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The 1968 Composer Countdown, Part Two
Posted By Scott Bettencourt 9/1/2017 - 9:00 PM
Summing up: this series was inspired by a document I found titled “Composers and Prices as of October 1, 1968,” which was in the papers of an A-list director of that era who was considering a composer for an upcoming prestige project (which was ultimately filmed and released without an original score). The composers were listed by their asking price -- I have ranked them from 1 to 17, based on their fees, and Part One featured the composers ranked 11 to 17, with the list reprinted at the bottom of this column. The specifics of each composers' age, credits and awards in these columns as are of October 1, 1968, while the box-office figures are generally approximate and incomplete, since the studios in that era did not provide up-to-date movie grosses the way they do today.

AGE: 47
BIRTHPLACE:  Oradell, New Jersey
1. What a Way to Go!-- 6.1 (U.S. rentals in millions)
2. Come Blow Your Horn--6.0
     El Dorado--6.0
4. Ocean’s Eleven--5.5
5. A Hole in the Head--5.2
6. Pal Joey--4.7
7. Lolita--4.5 
8. Robin and the 7 Hoods--4.2
9. Li’l Abner--3.2
10. Can-Can--3.0
      How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying--3.0
For the rest of his scoring career, Riddle worked mostly in television, including the theme for Emergency!, with the occasional feature like Harper Valley P.T.A. and Rough Cut (for which he adapted the music of Duke Ellington). He received his fourth Oscar nomination for his adaptation of Paint Your Wagon, and he won in 1974 for The Great Gatsby’s adaptation score. His last great success was a trio of albums he arranged of Linda Rondstadt singing classic American songs -- these albums earned him his second and third Grammys, the final one awarded posthumously after his death in 1985 at the age of 64.(Riddle’s ranking on this list was based on his asking price for original scores – his asking price for musicals was 150% more.) 
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Film Score Friday 9/1/17
Posted By Scott Bettencourt 8/31/2017 - 9:00 PM
The latest re-recording from Tadlow is a two-disc edition of a film music masterpiece, Miklos Rozsa's Oscar-winning score for BEN-HUR. The set features Nic Raine conducting the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus in their performance of Rozsa's complete, 157-minute score, including cues not featured in the final film.

The latest release from Kritzerland is FULLER AT FOX, a two-disc set featuring remastered versions of scores composed for films directed by Samuel Fuller for 20th Century Fox -- Alfred Newman's score for HELL AND HIGH WATER, and Leigh Harline's scores for PICKUP ON SOUTH STREET and HOUSE OF BAMBOO.

La-La Land has announced that one of their upcoming CDs will be a two-disc expanded edition of Edward Shearmur's rousing symphonic score for the period fantasy adventure SKY CAPTAIN AND THE WORLD OF TOMORROW. The set is expected to go on sale from the label on September 26, and on September 30, Daniel Schweiger will moderate a discussion about the film and its score with Shearmur and writer-director Kerry Conran at Creature Features in Burbank.

The label has since announced the rest of their planned releases for September. On September 12th, they will release a two-disc editon of one of John Williams' masterpieces, his Oscar-winning score for E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL (the label is also working on an expanded/remastered edition of another Williams masterpiece, Close Encounters of the Third Kind), and a compilation titled THUNDER ROAD: THE FILM MUSIC OF JACK MARSHALL, featuring music by the composer probably best known for The Munsters. (Marshall's children include composer Phil Marshall [Kicking and Screaming, Run] and Frank Marshall, the veteran producer [Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Sixth Sense, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button] and director [Arachnophobia, Alive, Congo, Eight Below]).

On September 26th, along with Sky Captain, they will release the score for the 2017 horror film AWAKEN THE SHADOWMAN, by Douglas Pipes (Monster House, Trick 'r' Treat, Krampus).

Variety has reported that, after 27 years of episode scoring that earned him two Emmys and 23 nominations, Simpsons composer Alf Clausen has been informed that the show's producers are looking for "a different kind of music" and will no longer require his services. Given that Hans Zimmer has referred to Simpsons executive producer James L. Brooks as his "best friend" (and Zimmer himself scored The Simpsons Movie), it would not be surprising if Simpsons' scoring duties fell to a series of rising composers from the Remote Control stable. 

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August Issue of FSM Online Is Live!
Posted By Tim Curran 8/26/2017 - 12:00 PM
The August edition of FSM ONLINE is now live. In this month’s cover story, BRUCE BROUGHTON takes us inside his music for Seth MacFarlane’s new sci-fi comedy for Fox, THE ORVILLE. Also this issue, we take a detailed look at the 15 most influential film scores composed since 2000, including THE BOURNE IDENTITY, THE DARK KNIGHT and INCEPTION; an interview with STEVEN PRICE about his score to next month’s AMERICAN ASSASSIN; AARON MARTIN and DAG ROSENQVIST schmooze about the music of indie darling MENASHE; THEODORE SHAPIRO goes up, up and away with CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS: THE FIRST EPIC MOVIE; a round-up of this year’s best of Broadway with WONG’S TURN; a JOHN BARRY Score Restore dives into THE DEEP; more embedded audio clips, our longest ever CONCERTS column, and more.

Subscribers, you’ll get notification by email shortly. Or, just go here to log in. For those who want to join FSM ONLINE, go here, click on the “Subscribe” link and follow the instructions. And email us if you have any questions.


Your Friends at FSM ONLINE

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The 1968 Composer Countdown, Part One
Posted By Scott Bettencourt 8/25/2017 - 9:00 PM
While doing film history research for my day job, I came upon a fascinating document titled “Composers and Prices as of October 1, 1968.” An A-list director (who worked with many top composers throughout his career, and whose films inspired at least three unused scores) was preparing his next project, an adaptation of a Tony and Pulitzer-award winning play, and a list of possible composers (and their expected fees) was prepared for his consideration.
Having just completed my “last” edition of the top 40 countdown, I thought the discovery of this document might provide a good opportunity to use it as the basis of a composer countdown from the perspective of 1968. 
On the original document, the composers were listed under 17 different pay categories (asking prices) – I will not specify the asking prices here, especially as some of these composers are still alive and even working. However, the top two on the list are long deceased, so I will list their rates in the third and final part of this series, to give some financial perspective to the list.
The facts I include about each composer -- age, filmmaker relationships, awards and nominations, top grossing films -- are as of October 1, 1968. However, during that period, accurate box-office information for films was not as easily available as it is now, and the trade papers reported the films’ "rentals" -- the amount the studio received from the theaters -- not the full grosses. Rentals tended to be a little more than half of the grosses, though the percentage varied from film to film, with the studios contracting to get a bigger cut from films that were expected to make more money. (A relatively more recent example of this occured in 1987, when Lethal Weapon had higher grosses than Predator but smaller rentals, since Schwarzenegger was a bigger star than Gibson at the time so Fox contracted for a larger percentage of Predator than Warners did for Lethal.)
However, unlike today, where the trade papers and websites like Box Office Mojo have reliable and regularly updated box-office totals, in decades past that kind of information was much harder to come by, with the rentals-versus-grosses disparity only adding to the confusion. So my lists of the top grossing films for each composer are not nearly as complete and accurate as I would like -- let the reader beware.
Ironically enough, that A-list director -- whose films often featured brief or restrained scores -- didn’t end up using an original score for the film in question. 

AGE: 45
BIRTHPLACE: New York, New York 
At that time, De Jesus had not yet scored a feature film, and his scoring credits as of 1968 consisted of episodes of That Girl.  He went on to score a handful of features in the 1970s including memorable black-themed action films like Slaughter, Detroit 9000, Black Belt Jones, Friday Foster and Adios Amigos, as well as episodes of Macmillan and Wife, Banacek, Kolchak: The Night Stalker, The Six Million Dollar Man, The Bionic Woman and CHiPs. He died in 1984 at the age of 61. 
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Film Score Friday 8/25/17
Posted By Scott Bettencourt 8/24/2017 - 9:00 PM
Intrada has released two new CDs this week -- a remastered version of one of Pino Donaggio's finest and most popular scores, for Brian DePalma's 1984 erotic thriller BODY DOUBLE, with the new edition adding Jonathan Elias's original music for the film's trailer; and a second volume of Alan Silvestri's Emmy-winning music for COSMOS: A SPACETIME ODYSSEY.

The latest limited edition CD from Varese Sarabande's Varese 500 series, already sold out from the label's website, is a rerelease of Bernard Herrmann's score for the lavish 1959 film version of Jules Verne's JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH

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Aisle Seat 8-29: Twilight Time, 4K, Phenomena
Posted By Andy Dursin 8/22/2017 - 9:00 PM
Two very different films with “Summer” in their respective titles are part of Twilight Time’s latest batch of limited edition Blu-Rays, timed to coincide with these dwindling (say it isn’t so!) days of Summer 2017.

Paul Newman teamed up with director Martin Ritt and brilliant writers Irving Ravetch and Harriet Frank Jr. for the duo’s first (of three) William Faulkner adaptations, THE LONG, HOT SUMMER (117 mins., 1958). 

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Aisle Seat 8-22: August Sizzler Edition
Posted By Andy Dursin 8/21/2017 - 9:00 PM
A strange sequel that’s half “Alien” rehash and half “Prometheus” follow-up – albeit with none of the latter’s “bigger questions” actually being addressed – Ridley Scott’s ALIEN: COVENANT (**, 123 mins., 2017, R; Fox) serves up a serviceable but ultimately unsatisfying ride over narrative terrain we’ve covered many times over by now.
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The "Last" Top Forty Composer Countdown, Part Ten: Where Are The Rest Of The Composers Now?
Posted By Scott Bettencourt 8/18/2017 - 9:00 PM

1. Shopgirl--10 
2. Hilary & Jackie--4 
3. The Mangler--1 
4. Truly Madly Deeply--1
Still best known for the hit Inspector Morse TV series, he’s stayed busy with its sequel series Inspector Lewis and prequel Endeavour
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Film Score Friday 8/18/17
Posted By Scott Bettencourt 8/17/2017 - 9:00 PM
La La Land has announced three new CDs expected to begin shipping next week: a greatly expanded, two-disc edition of James Newton Howard's epic score for the Road-Warrior-on-the-water futuristic adventure WATERWORLD, which also features Mark Isham's "music box" theme, the one survivor of Isham's tenure as the film's first composer; an expanded version of Alan Silvestri's score for the 1984 romantic adventure hit ROMANCING THE STONE, which began the composer's 33-years-and-counting collaboration with director Robert Zemeckis; and a two-disc set featuring the remastered LP tracks from two gorgeous later scores by the great Franz Waxman -- PEYTON PLACE and HEMINGWAY'S ADVENTURES OF A YOUNG MAN.

Intrada plans to release two new CDs next week. For those who want to know exactly what they are, go to this comment thread on our site. 

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Aisle Seat 8-15: THE GOOD, THE BAD and MR.MOM
Posted By Andy Dursin 8/14/2017 - 9:00 PM
One of three John Hughes-written vehicles from the summer of ’83, MR. MOM (***, 91 mins., 1983, PG) was a box-office hit that kicked off a run of domestic comedies making Hughes one of Hollywood’s major players throughout the rest of the decade. Now on Blu-Ray – and in widescreen for the first time ever on home video – Shout Factory’s upcoming Collector’s Edition pays tribute to this admittedly-antiquated audience favorite that was released at a time when such comedies could actually become commercial hits in the marketplace (not so much today, obviously).
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Film Score Monthly Online
James Newton Howard Buyer's Guide: Part 1
Sirens Songs
The Bergman Centenary: The Music of the Works of Ingmar Bergman, Part 1
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Mark and Me
Wong's Turn: The Original Original Soundtrack of Star Wars
Ear of the Month Contest: James Newton Howard, Vol. 1
Peter Boyer's Dream of America
Concert Review: Star Trek Beyond at Royal Albert Hall
Concert Review: Close Encounters of the Third Kind in Concert
Today in Film Score History:
July 17
Bruce Broughton begins recording his score to Eloise at Christmastime (2003)
Jerry Goldsmith begins recording his score to Babe (1975)
Kenyon Hopkins begins recording his score for The Hustler (1961)
Peter Schickele born (1935)
Piero Umiliani born (1926)
Stanley Wilson died (1970)
Wojciech Kilar born (1932)
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