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 Posted:   Jan 18, 2008 - 6:25 AM   
 By:   scottthompson   (Member)

Enjoyed Scott Bettencourt's brief mention of Page Cook, the late film score critic for Films In Review magazine. I first discovered Mr. Cook's reviews in the library while taking a break from studying in dental school in the early 1980's. Loved his vitriolic humor (he really pasted such composers as Maurice Jarre and Dimitri Tiomkin, and loved Miklos Rozsa) and I very often agreed with his reviews.

As mentioned by Scott, one composer he briefly championed was Edward David Zeliff, who's lone work available on LP, THE LIVING WORD, is terrific.

If Mr. Zeliff is out there and reading, I'd love to know what is going on with your career and would love to hear some more music by you, especially PILATE'S EASTER.

I once had a copy of Cook's Best annual scores, in which he rated the 5 best scores of the year from about 1960 to the time I lost touch, in the mid 80's. Would love a copy of that if anyone out there still possesses it.

What I enjoyed most were Cook's "created" vocabulary words, usually negative in nature, that he would conjure. Never could find them in the dictionary, but they sounded great.

SCOTT


Edit: Some of Cook's fabricated nouns describing bad scores (from Scott's column on 1984 scores):

galumphings
flotsam
saccharinities
imbroglio

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 18, 2008 - 8:27 AM   
 By:   ryankeaveney   (Member)

As far as I know, "imbroglio" is an Italian word for altercation and "flotsam" is a term used to describe floating debris after a ship sinks!

And according to this:

http://www.zoominfo.com/people/Zeliff_Edward_1193674216.aspx

Edward David Zeliff is an instructor at a college in California.

Google is wonderful!

 
 Posted:   Jan 18, 2008 - 8:31 AM   
 By:   scottthompson   (Member)

As far as I know, "imbroglio" is an Italian word for altercation and "flotsam" is a term used to describe floating debris after a ship sinks!

And according to this:

http://www.zoominfo.com/people/Zeliff_Edward_1193674216.aspx

Edward David Zeliff is an instructor at a college in California.

Google is wonderful!



Floating debris after a ship sinks...that is great!
Will incorporate "flotsam" into the memory bank of great descriptive nouns along with "bilge", "pond scum" and "mega-dreck".

If I were a filmmaker with the right kind of project, I'd be hunting Mr. Zeliff to score my film.

SCOTT

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 18, 2008 - 3:49 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

Here are some of Page Cook's dismissals of some 1971 scores that he particularly disliked:

"repulsive jazz-noise" (Quincy Jones' $)
"pot-boiling hissings" (Michel Legrand's Summer of '42 and The Go-Between)
"garbage" (Michel Legrand's Wuthering Heights)
"tired ... vacuous" (Alex North's Willard)
"mod-mediocrity ... gargled out" (Leslie Bricusse's Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory)

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 18, 2008 - 4:28 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

We could do a whole series of these.
Here are Page Cook's opinions on some 1969 scores:

John and Mary, Cactus Flower, and Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (Quincy Jones) - "irrelevant, obtrusive and stupid"
McKenna's Gold (Quincy Jones) - "inadequate noise"
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (Burt Bacharach) - "dishes out any and every irrelevance--from simple-minded pop songs to bee-bop and rock"
Che! (Lalo Schifrin) - "mindless bird-caws"
the songs in Goodbye, Mr. Chips (Leslie Bricusse) - "tuneless globs ... addled ...hideous gargle ... dismal ballad ... so asinine it's incredible"
The Damned (Maurice Jarre) - "hackneyed limposities ... simple-minded sentimental melodies"
orchestrations on Hello Dolly - "an almost continual blare ... over-arranged, over-played, over-worked distortions ... racous and uncouth music"

And for 1970 films:

Fellini Satyricon (Nino Rota) - "The most worthless 'score' of 1970"
A Man Called Horse (Leonard Rosenman) - "meaningless, unpleasant, and otherwise gross .. it manages to add one more abomination to a film that's rife with them. ... It's hard to recall a film score as replusive as this one."
Soldier Blue (Roy Budd) - "consists largely of the dreary cliches that hack film-composers of the '50s supplied for innumerable B westerns."
Arrangements of the songs in On a Clear Day You Can See Forever (Nelson Riddle) - "lackadaisical meandering ... abominable ineptitudes ... drivelling. Riddle has the musicianship of what used to be called a macaroni."

And you think some of the opinions on this board are overwrought!


 
 Posted:   Jan 18, 2008 - 4:43 PM   
 By:   DavidinBerkeley   (Member)


I once had a copy of Cook's Best annual scores, in which he rated the 5 best scores of the year from about 1960 to the time I lost touch, in the mid 80's. Would love a copy of that if anyone out there still possesses it.


I still have one. How can I get a copy to you?

 
 Posted:   Jan 18, 2008 - 4:46 PM   
 By:   DavidinBerkeley   (Member)


As mentioned by Scott, one composer he briefly championed was Edward David Zeliff, who's lone work available on LP, THE LIVING WORD, is terrific.

If Mr. Zeliff is out there and reading, I'd love to know what is going on with your career and would love to hear some more music by you, especially PILATE'S EASTER.


Zeliff wrote me an email a few years ago in reply to a "fan email" I sent him (it took him a LONG time to reply). He mentioned at least one piece of concert music he was working on (no films, though).

Would you like me to dig it out to get you some details (if there are any), Scott?

 
 Posted:   Jan 18, 2008 - 4:49 PM   
 By:   DavidinBerkeley   (Member)

Enjoyed Scott Bettencourt's brief mention of Page Cook, the late film score critic for Films In Review magazine.

I agree. I learned a LOT from reading his column. I look forward to digging into the columns previous to those I read, someday.

 
 Posted:   Jan 18, 2008 - 4:57 PM   
 By:   scottthompson   (Member)


I once had a copy of Cook's Best annual scores, in which he rated the 5 best scores of the year from about 1960 to the time I lost touch, in the mid 80's. Would love a copy of that if anyone out there still possesses it.


I still have one. How can I get a copy to you?


Hello, David. Thanks.

Thanks!
SCOTT

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 18, 2008 - 9:08 PM   
 By:   JSWalsh   (Member)

The reason I enjoyed reading his articles was because, like Pauline Kael, he liked certain films/scores I didn't, but wrote about them in such a way that I thought about them, and sometimes changed my mind. That's the ultimate good any critic can do--make you think, even if in the end you don't come around to their point of view.

I bought Sarde's FORT SAGANNE solely on Cook's recommendations, and I still think it's one of the most beautiful movie themes ever written, just gorgeous.

He summed up Goldsmith's SUPERGIRL theme in a way I had to agree with: "obnoxious."

And he described Horner's STAR TREK 3 in a way that made me really appreciate Horner's accomplishment. I enjoyed the score more than Trek 2 and felt all alone, sniff sniff, because everyone else loved 2 and kind of passed over 3. But Cook's enthusiasm and his description made me think about it more.

If I recall correctly, he also surprised me by enjoying INNERSPACE, a score I really loved.

Not sure about the accuracy of my memory here but I believe I read somewhere that towards the end of his life he wondered, as many do, if he'd spent his career uselessly, and a fan reported that he'd learned English in part by reading his columns.

 
 Posted:   Jan 18, 2008 - 9:40 PM   
 By:   Ed   (Member)

Page Cook's very first review in FIR (Nov. '63) begins:

Miklos Rozsa's score for The V.I.P.s is expert but seemed to me unevenly balanced. I cannot remember when Rozsa has written so indeterminately. His utterly sophisticated music for this polished programmer, and his rich melody, were almost drowned by moody pretensions. Despite a great deal of typical Rozsa loveliness, the overall effect is ponderous and even melancholic.

If memory serves, Page was barely out of his teens when he took over the column!

As a FIR reader, Page offered a list of his own favorite recent film scores (as of Oct. '63):

1) Taras Bulba; 2) How The West Was Won; 3) Sodom And Gomorrah; 4) Irma la Douce; 5) Hemingway's Adventures Of A Young Man; 6) Cleopatra

Can't argue with that list.

 
 Posted:   Jan 18, 2008 - 9:50 PM   
 By:   Ed   (Member)

Tiomkin falls under the knife of Page Cook:

Dimitri Tiomkin was not a wise choice for 55 Days At Peking -- nor, I suspect, for The Rise And Fall Of The Roman Empire [sic]. He becomes raucous and very confusing whenever he writes spectacle-filmusic [sic]. His score for Land Of The Pharoahs was pitiful. Save for the main title and finale, it was merely stentorian. Tiomkin seemed to want to telegraph everything that was to come on the screen, and the whole mystique of Egypt passed him by.

Um, ouch.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 18, 2008 - 9:55 PM   
 By:   The Beach Bum   (Member)

Apart from being an insufferable old fusspot, Page Cook sometimes praised scores by imaginary composers for non-existent films. It was a great day for me when I was told about CinemaScore: The Film Music Journal. That was where to find informed reviews on film music (by Randall Larson and others), not to mention interviews and scoring session reports (back when sessions were worth reporting on).

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 18, 2008 - 9:58 PM   
 By:   JSWalsh   (Member)

Page Cook sometimes praised scores by imaginary composers for non-existent films.



Again, someone trying to besmirch the fans of Alan Fivehouse, I see...

 
 Posted:   Jan 18, 2008 - 10:32 PM   
 By:   Steve Johnson   (Member)

We could do a whole series of these.
Here are Page Cook's opinions on some 1969 scores:

John and Mary, Cactus Flower, and Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (Quincy Jones) - "irrelevant, obtrusive and stupid"
McKenna's Gold (Quincy Jones) - "inadequate noise"
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (Burt Bacharach) - "dishes out any and every irrelevance--from simple-minded pop songs to bee-bop and rock"
Che! (Lalo Schifrin) - "mindless bird-caws"
the songs in Goodbye, Mr. Chips (Leslie Bricusse) - "tuneless globs ... addled ...hideous gargle ... dismal ballad ... so asinine it's incredible"
The Damned (Maurice Jarre) - "hackneyed limposities ... simple-minded sentimental melodies"
orchestrations on Hello Dolly - "an almost continual blare ... over-arranged, over-played, over-worked distortions ... racous and uncouth music"

And for 1970 films:

Fellini Satyricon (Nino Rota) - "The most worthless 'score' of 1970"
A Man Called Horse (Leonard Rosenman) - "meaningless, unpleasant, and otherwise gross .. it manages to add one more abomination to a film that's rife with them. ... It's hard to recall a film score as replusive as this one."
Soldier Blue (Roy Budd) - "consists largely of the dreary cliches that hack film-composers of the '50s supplied for innumerable B westerns."
Arrangements of the songs in On a Clear Day You Can See Forever (Nelson Riddle) - "lackadaisical meandering ... abominable ineptitudes ... drivelling. Riddle has the musicianship of what used to be called a macaroni."

And you think some of the opinions on this board are overwrought!


These are classic. I would buy FILMS IN REVIEW around'75-80 or 81 sometimes only to read his column. It just goes to show, someone paid good dollars American to this Son of Bob to do what any one else can- voice a meaningless opinion.

 
 Posted:   Jan 18, 2008 - 10:43 PM   
 By:   Steve Johnson   (Member)

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

It was a great day for me when I was told about CinemaScore: The Film Music Journal. That was where to find informed reviews on film music (by Randall Larson and others), not to mention interviews and scoring session reports (back when sessions were worth reporting on).


Wow. WOW. Now that I hear this imaginary crapolla, what I'm about to recall makes a lot of sense. Page Cook, The Bastard Liar, stated in a summer 1980 issue of FIR that some enterprising European concern was about to release an LP containing all these original ST's from 20th Century Fox movies like SEVEN CITIES OF GOLD, etc. He went into exaustive, gasping for air detail about this thing.

I had the stupid naivite within me to believe him.

What a lying, self deceptive delusional clown this guy must have been.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 18, 2008 - 11:46 PM   
 By:   haineshisway   (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.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 18, 2008 - 11:48 PM   
 By:   JSWalsh   (Member)

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

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 18, 2008 - 11:57 PM   
 By:   haineshisway   (Member)

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

Who else should get my venom?

 
 Posted:   Jan 19, 2008 - 12:13 AM   
 By:   Ed   (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.

 
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