Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Elmer Bernstein’

THE FIELD – Elmer Bernstein

April 30, 2020 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The Field is a quietly devastating drama written and directed by Jim Sheridan, adapted from the 1965 play of the same name by John Keane. Set in Ireland in the 1930s, the film stars Richard Harris as Bull McCabe, an impoverished farmer who rents a dilapidated field on the cliffs by the sea. When the wealthy widow who owns the field decides to sell it, McCabe assumes that he will be given the first chance to buy it, but unknown to McCabe the widow has been holding on to a grudge for decades, and in a public display of spiteful pettiness directed at McCabe, holds an open auction instead. A rich American named Peter (Tom Berenger), who wants to build a factory on the site, outbids him, and so begins a bitter war which leads to betrayal, death, and madness, with the field itself acting as a symbolic representation of the desperately difficult lives the characters lead. The film has a terrific supporting cast including John Hurt, Sean Bean, Brenda Fricker, and a very young Brendan Gleeson, and was a critical success when it was first released. Read more…

TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD – Elmer Bernstein

October 2, 2017 Leave a comment

100 GREATEST SCORES OF ALL TIME

Original Review by Craig Lysy

Universal Studio executives saw the universal critical acclaim afforded Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel To Kill A Mockingbird, and purchased the film rights, determined to bring her poignant story to the big screen. The project however stalled creatively and did not gain momentum until a generous budget was allocated and producer Alan J. Pakula took the reigns. He was inspired by the project, hired Horton Foote to write the screenplay, and tasked Robert Mulligan to direct. They brought in Gregory Peck to play the leading role of Atticus Finch, and Robert Duvall secured his debut role as Boo Radley. For Atticus’ children, newcomers Mary Badham was chosen to play Scout, and Phillip Alford to play Jem. Rounding out the cast were Brock Peters as Tom Robinson, James Anderson as Bob Ewell, Cillin Wilcox as Mayella Ewell, and John Megna as Dill Harris. Read more…

THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN – Elmer Bernstein

August 21, 2017 Leave a comment

100 GREATEST SCORES OF ALL TIME

Original Review by Craig Lysy

Yul Brynner had long explored the idea of an American retelling of Akira Kurosawa’s epic 1954 Japanese film The Seven Samurai. Brynner related; “I felt it was one of the great westerns of all time, only it was made by the Japanese, in the Japanese idiom. But the form, the whole design of it was the ideal western.” He worked with fellow actor Anthony Quinn to develop the concept, but when they had a falling out, he took over the reigns alone and presented his pitch to producer Walter Mirisch. Mirisch believed an Americana retelling of this epic story would resonate with the public, and so purchased film rights from Toho Studios and a distribution contract with United Artists. This was a passion project for Brynner, and he brought in friend John Sturges who acquainted himself well with Gunfight at the OK Corral in 1957, to both produce and direct the film. Read more…

THE TEN COMMANDMENTS – Elmer Bernstein

June 12, 2017 Leave a comment

100 GREATEST SCORES OF ALL TIME

Original Review by Craig Lysy

Legendary producer-director Cecil B. DeMille, who at 72 was nearing the end of a great career, sought to reclaim past glory with a film that would serve as his crowning achievement. After much thought, he found his answer, in his past. He announced to the world in 1952 of his intention to remake his 1923 film, “The Ten Commandments.” DeMille stated that his retelling of the story would focus exclusively on the life of Moses. This epic film’s preparation took five years, with the script alone requiring three years to write, and the actual filming taking two years. DeMille insisted on a timeless script and so hired a quartet of screenplay writers headed by Aeneas MacKenzie to accomplish the task. The team drew upon three contemporary novels; “Prince Of Egypt” by Dorothy Clarke Wilson, “Pillar Of Fire” by Reverend J. H. Ingraham and “On Eagle’s Wing” by Reverend A. E. Southon. Lastly, DeMille insisted on historical accuracy and fidelity to the ancient texts, which included the works of Philo, Josephus, Eusebius, The Midrash and The Holy Scriptures. Read more…

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…

THE TEN COMMANDMENTS – Elmer Bernstein

October 15, 2016 2 comments

tencommandmentsMOVIE MUSIC UK CLASSICS

Original Review by Craig Lysy

Legendary producer-director Cecil B. DeMille, who at 72 was nearing the end of a great career, sought to reclaim past glory with a film that would serve as his crowning achievement. After much thought, he found his answer, in his past. He announced to the world in 1952 of his intention to remake his 1923 film, “The Ten Commandments.” DeMille stated that his retelling of the story would focus exclusively on the life of Moses. This epic film’s preparation took five years, with the script alone requiring three years to write, and the actual filming taking two years. DeMille insisted on a timeless script and so hired a quartet of screenplay writers headed by Aeneas MacKenzie to accomplish the task. The team drew upon three contemporary novels; “Prince Of Egypt” by Dorothy Clarke Wilson, “Pillar Of Fire” by Reverend J. H. Ingraham and “On Eagle’s Wing” by Reverend A. E. Southon. Lastly, DeMille insisted on historical accuracy and fidelity to the ancient texts, which included the works of Philo, Josephus, Eusebius, The Midrash and The Holy Scriptures. Read more…

LEGAL EAGLES – Elmer Bernstein

June 30, 2016 Leave a comment

legaleaglesTHROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Legal Eagles is a fun comedy-drama-thriller written by Jim Cash and Jack Epps, and directed by Ivan Reitman. It stars Robert Redford as New York assistant district attorney Tom Logan, who teams up with his rival, public defender Laura Kelly (Debra Winger), after he becomes convinced that her client, eccentric art dealer Chelsea Dearden (Daryl Hannah), is genuinely innocent of the crime she is accused of committing. As Tom and Kelly delve deeper into the case they find themselves becoming embroiled in a web of mystery, cover-ups, and police corruption, dating back to the night 20 years previously when Chelsea’s father was killed in a mysterious fire; not only that, and despite their own better judgment, the two lawyers find themselves developing romantic feelings for each other. The film is a breezy, enjoyable caper, with Redford and Winger’s relationship clearly inspired by the sexual tension between Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn, and was one of the box office successes of 1986. Read more…

THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE – Elmer Bernstein

March 14, 2016 Leave a comment

thoroughlymodernmillieMOVIE MUSIC UK CLASSICS

Original Review by Craig Lysy

Julie Andrews was the toast of Hollywood in the 1960s and her success in Mary Poppins (1964) and The Sound of Music (1966) made her the most popular and highest paid actress of the day. Universal Studios and producer Ross Hunter sought to capitalize on her popularity and so decided to adapt the British musical “Chrysanthemum” (1956) for her next musical. Richard Morris was hired to write the screenplay and George Roy Hill tasked with directing the film. Hill brought in a fine ensemble to support Julie Andrews (Millie Dillmount), which included Mary Tyler Moore (Dorothy Brown), James Fox (Jimmy Smith), John Gavin (Trevor Graydon), Carol Channing (Muzzy van Hossmere) and Beatrice Lillie (Mrs. Meers). Read more…

GHOSTBUSTERS – Elmer Bernstein

August 7, 2014 6 comments

ghostbustersTHROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

One of the seminal action comedies of the 1980s, Ghostbusters teamed together three of television’s greatest improvisational comedy geniuses – Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis – in a story about three failed parapsychology professors in New York who, after losing funding for their scientifically-debatable experiments, set themselves up as paranormal investigators catching and containing all manner of spectral nasties across the Big Apple. Things get a little more serious, however, when professional cellist Dana Barrett (Sigourney Weaver) contacts the trio after having a strange experience with her refrigerator, and before long they are knee deep in a fight to save the world from an ancient Sumerian god who may be trying to bring about the apocalypse. The film co-starred Rick Moranis, Ernie Hudson and Annie Potts, and was directed by Ivan Reitman, hot from his success with the comedies Meatballs and Stripes a few years before. Read more…

THE GREAT SANTINI – Elmer Bernstein

September 18, 2011 1 comment

MOVIE MUSIC UK CLASSICS

Original Review by Craig Lysy

The Great Santini was adapted from Pat Conroy’s semi-autographical tribute to his father Bull Meechum, a tough, and hard-edged Marine fighter pilot. The film explores how he struggles in peacetime to adapt to his new life as well as to be a loving father and husband without relinquishing his tough guy warrior image. The film starred Robert Duvall as Col. “Bull” Meechum, Michael O’Keefe as his eldest son, Ben and Blythe Danner as his wife, Lillian. Although the film was a critical success and earned Oscar nominations for both Duvall and O’Keefe, it was a commercial failure, never able to resonate with the viewing public. Read more…

TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD – Elmer Bernstein

November 6, 2010 4 comments

MOVIE MUSIC UK CLASSICS

Original Review by Craig Lysy

To Kill A Mockingbird is renowned as a celebrated Pulitzer prize winning novel written by American novelist Harper Lee. It was adapted for the screen by Horton Foote and is set in 1930’s Alabama during the era of the great depression. There are two distinct narratives operating in the tale. The first tells the story of a widowed and respected lawyer Atticus Finch, played in exemplary fashion by Gregory Peck, and his laudable but ultimately futile effort to defend a black man wrongly accused of raping a white woman. The equally important second narrative however is more intimate and focuses on Finch’s two young children, Scout and Jem. In many ways it is a coming of age tale as we see through their young eyes the struggle of growing up in the old south during a time where the races were segregated and black people were denied equality and justice under law. Made in 1962 before the civil rights act, the film provided an uncomfortable and potent commentary on the ugly cultural pathology that was still manifest in America many years after the Great Emancipation. Read more…

WILD WILD WEST – Elmer Bernstein

July 2, 1999 Leave a comment

wildwildwestOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

When Elmer Bernstein scores a western, you know exactly what you’re going to get. With a track record that includes scores like The Magnificent Seven, The Commancheros, True Grit and The Shootist (his last “true” western back in 1976), it is obvious that Bernstein is a master of the musical depiction of the vast open prairie, of six-shooters and ten-gallon hats, and Wild Wild West is a welcome return to the genre which made him world famous. Read more…