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Posts Tagged ‘100 Greatest Scores’

CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND – John Williams

May 28, 2018 1 comment

100 GREATEST SCORES OF ALL TIME

Original Review by Craig Lysy

Since his youth, Steven Spielberg had aspired to create a feature length science fiction film. His 1970 short story Experiences was his initial conception, which explored teenagers witnessing a wondrous “meteor shower light show” in the night sky. He pitched his idea and secured backing from Columbia Studios to proceed with “Watch the Skies”. Rewrites caused delays, and it was decided that he proceed with another project first, “Jaws”. The enormous financial success of “Jaws” resulted in Columbia Studios granting him significant creative control, which allowed for the development of the science fiction film he had always dreamed of. The script was written by Spielberg, but had input and additional refinements by several screenwriters. The title was changed to its final form as a derivation of ufologist J. Allen Hynek’s classification methodology for “close encounters”. Spielberg assembled a fine cast anchored by “Jaws” star Richard Dreyfuss as Roy Neary, Francois Truffault as Claude Lacombe, Melinda Dillon as Jillian Guiler, Teri Garr as Veronica Neary, and Cary Guffey as Barry Guiler. Read more…

STAR WARS – John Williams

May 21, 2018 Leave a comment

100 GREATEST SCORES OF ALL TIME

Original Review by Craig Lysy

George Lucas conceived of a space adventure drawn from the Flash Gordon sequels in 1971 following the completion of his first feature film, THX 1138. When his efforts to secure film rights were rebuffed, he resolved to create his own fantasy adventure. He wrote a script in 1973 and producer Larry Kurtz assisted him in securing financing, but United Artists, Disney and Universal Studios all declined, stating that they found the story strange. Lucas however persevered and finally obtained backing by 20th Century Studio exec Alan Ladd Jr. The script evolved through several incarnations, finally coalescing into the film version in 1975. Lucas formed a visual effects company, Industrial Light & Magic to realize his technical vision, which would demand visuals not seen before by the industry. The film and company would provide a seminal event, which would usher in a new age of filmmaking. Read more…

ROCKY – Bill Conti

April 23, 2018 1 comment

100 GREATEST SCORES OF ALL TIME

Original Review by Craig Lysy

Sylvester Stallone was enduring hard times in 1975. Despite having appeared in a few movies – including The Lords of Flatbush, Farewell My Lovely, and Death Race 2000 – he had only $100 in the bank, and was seeking to sell his dog Butkus because he could not afford to feed it. Ending up on the street was a looming possibility, which focused his resolve to engineer the big career break he needed. Seeking inspiration, Stallone found it in a famous match between heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali and underdog no-hoper Chuck Wepner, who somehow managed to take the legendary Ali to fifteen rounds. Over three nights Stallone wrote a quintessential American rags-to-riches story about a down-and-out boxer named Rocky Balboa. This is a classic underdog narrative, where we bear witness to a determined man, who through perseverance, guile and sheer force of will, overcomes all obstacles to achieve greatness. Entwined within the narrative is a surprisingly tender love story, which served to endear Rocky to audiences as a relatable and fallible hero, one of the common folk whose story informs us that anything is possible. United Artist producers Robert Chartoff and Irwin Winkler loved the script and bought the film rights, with Stallone leveraging its sale with the stipulation that he would star. Studio executives baulked, but when Stallone refused to blink, they acquiesced, but with a severely reduced budget of $1 million. John G. Avildsen was tasked with directing the film. Read more…

THE OMEN – Jerry Goldsmith

April 16, 2018 Leave a comment

theomen100 GREATEST SCORES OF ALL TIME

Original Review by Craig Lysy

Bob Munger, a friend of Producer Harvey Bernhard of 20th Century Fox, suggested that he consider making a supernatural horror drama based on the anti-christ of the apocalypse. Bernhard was intrigued by the idea, and hired screenwriter David Seltzer to come up with a story, who exceeded Bernhard’s expectations and delivered a classic story. Richard Donner was hired to direct and he assembled a stellar cast, which included Gregory Peck as Ambassador Robert Thorn, Lee Remick as his wife Katherine, David Warner as photographer Keith Jennings, Billie Whitelaw as the sinister Mrs. Baylock, Patrick Troughton as Father Brennan, and young Harvey Stephens as Damien Thorn, he young boy at the center of the narrative. Read more…

OBSESSION – Bernard Herrmann

April 9, 2018 1 comment

100 GREATEST SCORES OF ALL TIME

Original Review by Craig Lysy

Brian De Palma had long admired Alfred Hitchcock’s masterwork Vertigo, and resolved to revisit its themes with a new rendering. He convinced Paramount studio executives of his vision for a retelling, and brought in trusted writer Paul Schrader to create a screenplay. Schrader’s crafted a fine original screenplay, titled Déjà Vu, but it was so voluminous that De Palma judged it to be unfilmable. As such he truncated the third act, which was set ten years in the future to achieve a more cogent and filmable storyline. Well, Schrader was outraged, refused to make the requested changes, and the two friends had a falling out, but development of the film continued regardless, ultimately resulting in Obsession. De Palma brought is a seasoned cast, which included Cliff Robertson as Michael Courtland, Geneviève Bujold as Elizabeth Courtland/Sandra Portinari, John Lithgow as Robert Lasalle, and Stocker Fontelieu as Dr. Ellman. Read more…

JAWS – John Williams

April 2, 2018 1 comment

jaws100 GREATEST SCORES OF ALL TIME

Original Review by Craig Lysy

As we today look back to 1975, we recognize that Jaws was a transformative film, which forever altered how the film industry would operate. Jaws inaugurated what has become known in the modern lexicon as, the Summer Blockbuster. After 1975 studio executives would thereafter conceive and fund big summer action and adventure films, which would take the public by storm, and fill studio coffers. The film was adapted from a Peter Benchley novel, which was originally conceived with the title “Leviathan Rising”, but later discarded for Jaws. It is as simple a tale as they come, man against the beast. We find the summer vacation community Amity Island plagued by a series of shark attacks, which threaten the island’s livelihood. Rogue seafarer Quint (Robert Shaw) is hired to hunt down and kill the beast with all dispatch. Accompanying him would be landlubber Police Captain Brody (Roy Scheider) and, oceanographer Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss). They wage war against this massive leviathan, which leads to Quint’s death, the loss of his boat, the Orca, and Hooper and Brody barely surviving. Well, the film was a massive commercial success, which spawned a franchise of sequels. It was also a critical success, earning four Academy Award nominations for Best Picture, Best Film Editing, Best Sound and Best Film Score, winning three; best Film Editing, Best Sound and Best Film Score. Read more…

CHINATOWN – Jerry Goldsmith

March 26, 2018 2 comments

chinatown100 GREATEST SCORES OF ALL TIME

Original Review by Craig Lysy

Producer Robert Evans of Paramount Studio was determined to bring F. Scott Fitzgerald’s literary classic, The Great Gatsby (1925) to the big screen. He hired trusted screenplay writer Robert Towne for $175,000 to write the script. Towne however had a different ambition and managed to convince Evans to take on his own 1930’s detective mystery thriller titled “Water and Power” for $25,000. Well, Evans liked the script saw opportunity, and so moved forward with production. He greatly enjoyed his collaboration with Roman Polanski with Rosemary’s Baby (1968), and so brought him in to direct. They assembled a fine cast, which included Jack Nicholson as detective J.J. “Jake” Gittes, Faye Dunaway as Evelyn Cross Mulwray, John Huston as Noah Cross, John Hillerman as Russ Yelburton, Perry Lopez as Lieutenant Lou Escobar, and Darrell Zwerling as Hollis Mulwray. Read more…

THE GODFATHER, PART II – Nino Rota

March 19, 2018 Leave a comment

godfather2100 GREATEST SCORES OF ALL TIME

Original Review by Craig Lysy

The Godfather proved to be a sensational critical success and cash cow for Paramount Studio. That there would be a sequel was a foregone conclusion, and studio executives planned to capitalize quickly. Francis Ford Coppola desired to produce, not direct the film, however he returned grudgingly to the franchise as director after the studio rejected his selection of Martin Scorsese to replace him as director. Regretfully Marlon Brando, who felt mistreated by the studio, refused to reprise his role, but six of his fellow stars did including Al Pacino as Michael Corleone, Robert Duvall as Tom Hagen, Talia Shire as Connie Corleone, Diane Keaton as Kay-Adams Corleone, Abe Vigoda as Salvatore Tessio, and Joe Spinelli as Willi Cicci. Joining the cast for the first time were Robert De Niro as the young Vito Corleone, and John Cazale as Fredo Corleone. Read more…

PATTON – Jerry Goldsmith

March 12, 2018 Leave a comment

patton100 GREATEST SCORES OF ALL TIME

Original Review by Craig Lysy

A Patton biopic film was first conceived by Frank McCarthy, a retired general working as a producer for 20th Century Fox in the 1950s. After selling the concept to Studio Executive Richard Zanuck, a screenplay was commissioned that resulted in two incarnations, one by Francis Ford Coppola and another by Edmund H. North. Over time these two screenplays were eventually merged into a single version. Both efforts drew inspiration from two books, Patton: Ordeal And Triumph, a biography by Ladislas Farago and A Soldier’s Story, the memoir of General Omar Bradley. After many years of ‘fine-tuning’, a final script was born and the search for a director and lead actor proceeded in earnest, eventually settling upon Franklin J. Schaffner and George C. Scott respectively. The film from the start was a one-man show, a biopic of a giant among men. Patton can best be described as charismatic, complicated and contradictory; he was deeply religious and yet both vulgar and profane, he was an insufferable narcissist and yet a supreme patriotic, and lastly he was a military tactical genius and yet a poor post war administrator. The film covered Patton’s rise to prominence in World War II during his military campaigns in Tunisia, Sicily, France and the occupation of Germany. It suffices to say that Scott’s performance was a tour de force that transcended the film and earned him a best actor Oscar award that he ungraciously declined to accept. The film went on to win seven Oscars including best picture and remains a popular film to this day. Read more…

THE LION IN WINTER – John Barry

March 5, 2018 3 comments

lioninwinter100 GREATEST SCORES OF ALL TIME

Original Review by Craig Lysy

Producer Joe Levine had a contract with Peter O’Toole and was looking for a film to again showcase his talent. He found the vehicle in the Broadway play “The Lion In Winter” by James Goldman that offered dramatic dialogue, which would play to O’Toole’s thespian strengths. Anthony Harvey was brought in to direct the film and they hired an amazing cast to support Peter O’Toole (King Henry II), which included Katherine Hepburn (Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine), their three sons, Anthony Hopkins (Richard), John Castle (Geoffrey), and Nigel Terry (John). Also joining was Jane Morrow (Henry’s mistress Alais) and Timothy Dalton (King Philip II of France). Hopkins and Dalton were both making their screen acting debuts. Read more…

PLANET OF THE APES – Jerry Goldsmith

February 26, 2018 2 comments

100 GREATEST SCORES OF ALL TIME

Original Review by Craig Lysy

Producer Arthur P. Jacobs sold 20th Century Fox on a bold new effort to reinvigorate the science fiction genre, which had languished since the start of the decade. The vehicle for the genre resurrection would be Pierre Boulle’s 1963 novel La Planète des Singes (Planet of the Apes). After securing the film rights Rod Serling and Michael Wilson were tasked with writing the screenplay. The technical challenges of the required prosthetic make-up delayed the film for quite some time. Fox Studios finally gave the green light to film when make-up designer John Chambers developed prosthetics flexible enough for the actors to express facial emotions. Jacobs had always seen Charlton Heston playing the lead role of John Taylor and on his request, Franklin Schaffner was hired to direct. A fine cast was assembled, which included Roddy McDowell as Cornelius, Kim Hunter as Zira, Maurice Evans as Dr. Zaius, James Daly as Honorius, Lou Wagner as Lucius, and Linda Harrison as Nova. Read more…

BULLITT – Lalo Schifrin

February 19, 2018 1 comment

100 GREATEST SCORES OF ALL TIME

Original Review by Craig Lysy

Steve McQueen was seeking a script for his next film and took a liking to author Robert Fish’s novel Mute Witness (1963). His production company Solar Productions purchased the film rights, and brought in Alan Trustman and Henry Kleiner to write the screenplay. He made a surprising choice to bring in English director Peter Yates after viewing the stunning extended car chase scene in his last movie, Robbery (1967). McQueen chose to change the film’s title to “Bullitt”, which based his character Frank Bullitt on real life San Francisco Inspector Dave Toschi, with who he studied as part of his training and orientation to police procedures and practices. McQueen would play the titular role, which would be a departure for him in that for the first time he would abandon his ‘rebel’ persona and join the Establishment as a police officer. To round out the cast, McQueen brought in Robert Vaughn as Walter Chalmers and Jacqueline Bisset as Cathy. Read more…

THE GOOD THE BAD AND THE UGLY – Ennio Morricone

November 27, 2017 1 comment

100 GREATEST SCORES OF ALL TIME

Original Review by Craig Lysy

The commercial success of the Spaghetti Westerns A Fistful of Dollars and For A Few More Dollars caught the eyes of studio executives at United Artists. They contacted Italian screenwriter Luciano Vincenzoni, offered him a contract, and expressed a desire to purchase film rights for the next installment. The Italian creative team of producer Alberto Grimaldi, director Sergio Leone and Vincenzoni met and agreed to collaborate. They proposed a story set during the American Civil War, where three rogues join in an uneasy alliance in search of buried treasure. United Artists agreed to the storyline and provided a generous budget of $1.2 million. Vincenzoni joined with Leone, Agenore Incrocci, and Furio Scarpelli to create the screenplay that was not without controversy, in that it eschewed the traditional Americana romanticism. It instead offered a potent social commentary on capitalism, greed, as well as the destructiveness and absurdity of war. Its heroes are less pure, less righteous and more morally ambiguous, where the clear lines between hero and villain are blurred. Read more…

DOCTOR ZHIVAGO – Maurice Jarre

November 20, 2017 Leave a comment

100 GREATEST SCORES OF ALL TIME

Original Review by Craig Lysy

Doctor Zhivago was adapted by screenwriter Robert Bolt from the famous novel written by Boris Pasternak. The original manuscript was smuggled out of the Soviet Union in 1957 and awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1958. Director David Lean recruited a stellar cast for his film that included Omar Shariff as Yuri Zhivago, Geraldine Chaplin as his wife Tonya, Rod Steiger as Viktor Komarovsky, Tom Courtenay as General Pasha Strelnikov, Alec Guinness as Yuri’s half-brother Yevgraf and finally, Julie Christie as Lara Guishar. This timeless and epic film tells the tale of young lovers drawn together by fate, caught in the cruel currents of war, clinging desperately to each other to survive amidst the clash of empires, as they bear witness to a grand romantic age succumbing to a cruel and violent new order. It is a magnificent film of sweeping and poetic grandeur for which I am eternally grateful. The film was a critical success earning 10 Oscar nominations, winning five including Best Score for Jarre. It was also a commercial success earning $112 million, more than sufficient to cover its production costs of 11 million. Read more…

GOLDFINGER – John Barry

November 13, 2017 Leave a comment

100 GREATEST SCORES OF ALL TIME

Original Review by Craig Lysy

Producers Albert Broccoli and Harry Saltzman wished to capitalize on the burgeoning success of the Bond franchise, but could not proceed with the next installment “Thunderball” due to ongoing litigation between Ian Fleming and Kevin McClory over screenplay rights. As such they decided to move forward with Fleming’s next novel, Goldfinger. Guy Hamilton would return as director and was rewarded with a budget, which exceeded that of the first two Bond films combined. A fine cast was assembled, but not without significant challenges. Orson Welles was approached for the role of Auric Goldfinger, but his salary demands were too high. As such they brought in German actor Gert Frobe to play the titular role, but his poor English necessitated dubbing his lines. Sean Connery returned to reprise his role as James Bond with Honor Blackman joining as Pussy Galore, Shirley Eaton as Jill Masterson, Harold Sakata as Oddjob, Bernard Lee as Department Head M, Cec Linder as CIA liaison Felix Leiter, and Desmond Llewelyn as Q. Read more…