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FILM SCORE FRIDAY 12/19/03

By Scott Bettencourt

Thursday morning, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association announced this year's nominations for the Golden Globes, the awards to be presented on January 25th. Here are the nominees in the music categories:

ORIGINAL SCORE

Alexandre Desplat, "Girl with a Pearl Earring"
Danny Elfman, "Big Fish"
Howard Shore, "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King"
Gabriel Yared, "Cold Mountain"
Hans Zimmer, "The Last Samurai"

ORIGINAL SONG

"The Heart of Every Girl", "Mona Lisa Smile" - Music by Elton John, Lyrics by Bernie Taupin
"Into the West", "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" - Music & Lyrics by Howard Shore, Fran Walsh, Annie Lennox
"Man of the Hour", "Big Fish" - Music & Lyrics by Eddie Vedder
"Time Enough for Tears", "In America" - Music & Lyrics by Bono, Gavin Friday and Maurice Seezer
"You Will Be My Ain True Love", "Cold Mountain" - Music & Lyrics by Sting


Vangelis has reportedly been signed to score Oliver Stone's upcoming Alexander the Great biopic (the director's first film since Any Given Sunday in 1999), which features Colin Farrell, Anthony Hopkins, Val Kilmer, Jared Leto, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Rosario Dawson, and a bunch of other really homely actors.


CDS AVAILABLE THIS WEEK

Brannigan - Dominic Frontiere - La-La Land
Cold Mountain - Gabriel Yared, various - Sony Classical
Peter Pan - James Newton Howard - Varese Sarabande
Scary Movie 3 - James L. Venable, various - Varese Sarabande
Secret Weapons Over Normandy - Michael Giacchino - La-La Land


IN THEATERS TODAY

Calendar Girls - Patrick Doyle - Score CD on Hollywood
The Fog of War - Philip Glass - Score CD on Orange Mountain
The Hebrew Hammer - Michael Cohen
House of Sand and Fog - James Horner - Score CD on Varese Sarabande
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King - Howard Shore - Score CD on Reprise
Mona Lisa Smile - Rachel Portman - Song CD on Epic with one score cue


COMING SOON

December 23
Big Fish - Danny Elfman - Sony Classical
January 13
Paycheck - John Powell - Varese Sarabande
The Statement - Normand Corbeil - Varese Sarabande
January 27
RoboCop - Basil Poledouris - Varese Sarabande
Date Unknown
Amerika - Basil Poledouris - Prometheus
Battle Cry - Max Steiner - Screen Archives/BYU
The Black Swan - Alfred Newman - Screen Archives
The Butterfly Effect - Michael Suby - La-La Land
Dirty Harry - Lalo Schifrin - Aleph
The Fantasy Film Worlds of George Pal - various - La-La Land
The Ghost and Mr. Chicken - Vic Mizzy - Percepto
Hidalgo - James Newton Howard - Hollywood
The Keys of the Kingdom - Alfred Newman - Screen Archives
Mighty Joe Young, etc. - Roy Webb, et al - Monstrous Movie Music
The Reluctant Astronaut - Vic Mizzy - Percepto
This Island Earth, etc. - Herman Stein, et al - Monstrous Movie Music


THIS WEEK IN FILM MUSIC HISTORY

December 19 - Galt MacDermot born (1928)
December 19 - Fred Karlin begins recording his score to The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman (1973)
December 19 - Michel Magne died (1984)
December 19 - Roger Webb died (2002)
December 22 - Miklos Rozsa begins recording score to Tribute to a Bad Man (1955)
December 22 - Joe Strummer died (2002)
December 23 - Jeff Alexander died (1989)
December 24 - Franz Waxman born (1906)
December 24 - Carlo Rustichelli born (1916)
December 24 - Bernard Herrmann died (1975)
December 25 - Nathaniel Shilkret born (1895)
December 25 - Pete Rugolo born (1915)
December 25 - Charles Chaplin died (1977)


DID THEY MENTION THE MUSIC?

BIG FISH - Danny Elfman

"And Danny Elfman's music -- long on orchestration, short on melody -- never quits; Elfman bathes every scene in golden corn oil."

David Edelstein, Slate.com

"Per the norm with Burton's films, craft aspects are superlative, beginning with Dennis Gassner's exceptionally varied production design and Colleen Atwood's equally diverse costumes, and including Philippe Rousselot's sensitively modulated lensing, Danny Elfman's supple score and the many imaginative special effects, among them a literal rendering of the imposing title creature."

Todd McCarthy, Variety

"Danny Elfman's score is uncharacteristically directed at the tear ducts."

J. Hoberman, Village Voice

GIRL WITH A PEARL EARRING - Alexandre Desplat

"The gorgeous score, by Alexandre Desplat, brushes in a haunted gloom that gives the picture life where none seems to exist."

Elvis Mitchell, New York Times

"Not exactly Master and Commander stuff, this Braudelian action is hyped by the strenuously dancing snowflakes of Alexandre Desplat's over-sparkly score."

J. Hoberman, Village Voice

"In a film of outstanding craft contributions, noteworthy are Dien van Straalen's costumes and, particularly, Alexandre Desplat's supple, beautifully nuanced score."

Todd McCarthy, Variety

THE STATEMENT - Normand Corbeil

"Veteran filmmaker Norman Jewison has crafted a taut, old-fashioned thriller by assembling the requisite elements: A cat-and-mouse plot, resolute characters on both sides of the law, political intrigue, and a suspenseful score."

Annlee Ellingson, Los Angeles Citybeat


ON CLASSIC GROUND

FROM: "Kirk Henderson"

SUBJECT: On Dangerous Ground
 
This is one great score. Hands down. Lukas is correct in saying in his liner notes that if you return this CD because of poor sound quality, you're crazy. Early recordings by jazz greats Bessie Smith, Art Tatum, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong and many others are preserved by recordings that are marred by terrible surface noise or just plain bad recording, yet we praise the fact that these recordings exist. It's all we have. The release of the acetate tracks to On Dangerous Ground -- a score that has to count as one of Bernard Herrmann's finest works, (in my opinion, up there with Prokofiev's much praised film work) -- should make us lovers of fine film scores indeed as grateful as jazz lovers would be listening to a scratchy 78 recording of Satchmo's St. Louis Blues now preserved on CD.

Indeed, some of the tracks of On Dangerous Ground have terrible surface noise, but they don't take away from the fact that the music is undeniably exceptional. We are luckier than the lovers of jazz, in one regard: The old jazz greats are gone and those old recordings will unlikely ever sound any better than they do now, but many of the great film scores of yesteryear have been rerecorded with magnificent results. We know how impressive On Dangerous Ground can sound in full stereo because Herrmann himself rerecorded a scherzo from it during the 1970s.

If you bought this CD and are considering returning it because of the sound quality, perhaps it's not great film music you like, but modern recording technology. Thanks to FSM for choosing to release this great work, warts and all.


ON CARY WONG'S OSCAR MEMO

FROM: "Dennis J. Logsdon"

SUBJECT: Cary's remarks for the Oscars.
 
Even though I would have put Sinbad higher on the list, when Cary speaks it is like listening to someone proofread my thoughts.

DEFENDING GOLDSMITH

FROM: "Louis Banlaki"

In regards to what Mr. Donohue wrote in regards of what happened to Jerry Goldsmith -- I don't think anything has happened. It's the quality of films today that is the main problem and to be truthful, Hollywood isn't the way it once was when Mr. Goldsmith showed us his genius with his classic scores from the 60s and 70s.

All too many times I read and hear about interference from producers or other powers that be that don't really give a damn about the music score unless it makes them money. I don't think Goldsmith can write as he did in the past because probably no one wants him to, or maybe he's just tired of writing really innovative music that no one pays attention to except lovers of film music like us. I agree that some of Goldsmith's music may not measure up to his past but, I mean, look at the crap that is released in theaters today. And the composer gets short shrift when he's hired on last to work on a film. Gone are the glory days when Herrmann was given, what, 12 weeks to score CITIZEN KANE? You don't see that kind of thing today, at least I've never heard about it, so before Mr. Donohue bemoans the past genius of Jerry Goldsmith I think he should watch past epics like THE SAND PEBBLES or PATTON and watch the crap of today like TITANIC and maybe he'll see the answer to his own question.

And after what happened with Goldsmith being reprimanded for his opening bars for TOTAL RECALL sounding like CONAN, and at the director's request!! I don't think I blame the composer for asking himself sometimes, why should I bother? I could be wrong, too, but give the man a break. I'm glad he's still scoring films and I have to admit I'm not really a big fan of the Elfmans, Horner's or the Zimmers of the film music world. Hollywood just doesn't have the great composes of the past. Of the few remaining -- Goldsmith included, of course --greats, they're the only ones whose music I'll bother to listen to anymore. I've tried hearing the new breed and I'm really not impressed too much.

I think Hollywood needs a major renovation and get imagination and originality back into their films and if I hear about a remake of ANOTHER Michael Caine movie I shall go mad!!!

So will Mr. Donohue take his grievances to the people who I think deserve to hear it: the people who control the creative people on a film. Leave them alone and let them create and get rid of temp tracks!!


FROM: "Ron Pulliam"

SUBJECT: A reply to William Donahue
 
Geez, dude! Goldsmith doesn't have anything to prove!
 
Just so's ya know, he isn't being given the likes of "Titanic," "The Last Samurai," etc., to score these days. Sure, you might say his agent is to blame, but agents cannot force musically illiterate directors and producers to hire one of the greatest composers to ever put music to film.
 
Let's see how productive and imaginative and eager to please people you are when you are over 70 years old and in bad health.
 
Oh, yeah! In case you haven't noticed, there's a world full of REAL PROBLEMS that could use the anger and concern you've misplaced toward Maestro Goldsmith.

ON THE ORCHESTRATOR POLL, AGAIN

FROM: "Preston Neal Jones"

SUBJECT: Orchestrator poll
 
To the Poll powers that be:
 
I'm sorry I didn't participate in the orchestrator poll, but I might have had a problem had I done so. When I went to check the results just now, I saw that Shuken and Hayes were split up. I couldn't imagine voting for one but not the other -- unfair!
When I started going to the movies regularly, Leo Shuken had just passed on, and Jack Hayes was doing films like Marathon Man, The Elephant Man and The Natural, so I tend to think of them separately.


THE END OF AN ERA

FROM: "Ian Robinson"

So Zimmer's left Media Ventures and the composers are falling out. Is this the film music equivalent of a boy band splitting up?


MailBag@filmscoremonthly.com


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