THE AGONY AND THE ECSTASY – Alex North

February 8, 2021 Leave a comment

MOVIE MUSIC UK CLASSICS

Original Review by Craig Lysy

20th Century Fox Studio executive Peter Levathes took notice of Irving Stone’s best-selling novel 1961 The Agony and the Ecstasy with almost 51 million copies sold and saw opportunity. He purchased the film rights for $125,000, yet was unable to proceed with the project as the studio suffered significant financial reversals in 1962 due to cost overruns on several films, most notable “Cleopatra”. Industry icon Daryl F. Zanuck was brought in to save the studio, and within 12 months it was again operating in the black. This allowed him to move “The Agony and the Ecstasy” into production. Carol Reed was hired to both produce and direct the film with a $7.2 million budget. A stellar cast was hired including Charlton Heston as Michelangelo, Rex Harrison as Pope Julius II, Diane Cilento as Contessina Antonia Romola de Medici, Harry Andrews as Donata Bramente and Albert Lupo as the Duke of Urbino. Read more…

ENNIO MORRICONE REVIEWS, Part IX

February 7, 2021 Leave a comment

In this ninth installment of my series looking at the early careers of iconic composers, we take a look at half a dozen scores written by the legendary Ennio Morricone in 1970. The scores include an intense action thriller, a revenge-themed war film, a historical epic drama that sounds like a dance party, an abstract score for a crime drama, and two scores containing what many people consider to be two of his all-time greatest themes, one of which is my personal all time favorite Morricone love theme! Read more…

NOT WITHOUT MY DAUGHTER – Jerry Goldsmith

February 5, 2021 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Not Without My Daughter was a true-life political drama/thriller directed by Brian Gilbert, based on the autobiographical book of the same name by Betty Mahmoody and William Hoffer. Sally Field plays Betty, a typical American housewife and mother married to an Iranian doctor, Sayed Mahmoody (Alfred Molina). When Betty and Sayed travel to Iran to visit his family, Betty finds herself plunged into a nightmare when Sayed announces that they will be staying in the country; surrounded by an unfamiliar culture, and with Sayed becoming increasingly abusive and controlling, Betty makes the difficult decision to flee the country and return to the United States, and hatches a dangerous plan to smuggle herself and her daughter across the border to the US consulate in Turkey. Read more…

IFMCA Award Nominations 2020

February 4, 2021 Leave a comment

INTERNATIONAL FILM MUSIC CRITICS ASSOCIATION AWARD NOMINATIONS ANNOUNCED

DANIEL PEMBERTON AND HANS ZIMMER RECEIVE FIVE NOMINATIONS EACH; COMEDY CATEGORY DOMINATED BY WOMEN COMPOSERS; FIRST EVER JAPANESE FILM NOMINATED FOR SCORE OF THE YEAR

FEBRUARY 4, 2021. The International Film Music Critics Association (IFMCA) announces its list of nominees for excellence in musical scoring in 2020, for the 17th annual IFMCA Awards. British composer Daniel Pemberton and German composer Hans Zimmer lead the field with the most number of nominations, each receiving a total of five.

Pemberton’s nominations were for his work on three films: the literary adventure “Enola Holmes,” based on the popular young adult novels by Nancy Springer about the younger sister of the legendary sleuth Sherlock; the political drama “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” which looks at the real-life trial of a group of anti–Vietnam War protesters charged with inciting riots at the 1968 Democratic National Convention; and “Rising Phoenix,” an acclaimed documentary following the stories of nine Paralympic athletes. “Enola Holmes” is nominated for Score of the Year, and Pemberton is nominated for Composer of the Year. IFMCA member James Southall called Enola Holmes “a great orchestral adventure romp, whose quirks only add to its great sense of fun … conventional by recent Pemberton standards but still features a number of quirks and it feels so continually fresh and energetic … one of the year’s strongest scores”.

Zimmer’s five nominations were all for his work on one film, “Wonder Woman 1984,” the blockbuster sequel to the 2017 DC superhero film directed by Patty Jenkins, and starring Gal Gadot and Chris Pine. The score is nominated for Score of the Year and in its Fantasy/Sci-Fi/Horror genre, Zimmer is nominated for Composer of the Year, and two of Zimmer’s individual cues – “1984” and “Themyscira” – are nominated for Film Music Composition of the Year. IFMCA member Jon Broxton praised the score’s “upbeat attitude, its buoyant sense of fun and optimism, and the unashamed, un-ironic sincerity of its emotional content,” and said that “the depth and complexity of Zimmer’s thematic ideas makes the score satisfying from an intellectual point of view, meaning that the whole thing succeeds on every count.” Read more…

Categories: News and Announcements Tags: ,

Golden Globe Nominations 2020

February 3, 2021 Leave a comment

goldenglobeThe Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) has announced the nominations for the 78th Golden Globe Awards, honoring the best in film and American television of 2020.

In the Best Original Score category, the nominees are:

  • ALEXANDRE DESPLAT for The Midnight Sky
  • LUDWIG GÖRANSSON for Tenet
  • JAMES NEWTON HOWARD for News of the World
  • TRENT REZNOR and ATTICUS ROSS for Mank
  • TRENT REZNOR, ATTICUS ROSS, and JON BATISTE for Soul

This is the 12th nomination for Desplat, who previously won Globes for The Painted Veil in 2006 and The Shape of Water in 2017; the second nomination for Göransson; the third nomination for Howard; and the fourth and fifth nominations for Reznor and Ross, who won the award for The Social Network in 2010. The sole debutante is Jon Batiste.

In the Best Original Song category, the nominees are:

  • NICCOLÒ AGLIARDI, LAURA PAUSINI, and DIANE WARREN for “Io Sì (Seen)” from The Life Ahead
  • SAM ASHWORTH and LESLIE ODOM JR. for “Speak Now” from One Night in Miami
  • ANDRA DAY and RAPHAEL SAADIQ for “Tigress and Tweed” from The United States vs. Billie Holliday
  • DERNST “D’MILE” EMILE II, GABRIELLA WILSON (H.E.R.), and TIARA THOMAS for “Fight for You” from Judas and the Black Messiah
  • CELESTE WAITE and DANIEL PEMBERTON for “Hear My Voice” from The Trial of the Chicago 7

The winners of the 78th Golden Globe Awards will be announced on February 28, 2020.

SCL Award Nominations 2020

February 1, 2021 Leave a comment

The Society of Composers and Lyricists (SCL) has announced the nominations for the second annual SCL Awards, honoring the best in film and television music in 2020. The SCL is the premier professional trade group for composers, lyricists, and songwriters working in the motion picture, television, and game music industry, and is headquartered in Los Angeles. The nominees are:

OUTSTANDING ORIGINAL SCORE FOR A STUDIO FILM

  • TERENCE BLANCHARD for Da 5 Bloods
  • LUDWIG GÖRANSSON for Tenet
  • JAMES NEWTON HOWARD for News of the World
  • TRENT REZNOR and ATTICUS ROSS for Mank
  • TRENT REZNOR, ATTICUS ROSS, and JON BATISTE for Soul

OUTSTANDING ORIGINAL SCORE FOR AN INDEPENDENT FILM

  • SHERRI CHUNG for The Lost Husband
  • EMILE MOSSERI for Minari
  • STEVEN PRICE for David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet
  • LOLITA RITMANIS for Blizzard of Souls
  • TAMAR-KALI for Shirley

OUTSTANDING ORIGINAL SCORE FOR A TELEVISION OR STREAMING PRODUCTION

  • LUDWIG GÖRANSSON for The Mandalorian
  • LAURA KARPMAN and RAPHAEL SAADIQ for Lovecraft Country
  • BLAKE NEELY for The Flight Attendant
  • MARTIN PHIPPS for The Crown
  • CARLOS RAFAEL RIVERA for The Queen’s Gambit

OUTSTANDING ORIGINAL SONG FOR VISUAL MEDIA

  • ERRAN BARON COHEN, SACHA BARON COHEN, and ANTHONY HINES for “Wuhan Flu” from Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
  • LAURA KARPMAN, RAPHAEL SAADIQ, and SONIA SANCHEZ for “Tulsa 1921, Catch the Fire” from Lovecraft Country
  • SAVAN KOTECHA, FAT MAX GSUS, and RICKARD GORANSSON for “Husavik” from Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga
  • TRENT REZNOR and ATTICUS ROSS for “(If You Could) Only Save Me” from Mank
  • DIANE WARREN for “Free” from The One and Only Ivan

OUTSTANDING ORIGINAL SCORE FOR INTERACTIVE MEDIA

  • ILAN ESHKERI and SHIGERU UMEBAYASHI for Ghost of Tsushima
  • GORDY HAAB for Star Wars: Squadrons
  • GARRY SCHYMAN and MIKOLAI STROINSKI for Metamorphosis

SPIRIT OF COLLABORATION AWARD

  • SPIKE LEE and TERENCE BLANCHARD

The winners of the 2nd SCL Awards will be announced on 2 March, 2021.

Categories: News and Announcements Tags: ,

DARK VICTORY – Max Steiner

February 1, 2021 Leave a comment

MOVIE MUSIC UK CLASSICS

Original Review by Craig Lysy

Actress Bette Davis discovered the play “Dark Victory” and was determined to play Judith Traherne in a big screen production. She convinced Warner Brothers producers Hal Wallis and David Lewis, as well as Director Edmund Goulding to take on the project. Yet they did not have the film rights, which they had to purchase from David O. Selznick for $50,000. The film would be based on the 1934 play “Dark Victory” by George Emerson Brewer Jr. and Bertram Bloch, with Casey Robinson hired to write the screenplay. A budget of $1 million was provided and a truly stellar cast assembled. Joining Davis would be George Brent as Dr. Frederick Steele, Humphrey Bogart as Michael O’Leary, Geraldine Fitzgerald as Ann King, Henry Travers as Dr. Parsons, Ronald Reagan as Alex Hamm and Cora Witherspoon as Carrie Spottswood. Read more…

LIONHEART – John Scott

January 28, 2021 1 comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

One of the most unlikely movie stars of the 1990s – or any decade, really – was the Belgian martial arts champion Jean-Claude Van Damme. A fortuitous series of events led to him becoming friends with fellow action movie star Chuck Norris, which in turn led to his breakout acting performance in the film Bloodsport in 1988. Through subsequent films like Cyborg and Kickboxer, Van Damme’s reputation for choreographing bone crunching action sequences made him a sort of B-movie equivalent to Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone, a man for whom all problems can be solved with a roundhouse kick to the face. The 1991 action movie Lionheart was the first Van Damme movie financed by a major studio (Universal); in it he plays Lyon Gaultier, an officer in the French Foreign Legion stationed in Djibouti who is forced to go AWOL and travel to Los Angeles to look after his seriously injured twin brother and his family. In order to pay for the medical care Gaultier agrees to take part in a series of underground martial arts fights – and if that were not enough, he also discovers that his superiors in the French military are searching for him, so that he can be court-martialed for desertion. The film was directed by Sheldon Lettich, and co-stars Harrison Page and Deborah Rennard. Read more…

Movie Music UK Awards 2020

January 26, 2021 Leave a comment

2020 has been, by far, the strangest year in living memory for both films and film music. The rampant COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic shuttered cinemas around the world and pushed the overwhelming majority of the mainstream studio tentpoles to 2021, 2022, or to an ignominious debut on one of the several streaming services. As such, the list of scores that were released during the calendar year became something of a crapshoot, with no-one ever being quite sure what would come out from one year to the next. As a result of all this, my list of Scores of the Year for 2020 is an independent studio’s dream – there is only one major blockbuster score among my top ten.

It’s perhaps the most eclectic and non-commercial awards I have ever done, but with many of the traditional big guns missing from the list, it allowed a large number of exceptionally talented newcomers and perhaps lesser-known journeymen and women a chance to shine in the spotlight.

Ultimately four of my five nominees for Score of the Year came from British productions – perhaps an indication that circumstances on that side of the pond were slightly less impacted by everything – and amazingly none of those Top 5 scores were written by American composers – quite a change from the usual set of dominant markers. Instead, in addition to the Brits, we have scores from Japan and Spain in the top ten, and as you go further and further down the list you will find numerous unexpected choices, ranging historical dramas and adventure fantasies from Germany, horror films from Norway, super hero-themed thrillers from Spain, documentaries from Israel by way of China, romantic comedies from Ireland, and so much more! So, without further ado, here are my choices… Read more…

IL GATTOPARDO – Nino Rota

January 25, 2021 Leave a comment

100 GREATEST SCORES OF ALL TIME

Original Review by Craig Lysy

Studio executives of the Italian production company Titanus decided to bring to the big screen the popular 1958 best-selling novel Il Gattopardo (The Leopard) by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa. Collaboration with 20th Century Fox brought the necessary financing for a budget of $2 million. Titanus producer Goffredo Lombardo was tasked with the project, and Luchino Visconti brought in to direct. Controversy arose over casting the key role of Prince Don Fabrizio Corbera of Salina as Visconti desired Marlon Brando or Laurence Olivier but the 20th Century Fox leveraged their financing of $2 million to force Burt Lancaster into the role over Visconti’s objections. Joining him would be Claudia Cardinale as Angelica Sedera, Alain Delon as Prince Tancredi Falconeri, and Rina Morelli as Princess Maria Stella of Salina. Read more…

Under-the-Radar Round Up 2020, Part VI

January 22, 2021 1 comment

As the year winds down and the COVID-19 Coronavirus continues still to decimate the 2020 theatrical movie schedule, it appears that yet again a lot of the best film music released comes from smaller international features not as reliant on massive theatrical releases to make their presence felt. As such (and as I did last year under much different circumstances) I am very pleased to present the sixth and final installment (for this calendar year) in my ongoing series of articles looking at the best “under the radar” scores from around the world.

The titles included are a Spanish TV documentary about a legendary footballer, a Norwegian fantasy-horror about Norse gods, a Spanish comedy score set in the 1970s, a raucous animated adventure from Ireland, and three terrific scores from Italy: a mafia thriller, a biopic about a beloved entertainer, and a comedy about serial killers! Read more…

GREEN CARD – Hans Zimmer

January 21, 2021 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Green Card is a romantic comedy-drama written and directed by Peter Weir, starring Gérard Depardieu and Andie MacDowell. Depardieu plays Georges Fauré, an undocumented immigrant from France living in New York, who enters into a ‘green card marriage’ with MacDowell’s character, Brontë Parrish, so that he can stay in the United States. In order to fool the agents from the Immigration and Naturalization Service who are reviewing their case, Georges and Brontë agree to move in together, but quickly find that they have absolutely nothing in common, and before long they can barely tolerate each other. However, true love has a way of emerging in stories like this – and such is the case here, with plenty of hi-jinks and cross-cultural misunderstandings along the way. Green Card was the first English-language leading role for Gérard Depardieu, who was already considered the finest French actor of his generation, and it was mostly a success, with Depardieu winning the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Motion Picture Musical or Comedy. Read more…

PIECES OF A WOMAN – Howard Shore

January 19, 2021 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Pieces of a Woman is a serious, emotionally devastating family drama about a pregnant woman named Martha who, following a shocking event during her home birth, finds her entire life falling apart. Wracked with guilt, Martha finds herself becoming increasingly alienated from her husband and mother, receiving judgmental comments from people around her, and eventually contemplating legal action against her midwife – all while coming to terms with her own feelings about what happened to her and her baby. It’s a searing indictment of the issues many women have to face during their pregnancies, including the assignment of blame, and the extent to which many women are not given full control of what should be one of the most important and personal events of their lives. The film was directed by Hungarian filmmaker Kornél Mundruczó, and was adapted from a 2018 stage play by him and writer Kata Wéber; it stars Vanessa Kirby as Martha, and features support from Shia LaBoeuf, Molly Parker, Sarah Snook, and Ellen Burstyn, all of whom have been mentioned as potential Oscar nominees. The film is also notable for its inclusion of a 24-minute opening birth sequence, which was shot in a single take and was largely improvised in the moment by the actors, director Mundruczó, and camera operator Benjamin Loeb. Read more…

COME SEE THE PARADISE – Randy Edelman

January 14, 2021 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Every once in a while, a piece of film music transcends the movie for which it was written and takes on a life of its own, becoming enormously famous and popular with the general public, despite the majority of them having no idea where it originally came from. If you went to a cinema at any point in the 1990s and watched the trailers you will have heard one such cue: a driving, momentum-filled piece of drama and intensity, filled with surging strings, powerful percussion, epic cymbal clashes, even a cimbalom, before it all ends on a gripping, tension-filled chord. It was used in the trailers for everything from Clear and Present Danger to A Few Good Men, Patriot Games to Philadelphia, Rob Roy, and so many others, and it was of course the legendary “Fire in a Brooklyn Theatre”. But, originally, it came from this score – Come See the Paradise by Randy Edelman. Read more…

Under-the-Radar Round Up 2020, Part V

January 12, 2021 1 comment

As the year winds down and the COVID-19 Coronavirus continues still to decimate the 2020 theatrical movie schedule, it appears that yet again a lot of the best film music released comes from smaller international features not as reliant on massive theatrical releases to make their presence felt. As such (and as I did last year under much different circumstances) I am very pleased to present the fifth installment in my ongoing series of articles looking at the best “under the radar” scores from around the world – this time concentrating on six more of the best scores from the fourth quarter of 2020!

The titles included are a Christmas-themed animated film from Norway, a documentary about the Spanish civil war, a Russian Romeo-and-Juliet style romantic drama, a Dutch WWII spy thriller, a historical romance from Spain, and Italian biopic of a mad genius painter! Read more…