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GONE WITH THE WIND – Max Steiner

November 30, 2015 2 comments

gonewiththewind100 GREATEST SCORES OF ALL TIME

Original Review by Craig Lysy

Margaret Mitchell’s 1936 novel Gone With The Wind caught legendary producer David O. Selznick’s eye and he saw destiny in the making. At his bidding MGM purchased the film rights for an unprecedented $50,000. This was a passion project for Selznick and no expense would defer him from realizing his vision. Screenwriter Sidney Howard was hired to do the impossible – adapt the massive 1,037-page story to the big screen. Victor Fleming was tasked with directing and a cast that has become legend were hired including Clark Gable as Rhett Butler, Vivien Leigh as Scarlet O’Hara, Leslie Howard as Ashley Wilkes, Olivia de Havilland as Melanie Hamilton, Thomas Mitchell as Gerald O’Hara, Barbara O’Neil as Ellen O’Hara and Hattie McDaniel as Mammy. No movie to this date provided such a grand and epic sweep, and in the end six hours of film were shot, which featured thousands of actors. Set in the Antebellum era of the American South circa 1860, it tells a story of Scarlet O’Hara, daughter of Gerald O’Hara a wealthy cotton plantation owner. We bear witness to her many loves, her willfulness, indomitable spirit, and lastly her capacity to persevere and achieve her goals, no matter the cost. Her story unfolds at the O’Hara family plantation estate Tara on the eve of the American Civil War. The war unleashes a brutal clash of cultures, which results in desolation and ruin for the South, the ending of a way of life, and the pillaging of Tara, all swept away in its unforgiving and destructive torrents. Selznick’s vision was achieved as the film was an astounding commercial success earning $32 million or thirteen times its production cost of $3.85 million. It also received universal praise from critics and was rewarded with an unprecedented thirteen Academy Award nominations, earning eight wins including; Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress, Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, and Best Art Direction. The film has a significant legacy, ranked fourth by the American Film Institutes 100 Greatest Movies list. Read more…

CREED – Ludwig Göransson

November 27, 2015 Leave a comment

creedOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

The seventh film in the iconic Rocky series of boxing-themed movies, Creed continues the story of Philly pugilist Rocky Balboa, who fought his way from nothing to become Heavyweight Champion of the World. Nine years after the events of the last film, Rocky is still in Philadelphia, running the restaurant named after his late wife Adrian, and generally staying out of the limelight. Things change when he is approached by a young fighter from Los Angeles named Adonis ‘Donny’ Johnson, who is actually the long-estranged son of Rocky’s former rival and great friend Apollo Creed, who had been killed in the ring thirty years previously (during Rocky IV). Rocky reluctantly agrees to train Adonis, and the two develop a father-son bond; simultaneously, Adonis begins a relationship with an aspiring singer-songwriter named Bianca. However, things change on several fronts when Adonis is challenged by the British world light heavyweight champion Ricky Conlan, and when Rocky develops health problems and is forced to confront his own mortality. Read more…

WUTHERING HEIGHTS – Alfred Newman

November 23, 2015 Leave a comment

wutheringheights100 GREATEST SCORES OF ALL TIME

Original Review by Craig Lysy

Alfred Newman’s score to this Emily Bronte classic out performs all that have followed in this genre and offers irrefutable testimony to his supreme gift, and mastery of his craft. It provides a grand and operatic sweep full of passion, pathos and tragedy. Indeed Wuthering Heights offers what some critics believe to be the finest score for tragic love in film score art. Remarkably, there is currently no CD recording of the complete score that is commercially available. This is for me completely baffling, and a totally unacceptable state of affairs, which needs to be rectified. What I suggest in the interim is the compilation CD “Wuthering Heights: A Tribute to Alfred Newman” by Richard Kaufman with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and New Zealand Youth Chorus, which provides a 12:46 minute suite. Newman’s primary themes are presented and it does a fine job revealing the beauty of his music. The additional suites on the album are also well worth your exploration. Read more…

ASSASSIN’S CREED: SYNDICATE – Austin Wintory

November 20, 2015 Leave a comment

assassinscreedsyndicateGAME ZONE REVIEW

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The ninth entry in the main series of Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed video games, Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate is one of the most eagerly-awaited game titles of 2015. Set in London in 1868 during the Industrial Revolution, the story follows twins Jacob and Evie Frye as they navigate the corridors of organized crime during the Victorian era. The story relates to the overarching narrative of the entire series, which primarily revolves around the rivalry between two ancient secret societies – the Assassins and the Knights Templar. The Fryes are members of the Assassins, seeking to take down the Templars who occupy the majority of the positions of power in society, and are aided in their quest by notable figures of the era including Charles Dickens, Charles Darwin, Karl Marx, Florence Nightingale, and even Queen Victoria herself. Read more…

KING SOLOMON’S MINES – Jerry Goldsmith

November 19, 2015 1 comment

kingsolomonsminesTHROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

With the massive box office success of the two Indiana Jones films, Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Temple of Doom, several film producers sought to bring to the silver screen a ‘rugged historical adventurer’ of their own. Cannon Films had acquired the rights to H. Rider Haggard’s classic novel King Solomon’s Mines and its main character Allan Quatermain, and put into production a light, family-friendly version of the tale, with J. Lee Thompson directing, and Richard Chamberlain in the lead role. The film is set in the early 1900s and follows Quatermain, who is hired by the beautiful Jesse Huston (Sharon Stone) to find her father, who has disappeared in central Africa while searching for the fabled mines of the title. The expedition brings Quatermain in contact with numerous dangers and enemies, not least of which is a rival expedition led by the ruthless Colonel Bockner (Herbert Lom), who will stop at nothing to find the mines himself. Read more…

SPOTLIGHT – Howard Shore

November 17, 2015 Leave a comment

spotlightOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

In 2002 four journalists with the Boston Globe newspaper – Walter “Robby” Robinson, Michael Rezendes, Sacha Pfeiffer, and Matt Carroll – uncovered a massive scandal involving the Catholic church in Massachusetts, specifically relating to the fact that the diocesan hierarchy in the city knew about, and helped cover up the acts of, dozens and dozens of priests who sexually abused literally hundreds of children over the course of several decades. The fallout from the investigation was known as the Massachusetts Catholic Sex Abuse Scandal, led to the trial and subsequent imprisonment of dozens of priests, and rocked the hierarchy within the Catholic church, in America, and across the world. Tom McCarthy’s film Spotlight looks at how the four journalists – who went on to win the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service – broke the story. It stars Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams and Brian d’Arcy James as the journalists, and has a wonderful supporting cast of character actors, including Stanley Tucci, Liev Schreiber, John Slattery, Jamey Sheridan, Paul Guilfoyle, and Billy Crudup. Read more…

THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD – Erich Wolfgang Korngold

November 16, 2015 Leave a comment

adventuresofrobinhood100 GREATEST SCORES OF ALL TIME

Original Review by Craig Lysy

I offer my heartfelt thanks to Anna Bonn, John Morgan and William Stromberg for yet another masterful rerecording of a treasured Golden Age score. Performed by the Moscow Symphony Orchestra, the sound quality is superb as is conductor Stromberg’s mastery of Korngold’s music. This expert team have once again superbly reconstructed and re-recorded the entire score with outstanding quality. This score is a rousing, rich, multi-thematic effort that offers you the regal splendor and gallantry of Medieval England. The story was Errol Flynn’s vehicle, and his brash, bold, charismatic and fiercely defiant persona animated the film. Korngold music is perfectly attenuated to his heroic persona and expertly captured his irrepressible spirit. From the fanfare of the Main Title, to the lush Love Theme where the Lady Marian succumbs to his charm, to the epic and culminating Duel, this score is a testimony to Korngold’s genius, and mastery of his craft. His countless melodies and fan fares are timeless, peerless, and continue to echo through time. Read more…