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 Posted:   Feb 28, 2014 - 8:01 PM   
 By:   arthur grant   (Member)

I'm personally incredulous both with the blogger's review and her response to my query. Is it because I'm older..(an age thing) or is she not really paying attention or unappreciative of Bernstein's contribution?

Honestly I don't get it. What do you think?


She's responsive if anyone cares to post there:

http://journeysinclassicfilm.com/2014/02/24/to-kill-a-mockingbird-1962/#more-4269

 
 Posted:   Mar 1, 2014 - 5:03 AM   
 By:   mgh   (Member)

A friend told me about taking his daughter to a movie. It was a great film and the music was wonderful and loving music, he was very aware of it. When they got outside, they talked about the film, and then he asked her, "What did you think of the music?" "What music?" his daughter replied.
I don't think most people are aware of the underscore. I think only people who are sensitive to music and sort through the other pieces of the film can really hear it. I don't think they are defective; I think they have different priorities.
On the other hand, I would think that a film critic, one who studies film, would be more sensitive to the music. Then again, maybe it just wasn't her cup of tea. There are no absolutes. Nobody says she has to love Elmer's music.

On a personal note: I can still remember sitting in the theater watching that film. When the Main Title came up, it riveted me to the screen. I have loved that score ever since.

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 1, 2014 - 8:11 PM   
 By:   arthur grant   (Member)

A friend told me about taking his daughter to a movie. It was a great film and the music was wonderful and loving music, he was very aware of it. When they got outside, they talked about the film, and then he asked her, "What did you think of the music?" "What music?" his daughter replied.
I don't think most people are aware of the underscore. I think only people who are sensitive to music and sort through the other pieces of the film can really hear it. I don't think they are defective; I think they have different priorities.
On the other hand, I would think that a film critic, one who studies film, would be more sensitive to the music. Then again, maybe it just wasn't her cup of tea. There are no absolutes. Nobody says she has to love Elmer's music.

On a personal note: I can still remember sitting in the theater watching that film. When the Main Title came up, it riveted me to the screen. I have loved that score ever since.


Thanks for your considered and insightful response. I guess it's just my personal reaction to the score going initially unnoticed in that particular film that surprised me. I've had more than a few friends who know nothing about older films ask me about that particular score over the years. I mean it's so much a part of the experience! But like you so wisely stated, she shouldn't be expected to notice it much less admire it. After reading your example I now think at least her honesty in response to my query was commendable.

 
 Posted:   Mar 1, 2014 - 10:44 PM   
 By:   Dana Wilcox   (Member)

With all due respect to our obviously intelligent and well-spoken young reviewer, Kristen's lack of sophistication as a film critic shows in her failure to recognize or even consider how her own emotional reactions to the scenes that most affected her (the first meeting of Scout and Boo in Jem's room, and the final scene for example) may have been influenced by Elmer Bernstein's music score. Her review, while positive and heartfelt, seemed to me a bit naïve and superficial as well. In the service of Kristen's love for film, which I applaud, and her aspiration to enlighten others on the qualities of the films she enjoys, think how much better her reviews would be were she to expose herself to some examples of professional level film analysis by seasoned, technically knowledgeable film critics (such as: Roger Ebert's commentary track on the DVD of CITIZEN KANE). The film score is just one element among many whose contributions to the overall quality and impact of a film should be addressed in a well thought out film review. (IMO of course!)

 
 Posted:   Mar 2, 2014 - 3:02 PM   
 By:   Ron Hardcastle   (Member)

The first time I saw "To Kill A Mockingbird" in the theatre soooooooooo many years ago, I was transfixed by Elmer Bernstein's poignant music the moment we first hear it, and it's something that is so inextricably connected to the action on the screen that I can't imagine anyone watching that movie and not being affected by it. But there are many people who pay little attention to the music when they watch a movie, and it's dispiriting when such a person is also a film critic. For years I waged a battle with the Los Angeles Times and how several of their film critics wouldn't write a word about the music in their reviews, even when it was a major part of the movie (there WERE a few who took the time to discuss it). I spoke to friends this morning who told me they had watched "Renoir" at my suggestion, and I asked what they thought of Alexandre Desplat's beautiful music, and was disappointed to find that they hadn't paid much attention to it. Those of us who are huge soundtrack lovers and collectors probably have friends and relatives who have never bought a soundtrack in their lives. I just can't imagine watching a movie and NOT paying close attention to the music.

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 3, 2014 - 9:41 AM   
 By:   Tall Guy   (Member)

The first time I saw "To Kill A Mockingbird" in the theatre soooooooooo many years ago, I was transfixed by Elmer Bernstein's poignant music the moment we first hear it, and it's something that is so inextricably connected to the action on the screen that I can't imagine anyone watching that movie and not being affected by it. But there are many people who pay little attention to the music when they watch a movie, and it's dispiriting when such a person is also a film critic. For years I waged a battle with the Los Angeles Times and how several of their film critics wouldn't write a word about the music in their reviews, even when it was a major part of the movie (there WERE a few who took the time to discuss it). I spoke to friends this morning who told me they had watched "Renoir" at my suggestion, and I asked what they thought of Alexandre Desplat's beautiful music, and was disappointed to find that they hadn't paid much attention to it. Those of us who are huge soundtrack lovers and collectors probably have friends and relatives who have never bought a soundtrack in their lives. I just can't imagine watching a movie and NOT paying close attention to the music.


Seems to me that the young reviewer is catering for the majority of her audience. We might not agree with it but there it is.

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 3, 2014 - 10:08 PM   
 By:   arthur grant   (Member)

Thanks to all for chiming in. And an extra thanks to Ron for the ?????...LOL:

http://journeysinclassicfilm.com/2014/02/24/to-kill-a-mockingbird-1962/#more-4269


Maybe I should start a Film Score Critic Police. Anyone up for membership? Noticed any other violators out there?

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 3, 2014 - 10:10 PM   
 By:   arthur grant   (Member)



(double post deleted)

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 3, 2014 - 10:12 PM   
 By:   arthur grant   (Member)



(third post repeat deleted..I'm not good at this)

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 3, 2014 - 11:20 PM   
 By:   Michael24   (Member)

??????????? The score was the emotional core of the film…it perfectly underscored what was happening and placing it into a proper context.

Which is pretty much what she said. Haha! She never said it was a bad score or anything like that. She said, in reply to Arthur's inquiry, that it was "elegant and well-placed within the context of the film." She clearly appreciates it, even if it didn't really stand out to her "like other scores." Which, by the way, would seem to also suggest she is capable of connecting with scores.

So I don't really see what the issue is. Different people connect with different scores. There are plenty of scores that I can appreciate within the context of a given film and think are well done, even if they don't necessarily "stand out" to me or are ones I would want to listen to on their own.

 
 Posted:   Mar 4, 2014 - 7:48 AM   
 By:   Ron Pulliam   (Member)

Yes, it's pretty much what she said, but the implication was that it is serviceable but "didn't stand out."

For me, the score is absolutely haunting. It definitely places the film in a certain time and captures the innocence of Scout Finch. It is through her eyes we watch events unfold and the music is a brilliant accompaniment to that. I might as well stop breathing as to not notice music in film. It makes me pity (and scoff) anyone who finds something like Bernstein's masterpiece as a score that "didn't stand out".

Perhaps the better question is who here agrees with her about this score?

 
 Posted:   Mar 4, 2014 - 3:14 PM   
 By:   Grecchus   (Member)

The DvD has a 'making of' feature in which Bernstein says he constructed the main title music by picturing how a child would play on the piano. They would just depress single notes successively without there being a need for tunefulness. So he starts stringing the notes together and . . . voila.

The music makes no attempt at intrusiveness. It maintains child-like continuity (and innocence) throughout. Maybe that's why it seems to go by unnoticed?

By the way, there are some special moments in that feature. Peck discusses a personal conversation with Harper Lee on the first day's filming. Duvall talks about his role too.

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 4, 2014 - 3:27 PM   
 By:   Michael24   (Member)

It makes me pity (and scoff) anyone who finds something like Bernstein's masterpiece as a score that "didn't stand out".

Forgive me, but I think that's a little snooty. "Oh, so it didn't 'stand out' to you? Well, clearly you don't know good music." A ridiculous notion if ever there was one, considering how personal and individual music can be. Like I said, different people respond to different things, and I would never hold a low opinion of someone just because they might think something which I happened to like didn't stand out to them.

As for the score itself, I can't comment. I've only seen the film once, years ago in middle school (early-90s), so it's not something I'm familiar with. I just think people are unfairly jumping all over and criticizing this girl for no real reason at all, especially considering, as I mentioned, that she never said it was bad music. Frankly, I find some of the attitude toward her in this thread far worse than her comments.

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 4, 2014 - 4:38 PM   
 By:   Doc Loch   (Member)

Shouldn't we be glad that someone who apparently is rather young is willing to watch something from a few decades ago, in black and white no less (!) and acknowledge that they enjoyed it? I'm getting ready to show Citizen Kane in my film class tonight and I'm already anticipating the number of times I'm going to have to tell students to put away their cellphones and pay attention to the film (I have a "no toys" policy during the screenings in my class, but in this day and age it's a losing battle).

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 5, 2014 - 6:20 AM   
 By:   arthur grant   (Member)

??????????? The score was the emotional core of the film…it perfectly underscored what was happening and placing it into a proper context.

Which is pretty much what she said. Haha! She never said it was a bad score or anything like that. She said, in reply to Arthur's inquiry, that it was "elegant and well-placed within the context of the film." She clearly appreciates it, even if it didn't really stand out to her "like other scores." Which, by the way, would seem to also suggest she is capable of connecting with scores.

So I don't really see what the issue is. Different people connect with different scores. There are plenty of scores that I can appreciate within the context of a given film and think are well done, even if they don't necessarily "stand out" to me or are ones I would want to listen to on their own.



Surprise at her not mentioning the score at first and underwhelming response to my query hardly equates to criticisms, attacks or snootiness on some of the reactions here including my own. I brought it up here for discussion and you've commented and I thank you for that. Please be fair to those of us who QUESTION how such an important influence to a motion picture she herself loves can be first ignored and then "didn't catch my ear". No she didn't say it was a bad score when I questioned her but she "pretty much" didn't say anything like what Ron did either. She has just as much right to undervalue the music's contribution in this film as we do in ??????????? it.

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 5, 2014 - 7:07 AM   
 By:   arthur grant   (Member)

Shouldn't we be glad that someone who apparently is rather young is willing to watch something from a few decades ago, in black and white no less (!) and acknowledge that they enjoyed it? I'm getting ready to show Citizen Kane in my film class tonight and I'm already anticipating the number of times I'm going to have to tell students to put away their cellphones and pay attention to the film (I have a "no toys" policy during the screenings in my class, but in this day and age it's a losing battle).


It's been a long time but I and some others here were young once too. I was much more open to seeing all kinds of films including those made before I was born perhaps unlike most of your students. And I am grateful that Kristen is not only open to seeing them but willing to share her experiences viewing them. But that hardly diminishes the question I raised about how such an important and distinguished component of a motion picture she chose to review at length could go unmentioned and then be described as basically no more than serviceable, when asked about it. No critic, just like the films we review, is beyond criticism and should be prepared to address all comers. So far many like yourself have defended her but to my eyes, no one here has criticized her, making those defenses unnecessary. If however someone did, on this board in particular, they'd be just as entitled as she is in criticizing the films she doesn't like which on her site are plentiful...(just not T.K.A.M.). She's young...check. She's comparatively inexperienced...check. Maybe my question and Ron's ????? will help her therefore in creating a more insightful review in the future...Isn't that kind of what you'd like to pass on to your students? (Those at least you can get to put away their toys?) Lastly, those of us who have blogs on older films typically want more people to visit their site regardless of what the visitor's reaction is. Looks like I may have been of service in that department as well.

 
 Posted:   Mar 5, 2014 - 8:15 AM   
 By:   Ron Pulliam   (Member)

It makes me pity (and scoff) anyone who finds something like Bernstein's masterpiece as a score that "didn't stand out".

Forgive me, but I think that's a little snooty.


IF it is, I don't apologize for it. There are enough "apologists" defending her "right" to not notice or think anything special of the score. All things are NOT equal.

I once read a review of the soundtrack to "Star Trek: The Motion Picture". The reviewer, thoroughly unimpressed, said, "You won't be leaving the theater humming 'V'Ger Flyover'"!

At least she had sense enough not to comment upon it in her review. But the absence of it in the review reveals VOLUMES about the reviewer's limitations. She said it was "elegant" and "fit within the context of the film", but "it didn't catch" her ears. What does THAT tell you? Sadly, far too few "critics" have an ear for music...and when they do mention it, it's never for underscore but for songs.

How can anyone NOT NOTICE a score...especially one as unique, lovely and perfect as "To Kill A Mockingbird"?

 
 Posted:   Mar 6, 2014 - 8:46 AM   
 By:   Ron Hardcastle   (Member)

arthur grant: Re your "And an extra thanks to Ron for the ?????" Perhaps I'm too overwhelmed at the moment with trying to help a friend who has been abruptly put into a nursing facility after a stroke and has no close relatives nor friends (except this casual one) to sort out a lifetime of possessions, but I'm at a loss as to what the "for the ?????" meant. Sorry.

 
 Posted:   Mar 6, 2014 - 9:11 AM   
 By:   Ron Pulliam   (Member)

arthur grant: Re your "And an extra thanks to Ron for the ?????" Perhaps I'm too overwhelmed at the moment with trying to help a friend who has been abruptly put into a nursing facility after a stroke and has no close relatives nor friends (except this casual one) to sort out a lifetime of possessions, but I'm at a loss as to what the "for the ?????" meant. Sorry.

A glance at previous posts will reveal that I started off a post with "???????????????".

 
 Posted:   Mar 6, 2014 - 9:32 AM   
 By:   Ron Hardcastle   (Member)

Ron:

This is bizarre. While I see Michael24 quoting your (I assume) post that begins with all those question marks, I cannot, for the life of me, find your actual posting, and I've combed the above 5 times looking for it. And if you can see it (and not just Michael's quote of it), it still isn't there for ME. Very odd. (Ron, I show 3 posts from you above. What do you show? In fact I show nothing from you BEFORE Michael24 quoted the question marks.)

Wait ... he was thanking YOU and NOT Ron Hardcastle? But, again, not to belabor it, but I don't show anything from you around that time. Sorry to go on and on like this, but like the old Italian grandfather in "Moonstruck," I'm confused.

 
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