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Posts Tagged ‘100 Greatest Scores’

THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN ARM – Elmer Bernstein

May 8, 2017 1 comment

100 GREATEST SCORES OF ALL TIME

Original Review by Craig Lysy

Actor John Garfield came across Nelson Algren’s novel The Man with the Golden Arm (1949) and was inspired to bring it to the big screen. He purchased the film rights and planned to take on the lead role of Frankie. He immediately ran into censoring problems as the Production Code Authority (PCA) and the Catholic National League of Decency (NLD) would not sanction the film because it featured drug trafficking and drug addiction. The film’s fate passed to renowned director Otto Preminger after he was bequeathed the film rights following Garfield’s death in 1952. Preminger related that he was attracted to the story because “I think there’s a great tragedy in any human being who gets hooked on something, whether it’s heroin or love or a woman or whatever.” Like Garfield, Preminger ran into a wall with the PCA and NLD, but he was determined to overcome all obstacles to fulfill his vision. He brought in Algren to adapt his novel, but personality clashes led to Algren’s replacement with screenwriter Walter Newman. Significant changes to the story were made, which led Algren to sue Preminger for the film rights, however the suit was later dropped as Algren could not afford the legal expenses. Read more…

GODZILLA [GOJIRA] – Akira Ifukube

May 1, 2017 Leave a comment

100 GREATEST SCORES OF ALL TIME

Original Review by Craig Lysy

Toho studio producer Tomoyuki Tanaka was greatly impressed by the film The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms (1953) and resolved to create a Japanese version. He penned his own script and pitched it to Toho Studio executive Iwao Mori, who signed off on the project. Renowned special effects director Eiji Tsuburaya was hired and affirmed that it was financially and technologically feasible to create the monster, suggesting the use suitmation (an actor in a costume suit) over stop motion animation. Ishirō Honda was given the reigns to direct the film and he selected a fine cast which included Akira Takarada as Captain Hideto Ogata, Momoko Kochi as Emiko Yamane, Akihiko Hirata as Daisuke Serizawa and Takashi Shimura as Dr. Kyohei Yamane. The screenplay underwent several incarnations, evolving over time with contributions from many writers including Tsuburaya, science fiction writer Shigeru Kayama, Takeo Murata, and Honda. Read more…

THE SEVEN SAMURAI [SHICHININ NO SAMURAI] – Fumio Hayasaka

April 24, 2017 1 comment

100 GREATEST SCORES OF ALL TIME

Original Review by Craig Lysy

Groundbreaking Japanese director Akira Kurosawa was researching samurai lore for a planned film that would focus on a single day in a samurai’s life. He abandoned this idea when Toho Studio producer Sōjirō Motoki presented him with a tale, which intrigued him – aggrieved farmers hiring samurais to protect their village from bandits. He crafted a script with the assistance of Shinobu Hashimoto and Hideo Oguni, and secured Motoki’s blessings to proceed. This would mark Kurosawa’s first foray into a samurai film and he recruited a fine cast to realize his vision. He meticulously researched historical samurai to create identities for each of the seven. For his seven samurai he brought in Takashi Shimura as Kanbei Shimada, a war-weary ronin who leads the group; Yoshio Inaba as Gorōbei Katayama, a master archer and second in command; Daisuke Katō as Shichirōji, Shimada’s former lieutenant; Sejii Miyaguchi as Kyūzō, a skilled swordsman; Minoru Chiaki as the amiable Heihachi Hayashida; Isao Kimura as Katsushiro Okamoto, a young and untested warrior; and lastly Toshiro Mifune as the comic Kikuchiyo, a commoner pretending to be a samurai who eventually earns the right to be called one. Read more…

ON THE WATERFRONT – Leonard Bernstein

April 17, 2017 Leave a comment

100 GREATEST SCORES OF ALL TIME

Original Review by Craig Lysy

Director Elia Kazan and novelist/playwright Arthur Miller sought to bring to the big screen a tough and gritty tale of New Jersey longshoremen who struggled to make a living in the late 1940s against mobsters and corrupt union officials. When they could not find any traction with the studios, Miller moved on, but Kazan never gave up on the idea. When he came upon a new screenplay by Budd Schulberg based upon a series of Pulitzer Prize winning articles “Crime on the Waterfront” by Malcolm Johnson, his hopes were rekindled. Well Kazan purchased the film rights and he and Schulberg pitched the screenplay to studio executive Darryl Zanuck of 20th Century Fox, but were rebuffed, with him saying, “Who’s going to care about a bunch of sweaty longshoremen?” Undeterred, Kazan sought out independent producer Sam Spiegel who managed to strike a deal with Columbia Pictures. For the film Kazan brought in a cast for the ages with Marlon Brando as Terry Malloy, Karl Malden as Father Barry, Lee Cobb as Johnny Friendly, Rod Steiger as Charlie Malloy, and Eve Marie Saint as Edie Doyle. Read more…

SHANE – Victor Young

April 10, 2017 Leave a comment

100 GREATEST SCORES OF ALL TIME

Original Review by Craig Lysy

Director George Stevens of Paramount often relied on his son to screen material for future projects. One night George Jr. brought him the novel “Shane” by Jack Schaefer, which he thought was “a really good story”, and counseled him to read it. Well, the storytelling was indeed exceptional and Stevens resolved to bring it to the big screen. He hired A. B. Guthrie Jr. to write the screenplay based on his familiarity with Western lore, and then set out to recruit his cast. His initial choices for the lead roles of Montgomery Clift, William Holden and Katherine Hepburn did not pan out, and so Alan Ladd was cast in the titular role and joined with a fine supporting cast, which included Jean Arthur as Marian Starrett, Van Heflin as Joe Starrett, Brandon deWilde as Joey Starrett, Emile Meyer as Rufus Ryker, and Jack Palance as Jack Wilson. Read more…

THE ROBE – Alfred Newman

April 3, 2017 Leave a comment

100 GREATEST SCORES OF ALL TIME

Original Review by Craig Lysy

20th Century Fox Studio chief Darryl Zanuck chose to use “The Robe” to introduce his new creation Cinemascope to the world. Cinemascope used an anamorphic lens that allowed the filming process to create an image of up to a 2.66:1 aspect ratio, almost twice as wide as the industry standard. He hired veteran Henry Koster to direct and adapted the script from the novel by Lloyd Douglas, which he had envisioned for years. “The Robe” is a Biblical epic, a love story and a tale of a man’s struggle for redemption. Marcellus (Richard Burton) is a Roman military tribune from a noble family who offends Caligula, heir to the Roman throne. In retribution he is deployed to Palestine, thus separating him from his life of luxury and his lover Diana (Jean Simmons). Upon his arrival he is given command of the unit charged with executing Jesus Christ, which he dutifully discharges. While drunk he happens to win in a craps game Jesus’ homespun robe after the crucifixion. The death of Jesus affects Marcellus profoundly, and henceforth he is tormented by recurring nightmares, delusions and guilt for his role in his crucifixion. On orders from Tiberius he returns to Palestine in search of the robe, which he believes has bewitched him. He thus begins a personal journey that will lead him to discover faith, forgiveness and ultimately redemption. The film was a huge critical success, winning two Oscars and a Golden Globe for Best Picture. The film and Cinemascope were also a huge commercial success, earning profits seven times that of its production costs. Read more…

HIGH NOON – Dimitri Tiomkin

March 27, 2017 1 comment

100 GREATEST SCORES OF ALL TIME

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 and hired European director Fred Zinnemann to direct. For the film 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 Tiomkin. Read more…