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 Posted:   Aug 9, 2018 - 4:35 PM   
 By:   OnyaBirri   (Member)

Frequently, when we muse on the possible longevity of film composers, our criteria center upon how "good" (or not) the music is.

But do we ever consider the longevity of particular films, and the role they will play in a composer's legacy?

A friend of mine teaches a film 101 course at a university, and while his classes may not be filled with the brightest bulbs on campus, he tells me that his students can't tolerate films made as recently as the 1970s. All of the existential urban crime dramas that I love so much are considered boring. Could these kids possibly one day care about Lalo Schifrin, unless he is being sampled by a contemporary DJ or producer?

Do you think that as films fade into the past, their composers will follow them? And if some films continue to be celebrated after decades or centuries, will the composers be remembered? Some have told me that Korngold is occasionally played on the concert stage. I have never seen a swashbuckling movie in my life and consequently have no idea what Korngold sounds like, so if this is true, Korngold's case would seem to refute my question.

 
 Posted:   Aug 9, 2018 - 4:53 PM   
 By:   Adventures of Jarre Jarre   (Member)

It depends on who's doing the remembering. As long as film societies and institutes are populated by generations who examine the breadth of the art form, the public will be sporadically reminded of which films are classics, with or without their consent. Composers will then have nothing but those delegated entries to achieve any semblance of relevance, and the few who realized a newfound love for film music may, in time, eventually join our ranks. Yay niche hobbies.

As to whether Oscars or Golden Globes will continue televising such yearly achievements...

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 9, 2018 - 5:20 PM   
 By:   villagardens553   (Member)

Interest in films and interest in film composers, either together or separately, have their peaks and valleys. One thing I know for sure, no one will ever remember a bad score for a bad film; I also don't think a bad--or even a mediocre--score for a good film will get much attention. Great scores for great films will be remembered. The real question is . . . what about a great score for a bad film? Time will tell. So, going back exactly 50 years there was a film called Deadfall that united both the critics and the smattering of cinema-goers that saw the thing in that it was globally panned. The score by John Barry is generally considered by his fans to be one of his best; I don't pretend to know the collective taste of the Barry crowd, but I've got a pretty good idea. And yet, this score is not well known to the general public in the way that many of his other scores are, like Midnight Cowboy, Out of Africa, and so on. Of course, most film scores are not well known to the general public, so I think the answer varies depending how close or how far out you want to draw the circle around any given film, score, or composer. I trust I've been perfectly vague.

 
 Posted:   Aug 10, 2018 - 5:58 AM   
 By:   Jim Phelps   (Member)

his students can't tolerate films made as recently as the 1970s. All of the existential urban crime dramas that I love so much are considered boring. Could these kids possibly one day care about Lalo Schifrin, unless he is being sampled by a contemporary DJ or producer?

Do you think that as films fade into the past, their composers will follow them? And if some films continue to be celebrated after decades or centuries, will the composers be remembered? Some have told me that Korngold is occasionally played on the concert stage. I have never seen a swashbuckling movie in my life and consequently have no idea what Korngold sounds like, so if this is true, Korngold's case would seem to refute my question.


With the remarks about Lalo and the Korngold anecdote you may have already answered your own question. The films themselves may not pass muster with the kids, but if late 1960s counterculture Baby Boomers could latch on to Humprhrey Bogart films and celebrate him as a rebel of his time, then Millennials and Gen Z can probably find much to like about the music of our cherished existential urban crime dramas. In the case of the latter groups, though, the music probably needs to be discovered in a new context. After all, there are countless old Soul and R&B songs that the hip-hopping folk have introduced to new audiences through the "sampling" of said songs, so why not film music becoming well known once again via new films or even a context unrelated to film?

 
 Posted:   Aug 10, 2018 - 6:21 AM   
 By:   WillGoldNewtonBarryGrusin   (Member)

he tells me that his students can't tolerate films made as recently as the 1970s.

I have experienced this weird resistance from others as well. A movie from the 70´s? "Oooh, slow and boring." A movie from the 60´s or even 50´? "C´mon, I don't watch that crap. It´s soooo slow and over the top." Yeah, but they love to discuss the first "Iron Man" as a reference to old films.

A few years from now, even Hans Zimmer will be considered old school.

 
 Posted:   Aug 10, 2018 - 9:07 AM   
 By:   mgh   (Member)

I think great art survives; some films and some composers will be enjoyed in the future, but what they will be, I have no idea. Someone mentioned Bogart becoming a icon in the 60's. He was certainly one of mine, but I grew up in the 40's, 50's and 60's watching his films. And when I am asked to name great films, I usually give examples like Out of the Past, Shane, High Noon, The Night of the Hunter, The Searchers, Lawrence of Arabia, and The Bridge on the River Kwai. But they were the films of my youth and I was formed by them.
I am not a great fan of films today. I don't go to superhero movies. I find them boring. But they are the films of today's youth. They are being formed by them.
The films that I have found interesting in the past few years are Wind River, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Mud, Prisoners, Hell and High Water, and Sicario. When I talk to young people about them, a few of them have only seen Sicario.
As for the music, I have hopes that some of it will survive. I look back at opera. We still play suites and overtures from Handel, Mozart, Haydn and Rossini. Some orchestras have started playing music from films, mostly from Williams, but also from Goldsmith, Korngold and Waxman.

 
 Posted:   Aug 10, 2018 - 10:33 AM   
 By:   SchiffyM   (Member)

I think great art survives; some films and some composers will be enjoyed in the future, but what they will be, I have no idea.

Agreed. That said, the popular art of today will not likely be popular in a hundred years, any more than burlesque, Fatty Arbuckle, or the musical "Oh, Lady! Lady!!" are popular today. Many of my favorite films will be forgotten, but this is inevitable. Not everything can survive.

 
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