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Archive for December, 2014

LOVE IS A MANY-SPLENDORED THING – Alfred Newman

December 10, 2014 Leave a comment

loveisamanysplendoredthingMOVIE MUSIC UK CLASSICS

Original Review by Craig Lysy

Buddy Adler, the Production Head of Fox Studios saw money to be made by the hit novel “A Many Splendored Thing” by Han Suyin. He purchased the film rights an hired trusted screenwriter John Patrick to adapt it for the big screen. The story offers a potent commentary on an inter-racial romance set in Hong Kong during the waning days of the 1940s. American reporter Mark Elliot (William Holden), who is estranged from his wife, falls passionately in love with widowed Eurasian doctor Han Suyin (Jennifer Jones). For a short time they manage to find happiness together, but events soon overtake them. Mark’s wife refuses his request for a divorce, and their romance precipitates a palpable prejudice from both her family and Hong Kong society. Han is eventually ostracized from the community and loses her position at the hospital. As Mark ships out to cover the Korean War they desperately write each other in hope of maintaining a connection and salvaging their relationship, but alas, it is to no avail as Mark gets killed during the war. Han does not relent in her love and the story ends with her visiting the green hill where they used to meet. The film was both a commercial and critical success, earning eight Academy Awards nominations, winning three for Best Costume Design, Best Song and Best Score. Read more…

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UNDER THE VOLCANO – Alex North

December 4, 2014 Leave a comment

underthevolcanoTHROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Under the Volcano is a critically-acclaimed drama based on the important novel by Malcolm Lowry. Set against the backdrop of imminent war in Europe, and taking place on the Mexican fiesta celebrating the Day of Dead, the film follows one day in the life of Geoffrey Firmin, a British consul living in alcoholic disrepair and obscurity in a small southern Mexican town in 1939. The film was one of the last directed by the legendary John Huston, and starred Albert Finney as Geoffrey, Anthony Andrews as his idealistic half-brother Hugh, and Jacqueline Bisset as his ex-wife, Yvonne, who has returned to Mexico with hopes of healing Geoffrey and their broken marriage. Lost amid the blockbusters of the period, the film is largely forgotten today, despite its stellar credentials, and despite its multiple Award nominations, which included Oscar recognition for Finney’s leading role, and for its score by the great Alex North. Read more…

BERNARD HERRMANN – Fathers of Film Music, Part 7

December 1, 2014 1 comment

Bernard HerrmannArticle by Craig Lysy

Born: 29 July 1911, New York, New York.
Died: 24 December 1975

“Near the snow, near the sun, in the highest fields. See how these names are feted by the waving grass, and by the streamers of white cloud, and whispers of wind in the listening sky… The names of those who in their lives fought for life, who wore at their hearts the fire’s center. ”

Herrmann carried this excerpt from a poem by Stephen Spender in his wallet his entire life. Within its words are found the burning nexus of this remarkable man.

Bernard Herrmann was born in New York City, the first of three children by Abraham and Ida Herrmann, one of many Jewish families that fled the Tsarist Russian pogroms of the 1880s. His father inculcated Bernard with a love and appreciation of the arts, taking him to the opera as well as having him tutored in the violin. His artistic gift manifested early when he won a composition prize at the age of thirteen. He decided early in life to concentrate on music and so after high school enrolled at New York University. Read more…