Caps   (Member)

I knew Page for many years. He took over the Column in Films in review when he was only about 15.
For years, they had no idea they had a kid writing for them.

Paid for his views? He was NEVER paid anything.
Charles was opinionated as all hell. When I mentioned I liked two scores he didn't - Silver Chalice and Fall of the Roman Empire - he just said,
"We all have our cross to bear".
Was he snobbish - not at all - he had high standards for film music - but he was a very kind sweet person who would give you the shirt off his back.
With all of these golden age film score classics being released, it makes me sad he is not here to enjoy them.

 
 Posted:   Jan 19, 2008 - 1:47 PM   
 By:   Ed   (Member)

I don't have to
agree with his views. In fact,
it's my right to be angry with
his reviews and his contempt for
things I personally liked...but
especially his "elite" attitude.

Den


Okay, this post really gets to the heart of the "Page Cook phenomenon." A good friend introduced me to Cook's writings and we'd sit and go though back issues of FIR and look up our favorite scores to see when he'd say. JAWS, for example, got a blistering and contemptuous dismissal (something about mismatching elements from PSYCHO and a pirate movie, or words to that effect) and we just laughed our heads off. It was all too much. Now Williams is my favorite composer, and JAWS is one of his landmark scores and I love it, but it never occurred to me to be angry because Cook hated it. I gave the score another listen and confirmed for myself that it was a good score and I still liked it. That was just Page Cook. He wasn't attacking me personally, and it could never reflect badly on me that I had a shelf full of scores that he had gleefully trashed.

Anger. It is to laugh. I was expressing my opinion of Mr. Cook, just the same as Mr. Cook expressed his opinions. It takes a lot more than Mr. Cook to get me angry, but when I AM angry there's no mistaking it.

I agree with Real Bruce.

Generally, I'm not sure why anyone feels they have "the right" to be angry at someone with a forcefully contrary view. There are, thank goodness, many people on this board with views contrary to mine, but if I exercised my "right" to be angry each time I read an opposing view, even a strongly worded opposing view, I'd be ready for a rubber cell by now.

And elitist attitudes? Almost everyone on this board (including me) are guilty of that offense. Elitism is the grease that keeps this board running.

 
 Posted:   Jan 19, 2008 - 2:27 PM   
 By:   Dana Wilcox   (Member)

Apart from being an insufferable old fusspot, Page Cook sometimes praised scores by imaginary composers for non-existent films.

At least this one time, Cook's fantasies proved prophetic:

http://www.audiophilia.com/software/Soundtracks/reviews/da19.htm

 
 Posted:   Jan 19, 2008 - 3:04 PM   
 By:   Steve Johnson   (Member)

Apart from being an insufferable old fusspot, Page Cook sometimes praised scores by imaginary composers for non-existent films.

At least this one time, Cook's fantasies proved prophetic:

http://www.audiophilia.com/software/Soundtracks/reviews/da19.htm


Yes. It finally happened. 18 years after his stated belief we would see this in 80-81.
Why in the hell would he make up such a lie?

Even worse, I started telling people about this preposterous fantasy, making me a quasi-ass for spreading his mentally diseased lie.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 19, 2008 - 11:13 PM   
 By:   franz_conrad   (Member)

That's an Andy Kaufman style prank if ever I saw one!

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 20, 2008 - 1:40 AM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

Jack Smith wrote the following remembrance of Page Cook in the March/April 1996 issue of Films In Review:

"Shortly before his death, I talked to Page by phone, which replaced writing as his strength dwindled. Somehow, we got around to discussing his long tenure at FIR. 'I've always loved writing the column, even though it sometimes drove me crazy, doing something again and again over the years. If I had to do it over, perhaps I would have been kinder in some respects, and tried to facilitate efforts at making the music available ... I don't know ... Do you think anyone will care? Was all that writing over the years worthwhile? Did it do anything for anybody?'

"Then, in our last conversation, I called to tell him that a mutual friend had sent me some recordings that were to be dubbed and sent on to him for his enjoyment. In a kind gesture, producer Nick Redman had done the same thing with the first releases of the 20th Century-Fox classics. Page had called me after hearing 'The Robe.' 'It's real stereo!' he exclaimed, almost on the verge of tears. Now, as I told him of mailing these new tapes to him, Page said weakly, 'Jack, it really doesn't matter anymore...'

"I knew then that it would be our last conversation. Death was robbing him of his greatest love, and death was depriving us all of the first person to truly look at filmusic as an art form. And I was losing a friend."
------------------------------------------

Speaking for myself, and I would imagine for many others who grew up with the filmusic of the 60s and 70s, I have to say that Cook's writing WAS worthwhile. Agree or disagree with his opinions, it meant quite a lot to us to know that we weren't alone in our passion for "filmusic" (as Cook always called it). I suspect his colums will be discussed and debated for years to come.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 20, 2008 - 3:37 AM   
 By:   John Smith   (Member)

"I knew Page for many years. He took over the Column in Films in review when he was only about 15. For years, they had no idea they had a kid writing for them."

Joe Caps


Manderley revealed a couple of years ago that Page Cook was born on December 7, 1944. Cook’s first article appeared in 1963 (a highly favourable review of How the West Was Won). He was 19 years old at the time.

What really disturbs me is not Cook’s “lying” or caustic commentary, but some of the other things that I’ve read in successive Page Cook threads over the years. The following extract comes from a 2005 post:

"Charles and I had written each other for a few years before we met in 65. I went to stay at his place in queens for a weekend. We spent the entire weekend talking film music and duping scores. I was only 14 and had no idea there was an entire world of private tapes of stuff I had no idea existed. I think we drank a lot of wine, then drank coffee to sober up, then drank more wine etc. for the entire weekend."

I’m no prude, but the idea of a 21-year-old man continually inebriating a child over the course of a weekend sends shivers down my spine…

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 20, 2008 - 4:34 AM   
 By:   Joe Caps   (Member)

Jack , That was me of course, and my writing there was poor. oNly fourteen when I first came in contact with Page, but I was sicteen when I went to visit him. at the time, he told me that he was 18.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 20, 2008 - 7:15 AM   
 By:   vinylscrubber   (Member)

He started the column in his teens?! Boy, he sure wrote like an old man, a very crabby old man.

But . . . he was one of the only games in town back then.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 20, 2008 - 9:06 AM   
 By:   James MacMillan   (Member)

He started the column in his teens?! Boy, he sure wrote like an old man, a very crabby old man.

But . . . he was one of the only games in town back then.



Exactly. It's hard to realise now just how sparse any kind of film music criticism and writing was back then.
I remember, in one of his columns from 1975, bestowing the "Page Cook Filmusic Bete Noir" Award on a certain French-born composer, concluding with the classic line, "...in'75 I think it's time to put a lid on this Jarre".

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 20, 2008 - 9:17 AM   
 By:   John Smith   (Member)

Joe, thanks for clearing that up! The truth of the matter is that I owe a real debt of gratitude to Page Cook. He’s often described by soundtrack aficionados as an irrelevancy in the grand scheme of things, so I’m pleased that there are still people who remember the extent to which he formed the malleable and impressionable minds of soundtrack collectors in the sixties and seventies. I am a case in point and can only reiterate what I said in an earlier thread: I suspect that few people on this website can claim to have been as profoundly influenced by him as I - in terms of form as well as content. Nearly twenty-five years ago I wrote film reviews. Alas, having digested decades of Page Cook’s FIR column, I began to write like him! Cook’s style had entered my consciousness so deeply that I emulated his florid style in my copy with nauseating accuracy! I remember my editor approaching me one day (I’d been writing Cook-like reviews for some time) with a bemused look on his face. “There’s something wrong with this review,” he muttered, handing my latest copy back to me. “What?” I inquired. “Well, for a start…, he said, looking rather dismayed, “I can understand every word!”

Incidentally, contrary to an earlier claim, both “galumphings” and “saccharinities” are genuine words – as my well-thumbed copy of the OED has just confirmed. (I suspect most of the thumbprints in all twenty volumes of the dictionary are a direct result of Page Cook’s thirty-year predilection for abstruse and recondite vocabulary!)

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 20, 2008 - 9:37 AM   
 By:   Rozsaphile   (Member)

Ah, how any mention of poor Charles brings out the memories in those of us who have attained a certain age . . .!

It's true he started very young and was presumably not paid for his writing. However, when I knew him (chiefly 1967-1970), he was working in the FIR office as an editorial assistant. Of course that meant he was under the heavy-handed influence of editor Henry Hart, who used to rework everybody's copy. Charles lived in the Bronx, not Queens. And yes, like so many others, I owe him a debt of gratitude.

What I cannot understand is why he used bogus language not only to ridicule what he considered trash but also to describe music that he valued. If you love Alfred Newman, as Charles did, and if you consider GSET to be a pinnacle of Newman's career -- Charles was the first to hear the original tapes -- then why would you describe one of its themes as a "nematode"??!!

 
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