HIGH NOON – Dimitri Tiomkin

September 15, 2014 Leave a comment

highnoonMOVIE MUSIC UK CLASSICS

Original Review by Craig Lysy

Producers Stanley Kramer and Carl Foreman had long sought to film a Western and saw their opportunity when they came across an inspiring short story “The Tin Star” by John Cunningham. Foreman adapted it for the big screen as High Noon, and hired European director Fred Zinnemann to direct. Veteran actor Gary Cooper was given the lead role of Will Kane. He was joined by Grace Kelly (Amy Fowler), Ian MacDonald (Frank Miller) and Lloyd Bridges (Harvey Pell). The story is set in 1880 in the New Mexico Territory. It is a classic morality play regarding personal honor, civic duty, and a man’s struggle to overcome his fears. The story reveals Will Kane, the Marshall of Hadleyville, who has retired after many years of service to marry his sweetheart Amy Fowler. (The casting of Cooper who was 50 years old and 30 years Kelly’s senior raised eyebrows). As he is about to depart to start a new life in another town, word comes that Frank Miller, an outlaw he brought to justice has been acquitted on a legal technicality. Miller has announced to all that he is spoiling for revenge and will arrive on the noon train. Will’s sense of honor leads to him reclaiming his badge to safeguard the town, yet his nobility is unrequited by townsfolk who all refuse to stand with him against Frank, his brother Ben and fellow outlaws Jack Colby and Jim Pierce. Even his deputy rejects him for not recommending him as his replacement. Well, the epic confrontation takes place with Will standing alone against four men. He guns down Ben and Jack, but is wounded in the process. Amy, a pacifist Quaker comes to her man’s aid and shoots Jim in the back. An outraged Frank takes her hostage to force Will’s submission. Yet Amy suddenly strikes Miller, thus distracting him and giving Will a clear shot. Will finishes his task by shooting Frank. As the relieved townspeople come out from the shadows, Will stares at them with palpable contempt. He throws his marshal’s star in the dirt with disdain and leaves the town with Amy. The film was both a critical and commercial success, including twin Oscars for Best Score and Best Song for its composer, Dimitri Tiomkin. Read more…

NO GOD NO MASTER – Nuno Malo

September 13, 2014 Leave a comment

nogodnomasterOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Two Italian immigrants to the United States, Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, became causes célèbres in New York in the 1920s when they were arrested, tried, and subsequently executed for their apparent part in the murder of two men during the armed robbery of a shoe factory. Popular contemporary thinking maintains that Sacco and Vanzetti – who were both unapologetic anarchists who advocated relentless warfare against a violent and oppressive government – were framed patsies, convicted as a political statement despite overwhelming evidence of their innocence, and much study into their case has been conducted in the years since their deaths. Director Terry Green’s film No God No Master uses the details of the Sacco and Vanzetti case as part of a broader-brush film about U.S. Bureau of Investigation Agent William Flynn, who in 1919 was assigned the task of finding those responsible for a series of package bombs which exploded on the doorsteps of prominent politicians and businessmen. Before long Flynn is immersed in an investigation that uncovers an anarchist plot to destroy democracy, and brings Sacco and Vanzetti to his attention. The film – which was completed in 2012 but only opened in limited markets this summer – stars David Strathairn as Flynn, James Madio and Alessandro Mario as Sacco and Vanzetti, and features an absolutely spectacular score by Portuguese composer Nuno Malo. Read more…

INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM – John Williams

September 11, 2014 2 comments

indianajonesandthetempleofdoomTHROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Even after thirty years, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom remains one of the most iconic and beloved action films of the 1980s. A darker, scarier prequel to Raiders of the Lost Ark, Steven Spielberg’s film has Harrison Ford returning as the archaeologist-adventurer Indiana Jones, crossing paths with Chinese jewel smugglers in Shanghai in 1934. After his deal with the Triads goes wrong, Indy flees on a plane with his diminutive sidekick Short Round (Ke Huy Quan) and nightclub singer Willie Scott (Kate Capshaw), only to crash over the Himalayas, washing up in a remote Indian village. Before long, Indy is embroiled in yet another adventure, this time involving missing children, ancient mystical stones said to have magic powers, and a terrifying cult that worships the Hindu goddess Kali. The film was a massive commercial success, ending up the third highest grossing film of 1984 with an adjusted-for-inflation gross of almost $436 million, and received two Academy Award nominations, including one for its score by John Williams. Read more…

POSTMAN PAT: THE MOVIE – Rupert Gregson-Williams

September 9, 2014 2 comments

postmanpatOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Postman Pat, Postman Pat, Postman Pat and his black and white cat. Early in the morning, just as day is dawning, he picks up all the postbags in his van.

As a six year old, I used to watch the classic British children’s animated TV show Postman Pat fairly regularly, content to accompany the cheerful postman Pat Clifton as he delivered the mail to the inhabitants of the village of Greendale, and got into the occasional adventure with his ever-present feline sidekick, Jess. It was an uncomplicated show for youngsters, with simple stop-motion animation, gentle humor, and a memorable theme tune written by the late Bryan Daly and sung by Ken Barrie. The show was rebooted for new audiences in 1995, and then again in 2004, with Pat having acquired a family and been promoted to a new position with the Special Delivery Service, which affords him the use of a helicopter, amongst other things! Now, Pat transitions to the big screen in the animated feature Postman Pat: The Movie, in which Pat comes face-to-face with the temptations of money, status and a shiny new suit when he enters a national TV talent show competition that threatens to tear him away from his home town, his family and friends – and leads to robots taking over his postal service while he is away. The film stars Stephen Mangan as the speaking voice of Pat, Ronan Keating as Pat’s singing voice, and David Tennant, Rupert Grint, and Jim Broadbent in supporting roles. It was directed by Mike Disa, and has an original score from an unlikely source – Rupert Gregson-Williams. Read more…

THE BIG COUNTRY – Jerome Moross

September 8, 2014 Leave a comment

bigcountryMOVIE MUSIC UK CLASSICS

Original Review by Craig Lysy

With The Big Country, MGM set out to bring an epic tale of Americana to the big screen. For this massive production they hired William Wyler as director and producer. A screenplay authored my a multitude of writers created a complex narrative, which sought to move beyond the genre’s traditional narratives to explore the darker and more ambiguous psychology of old west. A stellar cast was assembled, which included Gregory Peck (James McKay), Jean Simmons (Julie Maragon), Burl Ives (Rufus Hannassey), Charlton Heston (Steve Leech), Caroll Baker (Patricia Terrill) and Chuck Connors (Buck Hannassey). The story involves romance and the battle for water and grazing rights on the high plains. We see Captain James McKay, a wealthy and now retired sea captain who has come west to marry fiancée Pat Terrill, who seems pampered and controlled by her wealthy father, Major Henry Terrill. As a military seaman McKay’s formal personal affect, values and approach to life seem culturally incongruous and pretentious. When he eschews the code of the west of settling disputes with violence he creates an instant animus with the locals, especially ranch foreman Steve Leech. His apparent cowardice also loses the respect of Pat. In the larger picture we find unfolding an escalating clan battle over cattle watering rights on the arid plains. Rufus Hannassey and Henry Terrill both covet “The Big Muddy”, land owned by Julie Maragon that is abundant with water. She wisely keeps a fragile peace by allowing both clans access to her water. McKay, who is increasingly estranged from Pat meets with Julie, and they discover a mutual attraction, which leads in time to Pat ending their engagement. McKay eventually convinces Julie to sell him the water rights, thus triggering a confrontation with the Hannassey clan, which ultimately results in both patriarchs killing each other in a duel. The film concludes with McKay and Julie riding off to start a new life at the Big Muddy. Read more…

KUNDO: AGE OF THE RAMPANT – Jo Yeong-Wook

September 6, 2014 1 comment

kundoageoftherampantOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

I don’t review many Korean scores here at Movie Music UK. Their scores are difficult to come by here in the United States, the movies barely get released, and those which do are generally so obscure that they slip completely under the radar before anyone really notices. This would have been the case with Kundo: Age of the Rampant, which opened in extremely limited markets in August 2014, had the music not been brought to my attention by a friend, and I’m absolutely delighted that he did: the score is wonderful, a hidden gem which could find itself on many people’s Top 10 lists for 2014, if they have the tenacity to track a copy down. The film is a period action movie directed by Yun Jong-Bin and, according to Wikipedia, is about a power struggle between the unjust wealthy noblemen who run society and a group of righteous outlaws who steal from corrupt officials to give to the downtrodden and starving; essentially, it’s the story of Robin Hood, transposed to 19th century feudal Korea. Read more…

THE NOVEMBER MAN – Marco Beltrami

September 4, 2014 2 comments

novembermanOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Essentially a James Bond spy thriller under a different name, director Roger Donaldson’s latest film The November Man is based on the novel ‘There Are No Spies’ by Bill Granger, and stars Pierce Brosnan as Peter Devereaux, a retired CIA assassin now living a quiet life on the shores of a lake in Switzerland. Devereaux is brought back into action following a visit from a former colleague, and quickly finds himself embroiled in an international mystery involving an old flame working for a corrupt Russian diplomat, the Chechen civil war, a social worker looking after young female refugees in Serbia, and a former protégé, who has been charged with eliminating his old mentor. The film co-stars Luke Bracey, Olga Kurylenko, Bill Smitrovich, and Will Patton, and has an original score by Marco Beltrami, the third of his four scores in 2014. Read more…

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