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 Posted:   Sep 26, 2010 - 1:14 PM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

So I finally found a DVD copy of the 1963 Hawaii melodrama, starring Charlton Heston as the bigoted landowner who refuses to accept his sister's love for a local man while simultaneously having an affair (and eventually a child with) a local woman himself. And so everything falls apart around him (and them), in predictable order.

It's really a bad film, full of stereotype/clichées and dealing with the race issue in the most superficial way. Performances are bad and when it isn't shoddy, it's really boring. The biggest hoot was probably the sister's dream, in which she rides in on a white horse, eventually confronting the three men in her life by a romantic waterfall. Oh man....no amount of finelookin' Hawaiian scenery is gonna save that.

John Williams' music isn't very impressive either, to be honest. There are some decent source cues, and the occasional dramatic flourish for dramatic climaxes. There are also three "setpieces", of sorts, where the music gets to shine - the opening main titles (sans sound effects), the dream scene and the final confrontation scene. Some string-heavy, saccharine bits - partially based on Hugo Winterthaler's main theme song - and some riding music that is OK. The FSM album holds up much better than the actual film score.



 
 
 Posted:   Sep 26, 2010 - 1:26 PM   
 By:   Vermithrax Pejorative   (Member)

Never seen the film, and not sure I ever do now, lol, but I like about 4 tracks on the CD.
The dramatic bits that sound like proper Williams film score stuff.

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 27, 2010 - 4:38 AM   
 By:   Mink   (Member)

Haven't seen the movie either but I like the album very much. I always liked to think the movie was classy, made the music sound much more classy too ;-)

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 27, 2010 - 4:48 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

Haven't seen the movie either but I like the album very much. I always liked to think the movie was classy, made the music sound much more classy too ;-)

Sorry to shatter your illusions! wink But yeah, pretty nice album.

 
 Posted:   Sep 27, 2010 - 4:50 AM   
 By:   ToneRow   (Member)

So I finally found a DVD copy of the 1963 Hawaii melodrama, starring Charlton Heston as the bigoted landowner who refuses to accept his sister's love for a local man while simultaneously having an affair (and eventually a child with) a local woman himself. And so everything falls apart around him (and them), in predictable order.

It's really a bad film, full of stereotype/clichées and dealing with the race issue in the most superficial way. Performances are bad and when it isn't shoddy, it's really boring. The biggest hoot was probably the sister's dream, in which she rides in on a white horse, eventually confronting the three men in her life by a romantic waterfall. Oh man....no amount of finelookin' Hawaiian scenery is gonna save that.

John Williams' music isn't very impressive either, to be honest. There are some decent source cues, and the occasional dramatic flourish for dramatic climaxes. There are also three "setpieces", of sorts, where the music gets to shine - the opening main titles (sans sound effects), the dream scene and the final confrontation scene. Some string-heavy, saccharine bits - partially based on Hugo Winterthaler's main theme song - and some riding music that is OK. The FSM album holds up much better than the actual film score.


Actually, Thor, the DIAMOND HEAD soundtrack is a ColPix LP album, and FSM merely re-issued it onto CD.
Let's get our soundtrack history correct! (you LP ignorer) smile

In any event, the album is a re-recording, & most of the music heard on this album did not appear much in the film. I agree, though, that this is not a major John Williams title in his filmography/discography.

I do not understand your evaluation process of a film , Thor.
You dish out criticisms easily saying a lot of it was cliched and/or boring.
Please keep in mind that the PACE of films prior to MTV-style editing were slower overall across the industry and assumed that (unlike today) we audience members had attention spans of adults and not 3 year olds.
I like films directed by Guy Green (THE SNORKEL, THE MARK, A PATCH OF BLUE, THE MAGUS, & LUTHER). Some of these are my favorites, and while DIAMOND HEAD is not one of them, I still like it nevertheless.
Remember, Hawaii wasn't consistered the 50th State in US until the late 1950s, so this film about Caucasian racism against native Hawaiians was an example of cinema taking on a subject that was hardly ever approached before. This is why I love films made between 1956 - 1974 so much - because they challenged Golden Hollywood aesthetics by tackling social issues and relatively recent events.
What exactly is cliche to you, Thor?
The acting styles?
The bright studio Klieglights on interior sets?
Insufficient feminism?
You seem to evaluate an older movie in terms of current standards and trends...

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 27, 2010 - 5:15 AM   
 By:   OnyaBirri   (Member)

I have the LP, one of the very few JW soundtracks that own.

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 27, 2010 - 6:00 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

Actually, Thor, the DIAMOND HEAD soundtrack is a ColPix LP album, and FSM merely re-issued it onto CD.
Let's get our soundtrack history correct! (you LP ignorer) smile


I know. I had the Colpix LP (albeit as a CD transfer) for many years before the far superior FSM reissue came about.

Please keep in mind that the PACE of films prior to MTV-style editing were slower overall across the industry and assumed that (unlike today) we audience members had attention spans of adults and not 3 year olds.

I'm well aware of that, but a turkey is still a turkey. I don't really expect many of these early Jack Nicholson/John Williams films to be particularly good. It's just something that I'm curious to explore, since I am such a huge fan of theirs. However, a little gem may arise in this exploration nonetheless (like Nicholson's THE SHOOTING or Williams' NONE BUT THE BRAVE).

Incidentally, for a pretty GOOD film depicting racial issues and made around the same time, I'd rather watch something like GUESS WHO'S COMING TO DINNER (1967) instead.

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 27, 2010 - 10:13 AM   
 By:   Rnelson   (Member)


Incidentally, for a pretty GOOD film depicting racial issues and made around the same time, I'd rather watch something like GUESS WHO'S COMING TO DINNER (1967) instead.



I always found "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" to be rather preachy and dumbed-down (Portier's fiancé in that movie is obnoxiously naive and sunny). Better films in this idiom are "A Patch of Blue" and "In the Heat of The Night".

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 27, 2010 - 10:16 AM   
 By:   Adam S   (Member)

I tried watching it on TV and it was a mildly painful experience. I've never been crazy about the score though the Hawaiian flavored source music is an interesting curiousity to have. The dramatic underscore seemed a little out of balance with the movie and not as polished on its own as he would later become.

- Adam

 
 Posted:   Sep 27, 2010 - 10:22 AM   
 By:   Ron Pulliam   (Member)

In defense of Thor (!!@@??$?#?(*%$&), the movie was risible when it was released. It certainly had no fans among movie critics and was not a boxoffice smash.

It had some interesting photography, I thought, and it dealt with racial issues prevalent in Hawaii where the "white man" was always the outsider but had the upper hand economically. It was considered a mirror of the Civil Rights issues in the U.S. at that time. Since Hawaii had not long been a "state" in the U.S., it was considered "timely"and "topical."

Of all John Williams' scores in the 1960s, "Diamond Head" is the one that best displayed the Williams sound we appreciate and love today. I hear more of today's Williams in "Diamond Head" than in other scores from the 60s like "How to Steal A Million", "Fitzwilly", etc. "The Reivers" is in a separate class of Williams writing and not something, IMO, we hear from him very often.

I think "Diamond Head" is a quite good score of its kind, and I think it works well with the movie, such as it is. Perhaps Thor was so distracted by the bigotry (and hypocritical actions of the star's character) that the music did not have much impact for him.

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 27, 2010 - 2:20 PM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

Of all John Williams' scores in the 1960s, "Diamond Head" is the one that best displayed the Williams sound we appreciate and love today. I hear more of today's Williams in "Diamond Head" than in other scores from the 60s like "How to Steal A Million", "Fitzwilly", etc. "The Reivers" is in a separate class of Williams writing and not something, IMO, we hear from him very often.

I would argue that NONE BUT THE BRAVE was closer, even though it has a distinct Rozsa vibe too. Or certain cues like "Gimpel's Robbery" from FITZWILLY or something from HOW TO STEAL A MILLION. The only contemporary Williams I hear in DIAMOND are some of the sweet string writing (but it's really TOO sweet) for the romantic stuff or the riding ostinatos that appear on a couple of occasions, especially when Heston goes all berserk and rides like a madman through the woods at the end.

 
 Posted:   Sep 28, 2010 - 1:21 AM   
 By:   ToneRow   (Member)


I know. I had the Colpix LP (albeit as a CD transfer) for many years before the far superior FSM reissue came about.

I'm well aware of that, but a turkey is still a turkey. I don't really expect many of these early Jack Nicholson/John Williams films to be particularly good. It's just something that I'm curious to explore, since I am such a huge fan of theirs. However, a little gem may arise in this exploration nonetheless (like Nicholson's THE SHOOTING or Williams' NONE BUT THE BRAVE).

Incidentally, for a pretty GOOD film depicting racial issues and made around the same time, I'd rather watch something like GUESS WHO'S COMING TO DINNER (1967) instead.


Great to know that you're familiar with the LP, Thor.
I suppose, though, that in your mind if one version of an album is better than another, you talk about the album issue you prefer and remain silent on the other album that is less desirable to you?

If you consider DIAMOND HEAD a "turkey", then how does Thor classify the films of Ed Wood, for example?
Perhaps this is more the issue: how does one define "good" and "bad" films when their evaluations are all open to subjective viewpoints? Where is there a dividing line between good and bad? Indeed, does "good" even mean the same thing to all peoples?
Has Thor seen a shadow of a microphone boom inside the frame of DIAMOND HEAD?
Did a prop fall over within a scene?
It appears rather that the behavior of the characters and the dialogue is what's exasperating to Thor, who seems to have a measuring device as to which dialogue is "good" or "bad" and how characters SHOULD behave according to some unwritten standard...?

As much as I love the films of Stanley Kramer (INHERIT THE WIND, etc.) , I must confess that I watched GUESS WHO'S COMING TO DINNER only once while I'm drawn to repeat viewings of DIAMOND HEAD (I own both on DVD). C'est la vie.

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 28, 2010 - 3:03 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

Great to know that you're familiar with the LP, Thor.
I suppose, though, that in your mind if one version of an album is better than another, you talk about the album issue you prefer and remain silent on the other album that is less desirable to you?


Yup, that's right.

If you consider DIAMOND HEAD a "turkey", then how does Thor classify the films of Ed Wood, for example?

Even MORE turkey! (stuffed turkey?). smile

 
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