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The latest soundtrack CD release from Intrada is a remastered and resequenced release of Jerry Fielding's score for the 1971 Western LAWMAN, with Michael Winner directing an impressive cast led by Burt Lancaster, Robert Ryan, Lee J. Cobb and Robert Duvall.  


CDS AVAILABLE THIS WEEK

Aladdin - Alan Menken - Disney
Avengers: Endgame
 - Alan Silvestri - Hollywood
Black Mirror: Hang the DJ
 - Alex Somers, Sigur Ros - Invada 
Hakkodasan
 - Yasushi Akutagawa - Cinema-Kan (import)
Lawman
- Jerry Fielding - Intrada Special Collection
Philip Glass Soundtracks Vol. II - Philip Glass - Orange Mountain
The Sun Is Also a Star - Herdis Stefansdotir - Sony (import) 


IN THEATERS TODAY

Aladdin - Alan Menken - Song and Score CD on Disney
Avengement - Sean Murray
Booksmart - Dan the Automator
Brightburn - Timothy Williams
Echo in the Canyon - no original score
Funny Story - Brandon Campbell
The Lumber Baron - Andrew Joslyn
Perfect - Flying Lotus
The Poison Rose - Aldo Shllaku
The Road to Mother - Alim Zairov, Roman Vishnevskiy 
Running with Beto - David Garza
The Silence of Others - Leonardo Heiblum, Jacobo Lieberman
The Third Wife - An Ton That
The Tomorrow Man - Paul Leonard-Morgan
Walking on Water - Saunder Jurriaans, Danny Bensi


COMING SOON

May 31
Fletch Lives - Harold Faltermeyer - La-La Land
Godzilla, King of the Monsters
 - Bear McCreary - WaterTower
Outlander: Season 4 
- Bear McCreary - Madison Gate
June 7
Being Rose - Brian Ralson - Notefornote 
First to the Moon: The Journey of Apollo 8 - Alexander Bornstein - Notefornote 
Ghostbusters - Elmer Bernstein - Sony
John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum
 - Tyler Bates, Joel J. Richard - Varese Sarabande 
The Ken Russell Soundtracks Vol. 1 - Rick Wakeman - Rraw (import)
My Brilliant Friend
 - Max Richter - Deutsche Grammophon
Prom Night 
- Carl Zittrer, Paul Zaza - Perseverance
June 14
The Dead Don't Die
- Squrl - Backlot
Dragged Across Concrete 
- Jeff Herriott, S. Craig Zahler - Lakeshore
Men in Black: International - Danny Elfman, Chris Bacon - Sony (import)
Missing Link
 - Carter Burwell - Lakeshore
Shaft
 - Isaac Hayes - Varese Sarabande
June 21
The Biggest Little Farm - Jeff Beal - Lakeshore
Confidential: Secret Market
 - Yasuo Higushi - Cinema-Kan (import)
The Goonies
- Dave Grusin - Varese Sarabande
Too Old to Die Young - Cliff Martinez - Milan (import)
Yesterday
 - Daniel Pemberton, songs - Capitol
June 28
Apollo 11 - Matt Morton - Milan
Date Unknown
Blanche Comme Neige
 - Bruno Coulais - Quartet
The Dennis McCarthy Collection vol. 1: The Television Movies
 - Dennis McCarthy - Dragon's Domain
Jaguar Lives!
 - Robert O. Ragland - Dragon's Domain
Le Lunghe Ombre
- Egisto Macchi - Kronos
Occupation in 26 Pictures
- Alfi Kabiljo - Kronos
Pumpkinhead
 - Richard Stone - Notefornote
Ursus Y La Ragazza Tartara
- Angelo Francesco Lavagnino - Kronos


THIS WEEK IN FILM MUSIC HISTORY

May 24 - Sadao Bekku born (1922)
May 24 - Bob Dylan born (1941)
May 24 - Waddy Wachtel born (1947)
May 24 - Franz Waxman begins recording his score for Sorry, Wrong Number (1948)
May 24 - Pierre van Dormael born (1952)
May 24 - David Ferguson born (1953)
May 24 - Jerry Fielding begins recording his score for Shirts/Skins (1973)
May 24 - Duke Ellington died (1974)
May 24 - Jay Chattaway records his score for the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “In Theory” (1991)
May 25 - Pierre Bachelet born (1944)
May 25 - Alex North begins recording his score for Decision for Chemistry (1953)
May 25 - Rick Smith born (1959)
May 25 - Miklos Rozsa begins Los Angeles recording sessions for Ben-Hur (1959)
May 25 - Elmer Bernstein wins the Outstanding Music Composition Emmy for The Making of the President 1960 (1964)
May 25 - Trevor Morris born (1970)
May 25 - Quincy Jones begins recording his score for Killer by Night (1971)
May 25 - Star Wars released in theaters (1977)
May 25 - Alien released in theaters (1979)
May 26 - Bruno Nicolai born (1926)
May 26 - Miles Davis born (1926)
May 26 - William Bolcom born (1938)
May 26 - Alfred Newman begins recording his score for Man Hunt (1941)
May 26 - Nicola Piovani born (1946)
May 26 - David Torn born (1953)
May 26 - Howard Goodall born (1958)
May 26 - Jerry Goldsmith begins recording his score for The Satan Bug (1964)
May 26 - Sonny Sharrock died (1994)
May 26 - George Greeley died (2007)
May 26 - Earle Hagen died (2008)
May 27 - Rene Koering born (1940)
May 27 - Franz Waxman begins recording his score for Botany Bay (1952)
May 27 - Angelo Milli born (1975)
May 27 - Derek Scott died (2006)
May 28 - Victor Young begins recording his score for I Walk Alone (1947)
May 28 - Vertigo is released in theaters (1958)
May 28 - Maurice Jarre begins recording his score for The Island at the Top of the World (1974)
May 28 - Fred Karlin wins the Emmy for The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman; Morton Stevens wins for the Hawaii Five-O episode score “Hookman” (1974)
May 28 - Maurice Jarre records his score for Posse (1975)
May 28 - Maurice Jarre begins recording his score for Solar Crisis (1990)
May 28 - Johnny Keating died (2015)
May 29 - Erich Wolfgang Korngold born (1897)
May 29 - Masaru Sato born (1928)
May 29 - Vyacheslav Ovchinnikov born (1936)
May 29 - David McHugh born (1941)
May 29 - Danny Elfman born (1953)
May 29 - Ed Alton born (1955)
May 29 - Deborah Mollison born (1958)
May 29 - J.J. Johnson begins recording his score for Cleopatra Jones (1973)
May 29 - Maurice Jarre begins recording his score for Shogun (1980)
May 29 - Simon Brint died (2011)
May 30 - Michael Small born (1939)
May 30 - Lalo Schifrin begins recording his score for Golden Needles (1974)
May 30 - Devendra Banhart born (1981)

DID THEY MENTION THE MUSIC?

ELLIOT: THE LITTLEST REINDEER - Grayson Matthews
 
"Though animation director Sean Coghlin’s character designs are rather ordinary, their facial expressiveness does justice to a talented voice cast that could’ve used better material. Production designer Naeim Khavari contributes settings that are sometimes impressive without being particularly inviting or idiosyncratic -- this is a cartoon where one expects the cozy whimsy of Santa’s Village, and instead gets the impersonal ambiance of a hockey arena. The most satisfying single element here, perhaps, is a decently frolicksome, old-fashioned orchestral score by Grayson Matthews."
 
Dennis Harvey, Variety 

THE LAST WORD - Nathan Matthew David
 
"Pellington's approach can best be described as correct, and the glossy movie looks tidy, if undistinguished. There's also Nathan Matthew David's pretty score to underline every mood shift, along with songs, song, songs of every vintage. Though it's hard to complain about over-reliance on music in a movie that pays homage to the undersung greatness of The Kinks and then unleashes "Waterloo Sunset" at a moment of maximum poignancy."
 
David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter 
 
MIRAI - Masakatsu Takagi
 
"It also often feels like Hosada’s wildest imagery is run through a hazy visual filter, with soft piano laid underneath it and ornamented with the occasional sentimental motif, such as the butterflies that dance around the frame whenever Mirai’s future self visits Kun. Even if 'Mirai' lands on a meaningful message about heritage, it’s hard to imagine the film appealing strongly to the young kids who need this lesson, or, on the other hand, to adults who might expect more well-defined characters and a deeper fantasy world."
 
Pat Brown, Slant Magazine

But it’s the small real-world touches that make “Mirai” so charming, including a moment (possible only in animation) in which Kun’s face comically distorts as he throws a tantrum and a scene where the brother and sister team up to take down a shrine that the distracted dad has forgotten to put away, potentially jeopardizing her future happiness. It all adds up to a gentler and potentially younger-skewing film than Hosoda’s previous output, and yet, emotionally speaking, “Mirai” reaches deeper, aided by a lovely, featherweight score from Masakatsu Takagi, subtly reinforcing the gradual evolution of the boy’s attitude toward his kid sister.
 
Peter Debruge, Variety
 
OF FATHERS AND SONS - K.S. Elias
 
"An admirably audacious feat of documentarian access, 'Of Fathers and Sons' is of obvious topical and anthropological interest as a glimpse into the gradual radicalization of young males and the deep community ties which underpin the process. While unambiguously disapproving in its overall tone (K.S. Elias' electronica-dominated score sounds warning notes of downbeat dread), it commendably avoids presenting Abu Osama as a two-dimensional fanatic, instead intelligently probing the roots of his anger and passionate involvement in armed struggle."
 
Neil Young, The Hollywood Reporter 

THE POSSESSION OF HANNAH GRACE - John Frizzell
 
"'The Possession of Hannah Grace' is a story told without much storytelling. The idea isn’t terrible, the setting is fundamentally creepy, and many of the jump scares would actually be jump-scary if they had a little 'oomph' on them. But our protagonist isn’t developed enough to carry a whole film by herself, with hardly anyone to talk to, and the movie plays like composer John Frizzell ('Leatherface') wasn’t really feeling it either. Frizzell’s score disappears for huge chunks of this movie, and when it does finally kick in it sounds muffled, as though it’s coming through the wall of your apartment via your neighbor’s subwoofers. Wherever that music is, it’s probably pretty effective, but it’s doing nothing for us here in our theater. Even a lot of the jump scares fly by without any accompaniment, not because they’re scarier that way (they’re not), but for -- well, reasons that cannot be fathomed, actually."
 
William Bibbiani, The Wrap
 
POSTCARDS FROM LONDON - Julian Bayliss
 
"Highly stylized (the film was shot entirely on a sound stage) and tricked out in neon reds and blues that restore Soho to its former tawdry grandeur, this is McLean's first feature since 'Postcards from America,' his well-received 1994 adaptation of the writings of New York painter David Wojnarowicz. Like that film, 'Postcards From London' is episodic in structure, which makes the story ramble here and there. For all its air of improvised jauntiness, this is a film of many moods with a haunting score by Julian Bayliss. (Jonah Hauer-King, who plays the head Raconteur, gives a soulful rendition of 'My Funny Valentine.') McLean's nostalgia for the Soho of Francis Bacon, Freud, and Jarman (all of them clear influences on his own work) is touchingly wistful about the ravages of time, and he's serious about probing the mixed blessings of sex, art, beauty and authenticity."
 
Ella Taylor, NPR 

PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF DESIRE - Michael Tuller
 
"Wu restores a sobering degree of clarity to that equation with a series of handy graphics, digital artist Eric Jordan helping him to simplify the visual busyness of the YY platform and illustrate how the money flows between its various players. There’s something immediately sinister about these screens, and it’s not just the the scary music that Wu uses to underscore how unnerved we should feel (a flourish that makes it frustratingly difficult to appreciate how people get sucked into all this). As the film goes on, Wu subtly begins to introduce his graphics into vérité footage, creating an augmented reality in which the digital world literally subsumes the analog one."
 
David Ehrlich, IndieWire

RAW - Jim Williams

"With the help of cinematographer Ruben Impens’ beautifully nightmarish use of color and light and Jim Williams’ chilling score, Ducournau creates a lingering sense of mystery throughout: How much of this is a hallucination? Could what we’re watching possibly be real?"
 
Christy Lemire, RogerEbert.com 
 
"Vividly shot by Ruben Impens (who did such a striking job on 'The Broken Circle Breakdown'), this brilliantly twisted effort draws out the surrealness of the animal-strewn environs -- which mix concrete and cows -- and dunks us in the deep end alongside its breathless naïf of a protagonist. It apes the exhilaration and turmoil of youth, while the initially dainty score from Jim Williams becomes a throbbing organ when Justine's blood-lust kicks in. In the end, 'Raw' turns out to be very well done as Ducournau serves up a tasty blend of gore, metaphor and mischief."
 
Emma Simmonds, The List 

"Making her feature debut, Ducournau goes for gasps and giggles, as well as sensory dislocation. Jim Williams' score, generally droning and sometimes deafening, recalls the 'heavy organ' era, when massively amplified Bach was paired with abstract light shows. The vibe is psychedelic, although the principal on-screen intoxicant is alcohol. Julia and Alexia's other drug of choice is an antibiotic ointment to combat the rashes that come with their affliction."
 
Mark Jenkins, NPR 
 
"Ducournau, whose movie boasts a louche, harpsichord-based score by Jim Williams, certainly doesn’t hold back when it comes to associating carnal appetites with carnivorous ones. Indeed, bloodlust mingles with actual lust in several clever moments: In one slow-motion interlude, Justine, preparing for a night out, dances suggestively in front of her mirror and in short order begins to kiss its cold surface, the smeared red lipstick around her mouth all of a sudden resembling the bloody oral aftermath of a cannibal feeding frenzy; at another point, Justine tosses and turns in bed, evidently trying to fight off her basest urges, the camera taking up a suffocatingly close perspective from under the sheets. Yet despite its striking visuals, and admirably live-wire performances from Marillier and Rumpf, it is in the evocation of its setting that 'Raw' ultimately feels most original. Part taxidermy parlor, part juvenile reformatory, and part frat house, the vet school is less a place of learning than a cinder-blocked staging ground for highly formalized hazing and unbridled debauchery. After all, as 'Raw' reminds us, there’s no menagerie more savage than an institution full of human adolescents."
 
Benjamin Mercer, Brooklyn Magazine 

"Although the content of the film is undoubtedly horrific, Ducournau eschews jump scares and instead focuses on tone, never allowing the audience to fully relax by peppering even what appear to be quotidian transition scenes with little reminders of the macabre. No bus ride comes without a bloody car crash by the side of the road, no plate of mashed potatoes without an errant, forbidden meatball to ruin dinner. She doesn’t reject genre convention entirely, however: The film’s vividly saturated palette is drenched in bold accent colors in a way that recalls the Italian horror masters of the 1970s, as does the organ music that blares over the end credits. And it’s hard to see the image of teenagers drenched in buckets of blood without recalling another tale about a cursed young woman, 'Carrie.'"
 
Katie Rife, The Onion AV Club 

"The film’s soundscape may be familiar to fans of U.K. helmer Ben Wheatley, as his regular composer Jim Williams is responsible for the score. Williams essays a similar approach to that taken in Wheatley’s killer road-trip comedy 'Sightseers,' with folksy lighter numbers giving way to heavier, more psychedelic freak-out tracks as the characters degenerate into madness. It’s a tactic that works very well, particularly in tandem with the more expected but still well-curated diegetic music blasting out of the students’ sound systems."
 
Catherine Bray, Variety 
 
THE SENSE OF AN ENDING - Max Richter

"But despite the minor slip-ups, 'The Sense of an Ending' understands the power of life’s totemic memories and the folly of indulging a narrow view of what make them so significant. Much like Max Richter’s dreamy (and characteristically poetic) score, the story echoes through periods of discovery, loss, redemption and reconciliation without being dominated by any of them. Modest in its ambition but profound in its specificity, Batra gets to the core of the slipperiness of memory and the allure of the past. It’s not through grand pronouncements and cosmic love stories; instead, a handful of unshakable moments do the trick."
 
Steve Greene, IndieWire
 
"But then we get a Hollywood ending that offers a clear change in character and some examples of atonement set to uplifting music. (Unlike the book, which ends with a feeling of great unrest.) The book's ending is truer to the character -- an a**hole who we will probably never really understand. Most people who live in the land of make-believe will stay there. If each and every one of a person's stories portrays them as either the hero or the victim, you cannot trust them. If they will not admit to a single mistake, and instead hold fast to their carefully constructed lies, turn and run from them. They will cling to their alternative facts until they die."
 
Julia Raban, The Stranger

"Charlotte Rampling plays Veronica in the present, though she doesn’t appear until late in the film, like an ace that Batra has been keeping up his sleeve. Still beyond his grasp, Veronica has intercepted Adrian’s diary and has no intentions of returning it to Tony, which drives him crazy, sending him deeper into the spiral of his own narcissism -- a far more unpleasant space to share if it weren’t for the wry way that Walter’s character (augmented significantly from the novel) has of humoring him. And Max Richter’s seductive score turns potential revulsion into a sort of unrequited melancholy."
 
Peter Debruge, Variety 
 
THE WORLD BEFORE YOUR FEET - Carly Comando, Tom Rosenthal, Max Avery Lichtenstein, Helen Jane Long, Rhonda Mackert, Haydn Miles 
 
"An interlude chronicling the innumerable 9/11 memorial murals Green has photographed for his blog gives that event perhaps more weight than it deserves in this context, and the doc's swelling score eventually begins to push us toward emotional epiphanies we might be able to reach without the help. 'The World Before Your Feet' is best at its humblest, when it lets Green's appreciation of the overlooked and the underrepresented speak for itself. People are always asking him why he spends so much of his life walking in strange neighborhoods; to his credit, he never responds by asking why they explore so little."
 
John DeFore, The Hollywood Reporter

THE NEXT TEN DAYS IN L.A.

Screenings of older films, at the following L.A. movie theaters: AMPASAmerican Cinematheque: AeroAmerican Cinematheque: EgyptianArclightArena CineloungeLACMALaemmleNew Beverly, Nuart, UCLA and Vista.

May 24
FULL TILT BOOGIE (Cary Berger, Dominic Kelly) [New Beverly]
JIRO DREAMS OF SUSHI [Arena Cinelounge]
LOST IN TRANSLATION (Brian Reitzell), SOMEWHERE (Phoenix) [New Beverly]
THE LOVE WITCH (Anna Biller) [New Beverly]
RAGING BULL, THE KILLING OF A CHINESE BOOKIE (Bo Harwood) [Cinematheque: Egyptian]
THE THING (Ennio Morricone), STARMAN (Jack Nitzsche) [Cinematheque: Aero]
VERTIGO (Bernard Herrmann) [Nuart]
A WOMAN UNDER THE INFLUENCE [Vista]

May 25
BIG (Howard Shore) [New Beverly]
BLAZING SADDLES (John Morris) [Vista]
DELICATESSEN (Carlos D'Alessio) [Arena Cinelounge] 
GODZILLA (Akira Ifukube), DESTROY ALL MONSTERS (Akira Ifukube), GODZILLA'S REVENGE (Kunio Miyauchi), MONSTER ZERO (Akira Ifukube), GODZILLA VS. MECHAGODZILLA (Masaru Sato), GODZILLA VS. MEGALON (Riichiro Manabe) [Cinematheque: Egyptian]
KING KONG VS. GODZILLA (Akira Ifukube) [Vista]
LOST IN TRANSLATION (Brian Reitzell), SOMEWHERE (Phoenix) [New Beverly]
2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY [Cinematheque: Aero]

May 26
BAD BLACK, WHO KILLED CAPTAIN ALEX? (Kizito Vicent) [Cinematheque: Egyptian]
BIG (Howard Shore) [New Beverly]
HONOR AMONG LOVERS, CRAIG'S WIFE (Morris Stoloff), SARAH AND SON [New Beverly]
LAWRENCE OF ARABIA (Maurice Jarre) [Cinematheque: Aero]

May 27
HONOR AMONG LOVERS, CRAIG'S WIFE (Morris Stoloff), SARAH AND SON [New Beverly]
JIRO DREAMS OF SUSHI [Arena Cinelounge] 
NOW AND THEN (Cliff Eidelman) [New Beverly]

May 28
BLOOD OF THE DRAGON (Flood), THE MASTER STRIKES (Frankie Chan) [New Beverly]
THE LAST MOVIE [LACMA]

May 29
DELICATESSEN (Carlos D'Alessio) [Arena Cinelounge]
EVE'S BAYOU (Terence Blanchard), DAUGHTERS OF THE DUST (John Barnes) [New Beverly]
GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES (Lionel Newman) [New Beverly]

May 30
EVE'S BAYOU (Terence Blanchard), DAUGHTERS OF THE DUST (John Barnes) [New Beverly]
THE FIRST WIVES CLUB (Marc Shaiman) [Laemmle NoHo]
LOVE STREAMS (Bo Harwood), CASINO [Cinematheque: Egyptian]
ONE SINGS, THE OTHER DOESN'T (Francois Wertheimer), FACES PLACES (Mathieu Chedid) [Cinematheque: Aero]

May 31
THE COOK, THE THIEF, HIS WIFE AND HER LOVER (Michael Nyman) [Arena Cinelounge]
DANCE, GIRL, DANCE (Edward Ward), THE BRIDE WORE RED (Franz Waxman) [New Beverly]
GRINDHOUSE: DEATH PROOF [New Beverly]
A HARD DAY'S NIGHT (The Beatles, George Martin) [Nuart]
LOS ANGELES PLAYS ITSELF [Cinematheque: Egyptian]
METROPOLITAN (Mark Suozzo, Tom Judson), BARCELONA (Mark Suozzo), THE LAST DAYS OF DISCO (Mark Suozzo) [Cinematheque: Aero]

June 1
BRAZIL (Michael Kamen), TIME BANDITS (Mike Moran) [Cinematheque: Aero]
CAT PEOPLE (Giorgio Moroder), TIME AFTER TIME (Miklos Rozsa) [Cinematheque: Egyptian]
THE COOK, THE THIEF, HIS WIFE AND HER LOVER (Michael Nyman) [Arena Cinelounge]
DANCE, GIRL, DANCE (Edward Ward), THE BRIDE WORE RED (Franz Waxman) [New Beverly]

June 2
THE COOK, THE THIEF, HIS WIFE AND HER LOVER (Michael Nyman) [Arena Cinelounge]
THE FLINTSTONES (David Newman) [Cinematheque: Aero]
NINE TO FIVE (Charles Fox) [Cinematheque: Egyptian]
STRANGER THAN PARADISE (John Lurie), DOWN BY LAW (John Lurie) [Cinematheque: Aero]


THINGS I'VE HEARD, READ, SEEN OR WATCHED LATELY

Heard: The Burglars (Morricone), Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (Michael Giacchino), Hot Fuzz (David Arnold), The X-Files Vol. 3 (Snow), Southbound (The Gifted)

Read: Finished Foundation and Earth, by Isaac Asimov

Seen: Mikey and Nicky, Between the Lines, John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum, Aniara, Johnny Dangerously, Billy Madison

Watched: A Very English Scandal ("Episodes 2 & 3"), Combat! ("The Chateau"), Westworld ("The Original"), Extras ("Orlando Bloom")

In one of William Goldman's non-fiction books about screenwriting, he refers to certain types of directors as "writer-killers." One example he gives is Alan J. Pakula (who would later go on to write some of his own directorial efforts such as Sophie's Choice and Presumed Innocent). The one Pakula-Goldman collaboration, All the President's Men, is arguably the finest film from either man (it's certainly my favorite of their work) and earned Goldman his second Oscar, but for Goldman it was not a satisfying creative experience. One Pakula trait that frustrated him was the director's refusal to given him specifics on what approach he wanted for a scene, instead asking him to try multiple drafts with multiple approaches, beseeching the writer to "Spare me no gems."

It's occurred to me that there are some directors who, similarly, could be called "composer-killers." Here are a few examples:

John Herzfeld: The TV veteran made his feature directing debut with 1983's Two of a Kind, the fantasy-comedy that re-teamed Grease stars John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John. Bill Conti's score was replaced so late in the game (by Patrick Williams) that Conti's scoring credit still appeared in the credits block on the song-soundtrack LP. For Herzfeld's second film, the faux-Tarantino crime ensemble 2 Days in the Valley, Jerry Goldsmith recorded a terrific, varied score (later released by Intrada), which was replaced by a new score from Anthony Marinelli. Marinelli scored Herzfeld's next film, 15 Minutes, but half the score was thrown out and replaced with new music by J. Peter Robinson, with the composers sharing the screen credit. To quote Goldfinger in Ian Fleming's original novel, "Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action."

Michael Mann: Mann is such a notoroius composer-killer that it's surprising that Harry Gregson-Williams went public with his dissatisfaction over his experience on Blackhat -- why was he expecting anything different? On Thief, Mann added a Craig Safan cue to Tangerine Dream's score. On The Last of the Mohicans, he had Randy Edelman write new cues to augment Trevor Jones' score. Heat featured not only an original Elliot Goldenthal score but pieces by others including Brian Eno, Lisa Gerrard and William Orbit. The Insider was officially scored by Gerrard and Pieter Bourke, but had additional material by Graeme Revell and Curt Sobel, as well as Gustavo Santaolalla's soon-to-be- ubiquitous "Iguazu." Ali was another Gerrard-Bourke score but with other cues by Martin Tillman and Tom Vedvik. For Collateral, James Newton Howard wrote the principal score (later released by Intrada), Antonio Pinto wrote additional cues, and tracked-in pieces included Goldenthal's Heat, Gerrard-Bourke's Insider, Vangelis' 1492 and of course "Iguazu." Miami Vice had a John Murphy score plus tracked in Heat (Goldenthal) and Collateral (Howard). Public Enemies had new Goldenthal music plus tracked-in Heat, Thin Red Line (John Powell) and even Things We Lost in the Fire (Santolalla, Johan Soderquist). For his most recent film, Blackhat, the score credit was ultimately shared by Harry Gregson-Williams and Leopold Ross, with tracked-in cues including Gregson-Williams' own Phone Booth and many Ryan Amon pieces from Elysium. With Mann's track record (no pun intended), one can only wonder if Gregson-Williams was like girlfriends/fiances/wives from time immemorial, who somehow believed "I'm the one that can change him."

Gary Ross: (Most of this section is based on rumor and conjecture) For his feature directing debut, Pleasantville, the veteran screenwriter hired Randy Newman, whose lovely score earned an Oscar nomination, so it was no surprise that the duo would reteam for Seabiscuit, the kind of Americana storyline that seemed a Natural fit for Newman. On Seabuiscuit it was rumored that Ross wanted Newman to copy a particular temp track cue from Thomas Newman's Horse Whisperer to a degree that Randy was not comfortable with, so William Ross was brought in to write the new cue, which I've long assumed is why Randy didn't submit his score for Oscar consideration; it seemed at the very least a surefire nominee. (The director next wrote and produced the underrated animated film The Tale of Despereaux, for which William Ross wrote arguably his finest score). Danny Elfman was originally supposed to score the first Hunger Games for Ross, but the assignment ultimately went to James Newton Howard -- though that may have been due to a scheduling conflict with Dark Shadows rather than a creative disagreement. Howard Shore was originally announced to score Ross's Civil War drama Free State of Jones, but Nicholas Britell ultimately got the job. Britell was announced to score Ocean's 8 for Ross, but Daniel Pemberton wrote the final score. I'm starting to sense a pattern. If Pemberton is announced to score Ross's next film, he might want to also have another gig lined up.

Ridley Scott: On Alien, he replaced significant parts of Jerry Goldsmith's original score with tracked-in cues from Goldsmith's Freud and Howard Hanson's "Romantic" symphony. Goldsmith wrote the original score for Scott's Legend but the European cut featured tracked-in music from Goldsmith's Psycho II, and in the US a new Tangerine Dream score replaced Goldsmith's score entirely. Scott added a Vangelis Blade Runner cue to Someone to Watch Over Me, otherwise scored by Michael Kamen. On White Squall he replaced Maurice Jarre with Jeff Rona, and Jarre reportedly planned to sue Scott, but it is unknown how the case was resolved. Harry Gregson-Williams scored Scott's Kingdom of Heaven, but the released film also featured tracks from Marco Beltrami's Blade II, Graeme Revell's The Crow and Goldsmith's The 13th Warrior. Marc Streitenfeld became Scott's composer for several projects, but on Prometheus, Scott had Gregson-Williams provide addtional music, including the "Life" theme which is the score's most memorable element. Gregson-Williams was announced to score Alien: Covenant but Jed Kurzel wrote the final score, which incorporated themes written by Goldsmith and Gregson-Williams for the franchise. (It may be a Scott family trait -- his brother Tony directed the remake of Man on Fire, which had a Gregson-Williams score but also tracked in many cues from David Arnold's Changing Lanes and Clint Mansell's Abandon. Harry Gregson-Williams is starting to seem like a glutton for punishment).

Of course, you don’t have to be a director to be a composer-killer, as producer-executives Bob & Harvey Weinstein demonstrated over the course of their decades in the business, with such replaced or significantly reworked scores as K2 (Hans Zimmer), Sirens (Geoffrey Burgon), Picture Bride (Cliff Eidelman), Two Bits (Maurice Jarre), Marvin’s Room (Thomas Newman), The Wings of the Dove (Gabriel Yared), Playing by Heart (John Barry), B. Monkey (Luis Bacalov), All the Pretty Horses (Daniel Lanois), Chocolat (Luis Bacalov), Gangs of New York (Elmer Bernstein), The Hours (Stephen Warbeck, Michael Nyman), Ella Enchanted (Shaun Davey), An Unfinished Life (Christopher Young), The Queen (Nathan Larson), Miss Potter (Nigel Westlake), Crossing Over (John Murphy) and 3 Generations (Michael Brook), as well as the Dimension releases Halloween: H20 (John Ottman), Scary Movie 2 (George S. Clinton), Texas Rangers (Marco Beltrami) and Shade (Christopher Young).

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I don't know if any of the directors associated with the films I'm about to mention have a reputation for being "composer-killers," but Carter Burwell's website offers very candid accounts of his experiences as a "killed composer." Some excerpts...

A GOOFY MOVIE
"While the scoring went well, there was always a tug of war between myself and the production. They were always pulling the music in very traditional directions, which were frankly uninteresting to me. After I'd recorded my score in Los Angeles (with the considerable help of orchestrator/conductor Shirley Walker), I returned to New York. Soon after I heard that they had hired Don Davis to 're-work' the score. I had little doubt what they were after...[edited]...I spoke with Don (whom I've never met) very cordially about a potentially difficult situation. I told him I understood his assignment and just hoped that my themes would survive in some form. The music as you hear it now is mostly my thematic material, but honestly some sections sound much more like Don Davis than Carter Burwell."

THE JACKAL
"After the score was complete Michael came under great pressure from the studio to make the film 'faster-paced,' an understandable desire for an international espionage thriller. They may have shot some more footage, but after months of editing there was little left to mess with than the music. He ended up bringing on a record producer names Danny Saber to 'remix' my score. Michael politely asked if I wanted to be included in this process, but my one day of sitting in on Danny's sessions was too dispiriting to repeat. He was overdubbing electric guitar power chords over David Torn's much more interesting guitar work. In the end all I could do was listen to Danny's results and list a few pieces that I thought were frankly embarassing in that hope that Michael would not use them. In the end they were all in the film...[edited]...I considered taking my name off the film, but felt there was just enough of my music there to justify keeping it as it was. But this painful experience was the end (at least so far) of my ongoing collaboration with Michael Caton-Jones."

PICTURE PERFECT
[These comments are actually part of a letter that Burwell sent to the Los Angeles Times after their reviewer criticized him for scoring "the movie's emotional climax with James Newton Howard's music from 'Dave.'"]

"Sketches of each of my compositions, performed on synthesizers, were played for Glenn Caron, the director, and Robert Kraft, from Fox, prior to recording. After detailed discussions, the final versions of the pieces were arranged for orchestra and recorded in February with the aforementioned principals of the film and studio present.

Three months later, long after I assumed the film had been completed, the director sheepishly called me and told me that Fox had replaced two of my pieces with music by James Newton Howard, licensed from other films. He offered the consolation that Howard would not be credited, and the glory would thus accrue to me."

THREE KINGS
"Cue number 15 (as the heroes react to the arrival of a tank and attempt to escape an Iraqi village) begins with 2:55 of my score, then segues to :22 seconds of Graeme Revell's music from The Siege, then returns to my score for :10 seconds, then plays a mix of Thomas Newman scores from Unstrung Heroes and Flesh and Bone, for about a minute. Then it returns to my cue 'The Gas.'

The piece titled 'Things Explode,' which is available for download here, is my score for this scene before it was cut and overlaid with music from other films. But even this version is not my original score. It was the result of the director explaining, moment by moment, how my music should be more like the temp music which was culled from these other films. David O. Russell would pull me aside during the recording sessions and play the temp pieces for me to remind me of what he was after, and my original concept for the score (which to put it simply was that it be humanist rather than militarist) was, bit by bit, lost. If someday I find the original recording of my work I'll post it here.

The version of the cue you'll find here was composed by me, but as little integrity as film music generally has, this has still less."

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