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Kritzerland has announced two new CDs -- the soundtrack to the 1946 musical CENTENNIAL SUMMER, featuring the original songs by Jerome Kern (his final score, including his Oscar-nominated song "All Through The Day") and the incidental music by Alfred Newman (also nominated); and a disc pairing two scores by Neal Hefti -- WON TON TON: THE DOG WHO SAVED HOLLYWOOD, the 1976 Golden Age Hollywood spoof starring Bruce Dern, Madeline Kahn and a gallery of movie veterans, from noted comedy director Michael Winner (Death Wish 1-3, The Nightcomers); and a remastered edition of OH DAD, POOR DAD, MAMMA'S HUNG YOU IN THE CLOSET AND I'M FEELIN' SO SAD.


Varese Sarabande plans to announce their next set of limited edition releases this coming Monday, including new CD Club releases.


Music Box plans to release a two-disc set of Georges Delerue's score for the 1989 epic LA REVOLUTION FRANCAISE, featuring the cues included on the original, long-out-of-print release plus an additional 35 minutes of previously unreleased music.


Next week, La-La Land plans to release an expanded CD of Mark Snow's score for the 1998 feature film spinoff THE X-FILES (sometimes referred to as The X-Files: Fight the Future). The label has also announced plans to continue their release of Batman scores for the large and small screens with a third volume of the excellent music for Batman: The Animated Series as well as Robert J. Kral's music for the video Batman: Assault on Arkham.


Next Wednesday, July 30th, at Arclight Hollywood's Cinerama Dome, Creature Features is presenting a 40th anniversary screening of Brian DePalma's glorious PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE, hosted by Edgar Wright and featuring appearances by star-composer Paul Williams and stars Jessica Harper and Gerritt Graham.


KEN THORNE - 1924-2014

Ken Thorne was born in Norfolk, England, on January 26, 1924, and raised in East Durenham. According to Thorne, “the family on both sides was musical. My paternal grandfather was conductor for the Dorset County orchestra and a Fellow of the Royal College of Organists. My uncle was also FRCO and doctor of music at both Durham and Oxford University. My mother had a beautiful voice and was well known in Norfolk County. I took up piano at the age of six and was accompanying her from the age of nine. My first professional job as a pianist was at 16!” His health kept him out of military service in World War II, and he formed his own band with Vic Lewis, which led to his first film work, performing for the 1948 Terry-Thomas comedy Date with a Dream and providing some original music as well.

He studied music composition at Cambridge for five years, and focused his energies on film and TV music, becoming an arranger-orchestrator for composer Philip Green (The League of Gentlemen, Victim). Working on the BBC series After Hours led to a meeting with the most important collaborator of his career, director Richard Lester.  Said Thorne, “Richard and I saw eye to eye. I was doing musical programs for the BBC and Richard was called in to be the funny man. He was an ideas man. And he worked beautifully with me. He was a superb musician and a most extraordinarily natural fellow. He and I just hit it off!” Lester collaborated with Peter Sellers on the 11-minute short The Running Jumping and Standing Still Film, which earned Sellers an Oscar nomination in the Live Action Short Subject category, and Lester collaborated on the film’s music with Thorne: “Richard wanted to compose the score and asked me to his apartment one day. I took manuscript paper and a pencil or two and he whistled his melodies to me. I wrote them down and then turned them into a Gerry Mulligan-style quartet of trumpet, sax, bass and drums. I was not expecting payment but one day a case of champagne arrived together with a note of thanks! The one and only time I was ever paid in booze!”

He worked with Lester on the feature musical Ring-a-Ding Rhythm! (aka It’s Trad, Dad) and ultimately shared a Grammy nomination with the Beatles for their contribution to Lester’s Help! “I really loved Help! I thought the compositions by Lennon and McCartney were brilliant and very easy to work with. I really enjoyed the challenge and also the freedom that I had because, being close to Dick, we got along extremely well. So for me, it was one of the best things that ever happened.”

His next Lester-directed musical provided its own set of challenges, as the comedy greats who starred in the film of Stephen Sondheim’s stage classic A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum were less expert at singing, and Thorne and music editor Barrie Vince had to labor to create accompaniment to match the sometimes erratic vocals. Thorne went the extra mile in making the incidental music feel authentic, despite the musical’s often anachronistic sensibility -- “I spent a lot of time in museums and musical archives, looking for the original musical forms. But it paid off; it sounds quite real” -- and he incorporated authentic instruments, including an ivory horn which Lester himself performed on the score. Thorne’s cues included a Mozart pastiche incorporating Sondheim themes for the film’s chase finale, and the efforts paid off when Lester called Thorne, unable to attend the year’s Academy Awards, to let him know that he’d won an Oscar in the Music Adaptation category: “You’ve got it! You’ve got it!”

Thorne continued to work steadily with Lester on films including How I Won the War, The Bed Sitting Room, Juggernaut, Royal Flash and The Ritz, as well with other directors on such diverse projects as John Huston’s Sinful Davey, Inspector Clouseau (with Alan Arkin in the role made famous by Peter Sellers) and the Western Hannie Caulder. He collaborated with John Barry on the scores to They Might Be Giants and Murphy’s War and scored episodes of TV’s The Persuaders, for which Barry provided the main theme.

Richard Lester was a surprising choice to serve as final director for Superman II (a large part of which had already been filmed by Richard Donner during the production of the first Superman), and when Superman composer John Williams proved unavailable, Lester offered the assignment to Thorne. “I jumped at it. My instructions from the beginning were to use the John Williams material”

“Richard was totally free about what went where musically. If he thought that my choice of music worked then he was fine with it. He also trusted me and loved the music. His approach to Superman was 180 degrees from Mr. Donner’s, but I thought the scores should be fairly consistent, and so when the scores called for something new I tried to do it in such a way that it felt like an outgrowth from the original material. An example of that idea would be the use of the Lex Luthor music in the snowmobile scene.

“Actually to me this assignment was exactly the same as Help!, where I was instructed to use the Beatles melodies wherever possible. This time it was John Williams. After we spotted the picture I read through the original score and just made notes for what parts of the film I thought a particular cue might work for. I was aware that the film was a combination of Donner and Lester, and all things considered I think it played fairly seamlessly, but I knew that the music could help it even more.  When it came to choosing cues I really did it just instinctively. Naturally tempos had to be adjusted and so forth, but I just approached it as a job that needed to be done. In retrospect I think that adaptation as an art form is my particular forte. There was Help!, the Superman films and Royal Flash, all adaptations.”

The focus on this immensely popular sequel was on Superman’s conflict with the Kryptonian villains established in the opening of the first film, and Thorne went to Williams original score for material. “I kept coming back to anything to do with Krypton, like the music for the crystals and the Fortress of Solitude, but in that trial sequence from the first film there was a little villainous leitmotiv, which I used as a foundation. I bent some notes and added a kind of harmonic distortion, and I thought that it sounded sufficiently ominous and provided some continuity.”

Lester and Thorne returned for the less popular Superman III, and the lighthearted nature of this sequel gave Thorne more room to compose new material, including a charming main title cue for the film’s elaborate, slapstick opening. “There needed to be a certain continuity, but the story was so different that a departure from the Williams approach seemed to be called for. It was my decision to use the Krypton music for the ‘evil’ Superman, along with other portions of Williams’s music. For the ending battle I felt I should go in a different direction rather than use Williams’ action music over again.”

The success of his Superman films led to Thorne receiving more Hollywood assignments, including the Tom Selleck period caper film Lassiter, and years later he looked nostalgically back on the Lassiter experience: “In those far off halcyon days the composer was given time to write, and there were no ‘temp tracks’ to interfere with his own conception of the musical approach. That was wonderful!”

Thorne had his final collaboration with Lester on the little seen 1984 comedy Finders Keepers, which gave Jim Carrey one of his first Hollywood film roles (Lester retired after making The Return of the Musketeers – the tragic, on-set death of actor Roy Kinnear was a devastating emotional blow for the film maker), but found an equally loyal collaborator in director Kevin Connor. Best known for such genre films as The Land That Time Forgot, At the Earth’s Core and Motel Hell, Connor first worked with Thorne on the features Arabian Adventure and The House Where Evil Dwells, but the team worked steadily on TV projects through the next few decades, on such diverse projects as a Disney Channel remake of Great Expectations, biopics on Princess Diana and Elizabeth Taylor, an adaptation of Robert Ludlum’s The Apocalypse Watch, and the Biblical drama Mary, Mother of Jesus, starring Christian Bale as the Son of God.  Thorne received an Emmy nomination for the original song “For A Love Like You” from the 1995 TV movie A Season of Hope, and his final score before retirement was Connor’s 2007 TV movie Marco Polo, with Ian Somerholder as the explorer.

Thorne is survived by his wife, Linda, and twin daughters Emily and Claire.

I would like to thank the writers of the liner notes for A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Lassiter (both by Randall D. Larson), and the Superman Collection (Jeff Eldridge, Lukas Kendall, Mike Matessino), whose excellent and extensive research was the principal source for this obituary.


CDS AVAILABLE THIS WEEK

Broken City - Atticus Ross, Claudia Sarne, Leopold Ross - BFD
The Congress - Max Richter - Milan
Galileo
- Ennio Morricone - Digitmovies
The Host - Antonio Pinto - BFD
Isabella: Duchessa Dei Diavoli
 - Sante Maria Romitelli - Kronos
La Cieca Di Sorrento
 - Carlo Savina - Kronos
Le Temoin
- Piero Piccioni - Music Box
Les Passagers
- Claude Bolling, Eric Demarsan - Music Box
The Music of Hans Zimmer: The Definitive Collection
- Hans Zimmer - Silva
Open Windows
- Jorge Magaz - Quartet
Poveri Milionari
- Armando Trovajoli - Digitmovies
Snowpiercer - Marco Beltrami - Varese Sarabande
2 Guns - Clinton Shorter - BFD
Vulcano Figlio Di Giove
 - Marcello Giombini - Kronos


IN THEATERS TODAY

And So It Goes - Marc Shaiman
Happy Christmas - Music Supervisor: Chris Swanson
Hercules - Fernando Velazquez - Score CD due Aug. 5 on Sony
Le Chef - Nicola Piovani
Lucy - Eric Serra - Score CD due Aug. 5 on Idol (import)
Magic in the Moonlight - no original score
A Most Wanted Man - Herbert Gronemeyer
Very Good Girls - Jenny Lewis


COMING SOON

July 29
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes 
- Michael Giacchino - Sony
Dexter: Season 8 - Daniel Licht - Milan
Guardians of the Galaxy: Deluxe - Tyler Bates - Hollywood
The Liberator - Gustavo Dudamel - Deutsche Grammophon
Step Up: All In - Jeff Cardoni - Milan
The X-Files - Mark Snow - La-La Land
August 5
Candido Erotico
- Nico Fidenco - Beat
Diaz - Teo Teardo - Intermezzo
Hercules - Fernando Velazquez - Sony
Il Grande Silenzio
- Ennio Morricone - Beat
Lucy - Eric Serra - Idol (import)
L'Uomo Di Rame
- Franco De Gemini - Beat
Mood Indigo - Etienne Charry - Milan
August 12
Music for Alfred Hitchcock - various - Naxos
August 19
Into the Storm 
- Brian Tyler - Varese Sarabande
Penny Dreadful - Abel Korzeniowski - Varese Sarabande
August 26
Bates Motel - Chris Bacon - Varese Sarabande
Mary Poppins - Richard M. Sherman, Robert B. Sherman - Disney
September 2
Hannibal: Season 1, Vol. 1 - Brian Reitzell - Lakeshore
Date Unknown
A Dio Piacendo
 - Marco Werba - Intermezzo
All Good Things
- Rob Simonsen - Caldera
Aux Yeux Des Vivants
- Raphael Gesqua - MovieScore Media/ScreamWorks/Kronos
Centennial Summer
- Jerome Kern, Alfred Newman - Kritzerlan
5 Branded Women
- Angelo Francesco Lavagnino - Cometa
Gomorra
- Mokadelic - GDM
The Hills Have Eyes
- Don Peake - Perseverance
I Basilischi/Before the Revolution
- Ennio Morricone - GDM
Il Mercenario
- Ennio Morricone - GDM
Il Mondo Dei Romani
- Piero Umiliani - Beat
Knight Rider Vol. 3 - The Best of Don Peake
- Don Peake - Perseverance
La Revolution Francaise - Georges Delerue - Music Box
Legendary
- Paul Leonard-Morgan - MovieScore Media/ScreamWorks/Krono
New York Chiama Superdrago
 - Benedetto Ghiglia - Digitmovies
Questo Si Che E Amore
- Stelvio Cipriani - Beat
Warriors of Virtue
- Don Davis - Buysoundtrax
Won Ton Ton: The Dog Who Saved Hollywood/Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Mamma's Hung You in the Closet and I'm Feelin' So Sad
- Neal Hefti - Kritzerland
Tuareg - Il Guerriero Del Deserto
- Riz Ortolani - GDM
Zeder
- Riz Ortolani - GDM


THIS WEEK IN FILM MUSIC HISTORY

July 25 - Don Ellis born (1934)
July 25 - Denis King born (1939)
July 25 - Thurston Moore born (1958)
July 25 - Henry Mancini begins recording his score for Days of Wine and Roses (1962)
July 25 - Bruce Broughton records his unused adaptations of Bach for The Accidental Tourist (1988)
July 26 - Tadeusz Baird born (1928)
July 26 - Bronislau Kaper and Scott Bradley begin recording their score for Courage of Lassie (1945)
July 26 - David Raksin begins recording his score for Too Late Blues (1961)
July 26 - Buddy Baker died (2002)
July 27 - Marc Wilkinson born (1929)
July 27 - Bernard Herrmann records the Piano Concerto for the Hangover Square score (1944)
July 27 - Michael Linn born (1952)
July 27 - Stefan Nilsson born (1955)
July 27 - Alex North begins recording his score to The Outrage (1964)
July 27 - Max Steiner begins recording his score for Those Calloways (1964)
July 27 - Harry Lubin died (1977)
July 27 - Georges Delerue records his score for Exposed (1982)
July 27 - Jerome Moross died (1983)
July 27 - Miklos Rozsa died (1995)
July 28 - Carmen Dragon born (1914)
July 28 - Ray Ellis born (1923)
July 28 - Brian May born (1934)
July 28 - Recording sessions begin for Frederick Hollander’s score for Disputed Passage (1939)
July 28 - Richard Hartley born (1944)
July 28 - Leonard Rosenman begins recording his adaptation score for Bound for Glory (1976)
July 28 - Basil Poledouris records his score for The House of God (1980)
July 28 - Laurence Rosenthal records his score for Proud Men (1987)
July 29 - Mikis Theodorakis born (1925)
July 29 - Gian Piero Reverberi born (1939)
July 29 - Michael Holm born (1943)
July 29 - Bronislau Kaper begins recording his score for Quentin Durward (1955)
July 29 - Lalo Schifrin begins recording his score for The Venetian Affair (1967)
July 29 - Lee Holdridge records his score for The Explorers: a Century of Discovery (1988)
July 29 - Doug Timm died (1989)
July 30 - Guenther Kauer born (1921)
July 30 - Antoine Duhamel born (1925)
July 30 - David Sanborn born (1945)
July 30 - Alexina Louie born (1949)
July 30 - Recording sessions begin for Frederick Hollander’s score for Remember the Night (1949)
July 30 - Peter Knight died (1985)
July 30 - Richard Band begins recording his score for Zone Troopers (1985)
July 31 - Barry De Vorzon born (1934)
July 31 - Michael Wolff born (1952)
July 31 - Lionel Newman begins recording his score for The Last Wagon (1956)
July 31 - John 5 born as John Lowery (1971)
July 31 - Richard Band records his score for The Alchemist (1981)
July 31 - Lennie Niehaus records his score for the Amazing Stories episode "Vanessa in the Garden" (1985)


DID THEY MENTION THE MUSIC?

AFFLUENZA - MJ Mynarski

"Asch's facility for directing his young cast isn't nothing, but the material is so stupefyingly generic that the film can't help but reflect its emptiness from all contours. When the kids are having fun, MJ Myrnarski's score opts for the kind of cutesy whistle jingles you'd hear in a Purina commercial -- and when the kids are sad, it's the kind of milky piano tones you'd expect from a Prozac commercial."

Steve Macfarlane, Slant Magazine

"Photography and production design are all perfectly professional, and composer MJ Mynarski employs a recurring theme that riffs on the main melody of Elvis Costello’s 'Watching the Detectives,' which appeared on the same album that gave Bret Easton Ellis’  'Less Than Zero' its title. That musical quotation may well be the smartest bit of commentary in the film."

Andrew Barker, Variety

AMONG RAVENS - Fall on Your Sword

"Nicely shot, atrociously written, shoutingly acted and intrusively scored (to classical selections and the heavy synth accompaniment of Fall on Your Sword), this roundelay of misery drowns itself in cliche after cliche -- up to and including the moment when (spoiler alert) a character decides to remove himself permanently from the picture; few will blame him."

Justin Chang, Variety

PLANES: FIRE AND RESCUE - Mark Mancina

"'Fire & Rescue' is squarely aimed at younger audiences (clocking in at a kid-friendly 84 minutes) and bolstered by Mark Mancina’s chirpy score, along with tunes from country star Brad Paisley, Spencer Lee and even some AC/DC and Captain & Tennille."

Linda Barnard, Toronto Star

"The story, such as it is, is mercifully told without an ounce of fat. The speed at which the plot moves is best conveyed through Mark Mancina’s soundtrack, which spans 33 tracks in less than 80 minutes, breathlessly moving from 'Dusty Crash Lands' to 'Nobody Has Your Gear Box,' from 'Dusty Saves the Day' immediately into 'Saving Dusty.'"

David Ehrlich, The Dissolve

"With the exception of the conspicuous use of AC/DC’s heavy metal anthem 'Thunderstruck' (in a kiddie movie?), the score may make you feel as though you have been trapped in an elevator for an a hour and a half."

James Verniere, Boston Herald

"'Planes: Fire & Rescue,' like 'Planes,' was made by DisneyToon Studios. It’s Disney animation’s third string, behind Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios, makers of 'Frozen.' Most DisneyToons releases are direct-to-video. That lowly status shows here in the pokey storytelling, dreadful score, and generally tired comedy."

Mark Feeney, Boston Globe

"To get, or amp, adults in this firefighting scene, the filmmakers set it to AC/DC's 'Thunderstruck.' As rocking and rolling as 'Thunderstruck' may be, lyrically speaking, 'Thunderstruck' has just about much correlation to the action taking place in the movie as Kajagoogoo's 'Too Shy,' Gang of Four's 'Better him than Me' or Beyonce Knowles' 'Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It).' If someone asked me, Kansas' 'Fighting Fire with Fire,' Ultravox's 'One Small Day' or Muse's 'Knights of Cydonia' would have been more germane, but nobody asked. Actually, Leftfield's 'Open Up' comes to mind when considering such pedestrian pandering. Anyway, it is an emotionally charged, intellectually lethargic musical choice. Unfortunately, it is the best song you will hear in 'Planes: Fire & RescuePlus, Mark Mancina's score is worse than the individual songs."

John Esther, UR Chicago Magazine

"If the stunning Yellowstone/Yosemite-style backdrops and Mark Mancina’s supportive score (supplemented by songs from country star Brad Paisley and Spencer Lee) give 'Planes: Fire & Rescue' a classic American feel that harks back to the first 'Cars' movie, then the elemental simplicity of the conflict here (plane vs. nature) lends it a surprising measure of dramatic accessibility."

Justin Chang, Variety

THE PURGE: ANARCHY - Nathan Whitehead

"For most of the film, returning writer-director James DeMonaco favors gore and shock inserts of music over the edgy, nasty parody for which the material seems ready made."

Joe McGovern, Entertainment Weekly

"While the film would have gained resonance if these provocative ideas had been developed more fully, it works well enough on its own terms, with Grillo’s commanding turn anchoring the proceedings. Director DeMonaco fills the screen with arresting images -- a flame-engulfed bus seen barreling down the street in the background is particularly haunting -- and keeps the pacing brisk enough to prevent dwelling on the plot contrivances. Effectively adding to the tense atmosphere is Nathan Whitehead’s excellent electronic music score."

Frank Scheck, Hollywood Reporter

VENUS IN FUR - Alexandre Desplat

"In part, Amalric’s weakness is Polanski’s doing. The actor is sometimes framed like Benjamin in 'The Graduate,' a puny figure dwarfed by female flesh. But the direction, on its own terms, is witty, elegant, and resourceful. Every composition, every camera movement evokes Thomas’s dwindling power and Vanda’s control of the space. The director has always relished the Grand Guignol, and he brings a vampire-lover’s glee to the tracking shots that open and close the movie -- taking us into and out of the theater as if it’s a crypt -- while composer Alexandre Desplat supplies a delicious danse macabre. If you didn’t see the play onstage and don’t know what you’re missing, this 'Venus in Fur' has its demonic, masochistic charms."

David Edelstein, New York

"Polanski had stayed largely faithful to the play, but has translated it to French, substituted his wife (Seigner) for Vanda, cast Amalric as a younger doppelganger for himself and added a terrific, carnival-esque score by Alexander Desplat. While 'Venus in Fur,' shot in widescreen, breathes better than 'Carnage,' one of the film's most exciting moments is its very first. While Desplat's score kicks off, the camera drifts down a rainy Paris boulevard before turning into the theater, the doors opening before it. It's the arrival of Vanda, like a conjured apparition."

Jake Coyle, Associated Press

"Pawel Edelman's cinematography reinforces this sense of returning to childhood and to the safety of darkness, particularly in the later scenes visually centred on a glowing stage fireplace. Something similar is conveyed by Alexandre Desplat's score, which uses repetitions of the main waltz theme -- sometimes suggesting the tinkling of a music box -- to mark transitions from one level of reality to another."

Jake Wilson, Sydney Morning Herald

"The film's elements -- its wicked and witty score, the theatre's incongruous 'Stagecoach the Musical' set -- conspire to create something splendidly batty. Polanski amps up the fun factor, helping Vanda grow larger than life and there's a touch of his 'The Fearless Vampire Killers' to the camp, gothic take on the material. By expertly embellishing the theatrical, Polanski has made 'Venus in Fur' thrillingly cinematic."

Emma Simmonds, The List

"The intimacy of a small, darkened theater allowed the director to highlight the nuances of the slightest sound, a touch of light, the softness of a scarf, the harshness of a collar, the long trail of a zipper (with Alexandre Desplat's moody score rising and falling for emphasis)."

Clint O’Connor, Cleveland Plain Dealer

"Other than a long tracking shot that opens the film, Polanski keeps the action in a single space and the camera on his actors. Cinematographer Pawel Edelman's movements are fluid and assured, and the score by Alexandre Desplat is subtle. 'Venus in Fur' is about the mysterious games men and women play, and Seigner and Amalric are up to it."

Jeff Baker, The Oregonian

"Polanski's version -- translated into French, and starring his wife, Emmanuelle Seigner, and Mathieu Amalric, who bears a striking resemblance to Polanski -- opens with a melodramatic sweep of music (Alexandre Desplat can do no wrong), as a camera rolls up to the swinging front doors of a theater and takes us inside."

Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer

"The New York production made a star of the young actress Nina Arianda, who took Vanda from zero to 60, goofball to goddess, in 90 electrifying minutes. If you were lucky enough to have seen 'Venus in Fur' on Broadway, Arianda is hard to erase from your mind (put it this way: I don’t even remember who played Thomas), but Polanski eases the transition by translating the play into French and using Pawel Edelman’s swirling camerawork and Alexandre Desplat’s arch score to usher us into the land of cinema."

Ty Burr, Boston Globe

"One thing that makes the dialogue-heavy movie so compelling (and also something that Polanski does so well) is an undercurrent of dread. What are Vanda’s motives? She can’t be trusted, but it’s hard to know how sinister her intentions might be. The mysteriousness is echoed in the score, which comes and goes, and the lightning that flashes intermittently through the theater’s skylight."

Stephanie Merry, Washington Post

"'Venus in Fur' opens amid thunder and lightning, the camera tracking along a desolate Paris boulevard, propelled by the sound of a dissonant cabaret-like polka (Alexandre Desplat’s spare score provides a dark undercurrent throughout)."

Amy Taubin, Film Comment

"A dreary, dreadful rain besieges Paris in the opening shot of 'Venus in Fur,' the kind of weather that suggests angry gods and suicidal depression, shoes full of water and umbrellas like broken crows. The mood is gloomy, the music more so. It is, in a word, hilarious."

John Anderson, Wall Street Journal

"With Pawel Edelman as director of photography, art direction by Bruno Via, set decoration by Philippe Cord'homme and music by Alexandre Desplat, the staging is slight but effective."

Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times

"With the whole film taking place between just two players, inside a theater (aside from a really gorgeous opening shot that, set to Alexandre Desplat’s immense music promised a grandeur never otherwise delivered,) as time wears on that stagebound interiority really starts to drain the oxygen from the air."

Jessica Kiang, The Playlist

"This is Polanski’s second theatre adaptation in a row after 'Carnage' (2011), and at the age of 80 he shows no signs of slowing down. It’s easily his most enjoyable film for some time. Again working with cinematographer Pawel Edelman (like the film’s composer Alexandre Desplat, a friend and regular collaborator), he uses one camera sparingly, with a dark stage and pools of light, embracing and playing with the idea of theatre lighting. Sound is used minimally and beautifully (adding a clink to invisible cups that Thomas and Vanda are pretending to use on stage) and the music itself often undercuts and recontextualises the apparently sinister elements on show; Desplat’s East European/Greek medley during the final dance, in which Seigner is naked but swathed in a long fur stole (where did that come from?), creates a kind of mad carnival and fairground feel in something that would otherwise be a spectacle of horror -- she is a demonic Greek goddess come to exact her revenge on a footling male who dares to approach and comment on the power of womankind."

Roger Clarke, Sight & Sound

"As on 'Carnage,' composer Alexandre Desplat has provided a sparingly used but effective original score, including a haunting, carnivalesque main theme."

Scott Foundas, Variety

"As in Polanski’s last adaptation of a play, 'Carnage,' the film gets underway with only the briefest pretense of expanding beyond its confined setting. In a glowering sequence largely drained of color, Pawel Edelman’s camera cruises the tree-lined center lane of a Paris boulevard at high speed on a stormy night, as composer Alexandre Desplat’s thunderous opening theme signals ominous things to come. Desplat’s suggestive, often humorous score is a tremendous asset, taking a Greek turn to match the escalating mythological dimensions of the final scene, in which Aphrodite makes her formidable presence felt."

David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter


THE NEXT TEN DAYS IN L.A.

Screenings of older films, at the following L.A. movie theaters: AMPASAmerican Cinematheque: AeroAmerican Cinematheque: EgyptianArclightLACMANew BeverlyNuartSilent Movie Theater and UCLA.

July 25
ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN (David Shire), KLUTE (Michael Small) [Cinematheque: Aero]
BOMBSHELL, RED DUST [New Beverly]
CHRIST IN CONCRETE (Benjamin Frankel) [UCLA]
INSIDE MAN (Terence Blanchard), JOE'S BED-STUY BARBERSHOP: WE CUT HEADS (Bill Lee) [LACMA/AMPAS]
ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST (Ennio Morricone) [Cinematheque: Egyptian]
THE WILD LIFE (Edward Van Halen, Donn Landee) [Nuart]

July 26
BOMBSHELL, RED DUST [New Beverly]
CAFE FLESH (Mitchell Froom) [Silent Movie Theater]
THE GODFATHER (Nino Rota) [Cinematheque: Aero]
THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY (Ennio Morricone) [Cinematheque: Egyptian]
MY OWN PRIVATE IDAHO (Bill Stafford) [Silent Movie Theater]
THE RAID 2 (Joseph Trapanese, Aria Prayogi, Fajar Yuskemal) [New Beverly]
RIFIFI (Georges Auric), NIGHT AND THE CITY (Franz Waxman) [UCLA]
VAN GOGH [LACMA/AMPAS]

July 27
ENCHANTED ISLAND (Raul Lavista) [Cinematheque: Egyptian]
THE GODFATHER PART II (Nino Rota, Carmine Coppola) [Cinematheque: Aero]
THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL (Alexandre Desplat), THE DARJEELING LIMITED [New Beverly]
IRACEMA (Jorge Bodanzky, Achim Tappen) [UCLA]
MO' BETTER BLUES (BIll Lee) [AMPAS]
NIGHTDREAMS (Mitchell Froom) [Silent Movie Theater]

July 28
BULL DURHAM (Michael Convertino) [Silent Movie Theater]
DIE HARD (Michael Kamen) [Arclight Hollywood]
THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL (Alexandre Desplat), THE DARJEELING LIMITED [New Beverly]
THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE (Wayne Bell, Tobe Hooper) [Silent Movie Theater]

July 29
E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL (John Williams) [Arclight Hollywood]
LABYRINTH (Trevor Jones) [LACMA]
THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE (Wayne Bell, Tobe Hooper) [Silent Movie Theater]

July 30
BROADWAY DANNY ROSE, ZELIG (Dick Hyman) [Cinematheque: Aero]
BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID (Burt Bacharach) [Arclight Sherman Oaks]
THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE (Wayne Bell, Tobe Hooper) [Silent Movie Theater]
UNDER THE SKIN (Mica Levi), ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE (Josef van Wissem, SQURL) [New Beverly]

July 31
THE AFRICAN QUEEN (Allan Gray) [Arclight Hollywood]
UNDER THE SKIN (Mica Levi), ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE (Josef van Wissem, SQURL) [New Beverly]

August 1
BRAZIL (Michael Kamen), THE ADVENTURES OF BARON MUNCHAUSEN (Michael Kamen) [Cinematheque: Aero]
CASINO [Cinematheque: Egyptian]
HELL DRIVERS (Hubert Clifford), IMPULSE [UCLA]
HOWL'S MOVING CASTLE (Joe Hisaishi) [Nuart]
UNDER THE SKIN (Mica Levi), ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE (Josef van Wissem, SQURL) [New Beverly]

August 2
FLASH GORDON (Queen, Howard Blake) [Silent Movie Theater]
HELL'S ANGELS [Silent Movie Theater]
MONTY PYTHON'S LIFE OF BRIAN (Geoffrey Burgon), MONTY PYTHON'S THE MEANING OF LIFE (John DuPrez) [Cinematheque: Aero]
PURPLE RAIN (Prince, Michel Colombier) [New Beverly]
UNDER THE SKIN (Mica Levi), ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE (Josef van Wissem, SQURL) [New Beverly]

August 3
JUSTICE [UCLA]

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Wow! Many thanks for all those tidbits of reviews from Roman Polanski's La Venus A La Fourrure. I got to see it when it played at the Nuart a couple of weeks ago, and I have to admit I'm still weirded out by the last five minutes of the film- just didn't see it coming. Pretty good movie, too bad it only played here for six days.

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