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Posts Tagged ‘Film Score’

HAMLET – William Walton

November 29, 2021 Leave a comment

GREATEST SCORES OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY

Original Review by Craig Lysy

Producer, director, and actor Laurence Olivier had achieved critical acclaim and commercial success with his film adaptation of Shakespeare’s play Henry V in 1944. He decided to adapt another of the Bard’s plays and chose Hamlet for his second film. He would produce, direct and star in the film and secured the necessary financing from the British production company Two Cities, who provided a budget of £527,530. For the cast, joining him as Hamlet, would be Basil Sydney as Claudius, Eileen Herlie as Gertrude, Norman Wooland as Horatio, Felix Aylmer as Polonius, Terrence Morgan as Laertes, and Jean Simmons as Ophelia. Olivier also provided the voice of the ghost King. Read more…

JFK – John Williams

November 24, 2021 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The assassination of US president John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Texas, in November 1963 was one of the defining moments of twentieth century American history. History books state that he was killed by a lone gunman, Lee Harvey Oswald, who was himself murdered by local Dallas businessman Jack Ruby while in custody just a day or so later. Oswald’s true motive has never been categorically established, and in the years since the event a series of conspiracy theories have emerged – that Oswald was a ‘patsy’ working for the Russians, that there were additional shooters who have never been identified located on a nearby ‘grassy knoll,’ and even that Kennedy’s vice president Lyndon Johnson was somehow involved as part of a coup for him to seize power. Many of these theories are examined in great detail in director Oliver Stone’s film JFK, which looks at the events leading up to, during, and after the assassination, and then focuses deeply on the subsequent investigation by former district attorney Jim Garrison, as well as the official congressional commission led by chief justice Earl Warren. The film is a dense, complicated, intricate film that offers plenty of theories, conjecture, and opinion, but never really settles on a decision as to what really happened, although Stone heavily implies that he believes that the conspiracy goes much deeper than the official investigation concluded. Read more…

GHOSTBUSTERS: AFTERLIFE – Rob Simonsen

November 23, 2021 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS PLOT SPOILERS. IF YOU HAVE NOT YET SEEN THE FILM, YOU MIGHT WANT TO CONSIDER WAITING UNTIL AFTER YOU HAVE DONE SO TO READ IT.

Despite the critical and commercial failure of the female-led reboot in 2016, the Ghostbusters franchise that began in 1984 continues to show a surprising amount of longevity. This latest film, Ghostbusters: Afterlife, essentially ignores everything that happened in the 2016 film and is a direct sequel to 1989’s Ghostbusters II. The film stars Carrie Coon as Callie, a single mom who moves with her two precocious kids Phoebe (McKenna Grace) and Trevor (Finn Wolfhard) to a dilapidated house in rural Oklahoma following the death of her father. Phoebe meets and bonds with local high school science teacher Gary Grooberson (Paul Rudd), who is investigating unusual seismic activity under the town, and makes friends with a nerdy kid named Podcast (Logan Kim) who… um… makes podcasts. Eventually it is revealed that Callie’s father was Egon Spengler, one of the original ghostbusters, and that he moved to Oklahoma as the town appeared to be the epicenter of significant ghostly activity. Picking up her grandfather’s mantle, Phoebe makes some shocking discoveries of her own, and vows to continue his work and save the world. Read more…

PEYTON PLACE – Franz Waxman

November 22, 2021 Leave a comment

GREATEST SCORES OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY

Original Review by Craig Lysy

20th Century Fox producer Jerry Wald observed the enormous popularity of the novel Peyton Place by Grace Metalious, which sold 60,000 copies in the first ten days and soared to the top of the New York Times best sellers list, where it would remain for over a year. He convinced studio executives to back a film adaptation and purchased the film rights for $250,000. John Michael Hays was hired to adapt the novel, which ended up causing great controversy with the author. The story offers a sordid tale of moral hypocrisy and turpitude, which features scandals, murder, suicide, and incest. Hays was forced to sanitize the novel’s most lurid elements due to content restrictions imposed by the notorious Hayes Code. This “sanitation” enraged Metalious who would publicly deride the film, while taking her $400,000 share of the profits. Mark Robson was tasked with directing and provided a budget of $2.0 million. An excellent cast was assembled, which included Lana Turner as Constance MacKenzie, Diane Varsi as Allison MacKenzie, Hope Kange as Selena Cross, Arthur Kennedy as Lucas Cross, Lee Philips as Michael Rossi, Lloyd Nolan as Dr. Matthew Swain, Russ Tamblyn as Norman Page and Terry Moore as Betty Anderson. Read more…

AN AMERICAN TAIL: FIEVEL GOES WEST – James Horner

November 18, 2021 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

A fun, undemanding sequel to the 1986 original, An American Tail: Fievel Goes West continues the animated adventures of the immigrant mouse Fievel Mousekewitz and his family. Having successfully reunited at the end of the first film and settled in New York, this new film sees the Mousekewitzes making the decision to head west to start a new life, prompted by the fact that their neighborhood is being terrorized by a new gang of felines led by a British aristocratic cat named Cat R. Waul. Desperate for safety and security the family boards a train bound for Utah; Fievel has aspirations of meeting the famed lawman Wylie Burp, while his sister Tanya wants to be a singer in a burlesque show. However, the Mousekewitzes are unaware that they are falling into a trap set by the unscrupulous Waul, and must find a way to defeat him before his nefarious plan comes to fruition. The film is directed by Phil Nibbelink and Simon Wells, taking over from Don Bluth; it features the voices of Philip Glasser, Cathy Cavadini, Dom DeLuise, John Cleese, and James Stewart in his final film role, and has a score by James Horner. Read more…

THE SILVER CHALICE – Franz Waxman

November 15, 2021 Leave a comment

GREATEST SCORES OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY

Original Review by Craig Lysy

Warner Brothers studio executives decided that following the stunning commercial success of MGM’s “Quo Vadis” in 1951 and 20th Century Fox’s “The Robe” in 1953, that they would cash in on the popular religious epic genre. To that end they purchased the film rights to the popular 1952 novel “The Silver Chalice” by Thomas B. Costain. Lesser Samuels was hired to adapt the novel and write the screenplay. Victor Saville was tasked with production and directing the film with a budget of $4.5 million. Saville made the artistic decision to eschew traditional realism for the film’s visual design, instead embracing stage design with an Art Deco style by renown operatic stage designer Rolfe Gerard. It was an audacious decision, which in the end was not received well by critics or the public. A fine cast was hired, which included Virginia Mayo as Helena, Pier Angeli as Deborra, Jack Palance as Simon Magus, Joseph Wiseman as Mijamin, and Alexander Scourby as Luke. Read more…

ETERNALS – Ramin Djawadi

November 12, 2021 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

As the Marvel Cinematic Universe continues to expand and expand, it’s inevitable that the films will begin to introduce characters that are unfamiliar to mainstream cinema goers not as well-versed in comic book lore. With them having mostly exhausted Iron Man, the Hulk, Captain America, Thor, and much of the rest of their core superhero complement, Marvel are now turning to a new group to fill the void: the Eternals. Despite me having never heard of them before now, they actually first debuted in print in 1976, and are essentially an alien race of immortal beings sent to Earth by their creators, the god-like Celestials, to protect humanity from a race of creatures known as Deviants, as well as to generally aid and guide human development. Over the course of thousands of years the Eternals eventually fought and defeated all of the Deviants, and having done so retired into anonymity; they were instructed to observe and gently guide the population from afar, but never become directly involved in human affairs – which is why they did not intervene during Thanos’s fight with the Avengers. However the ‘snap,’ which brought back the population previously destroyed by Thanos in the Infinity War, also apparently brought Deviants back to Earth, which forces the Eternals to emerge, re-form, and combat them once more. The film is directed by Oscar-winning filmmaker Chloe Zhao, and stars an ensemble cast featuring Gemma Chan, Richard Madden, Kumail Nanjiani, Brian Tyree Henry, Kit Harington, Salma Hayek, and Angelina Jolie, among others. Read more…

THE ADDAMS FAMILY – Marc Shaiman

November 11, 2021 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

They’re creepy and their kooky, mysterious and spooky, they’re all together ooky, the Addams family.

A big-screen reboot of the classic 1960s TV sitcom, which itself was based on a popular newspaper cartoon by Charles Addams, The Addams Family is a comedy with a twist. Led by patriarch Gomez Addams and his aristocratic wife Morticia, the Addamses are a macabre group who demonstrate some supernatural abilities, but nevertheless live a comparatively normal life in suburban America with their children Wednesday and Pugsley, their manservant Lurch, and a disembodied hand named Thing which acts as the family pet. The film picks up the story many years after the TV show ended, and follows the family as it tries to re-connect with Gomez’s long-lost brother Fester, who has unexpectedly reappeared in their lives after being missing for a long time. However, unbeknownst to the Addamses, ‘Fester’ is actually a conman working with a loan shark, who wants the family fortune. The plot is really just an excuse for the cast to engage in a series of deliciously dark and ghoulishly comedic set-pieces, near-the-knuckle jokes, and verbal witticisms. The cast is led wonderfully by the late Raul Julia as the flamboyant Gomez, Anjelica Huston as the sultry Morticia, and Christopher Lloyd as Fester, and features a breakthrough performance from the then 11-year-old Christina Ricci as the proto-goth kid Wednesday. It was directed by Barry Sonnenfeld, and was mostly a critical and commercial success, eventually receiving an Oscar nomination for costume design. Read more…

THE FRENCH DISPATCH – Alexandre Desplat

November 9, 2021 1 comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The French Dispatch is the latest film from writer-director Wes Anderson. Like most of his films, it’s a highly stylized comedy caper, with a cast drawn mostly from his regular ensemble of players, including the likes of Benicio del Toro, Adrien Brody, Tilda Swinton, Léa Seydoux, Frances McDormand, Timothée Chalamet, Jeffrey Wright, Mathieu Amalric, Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Elisabeth Moss, Anjelica Huston, Henry Winkler, Liev Schreiber, Edward Norton, Willem Dafoe, and Saoirse Ronan. Its plot follows several different storylines as the French foreign bureau of the fictional ‘Liberty-Kansas Evening Sun’ newspaper creates its final issue following the death of its editor. Much of the action takes place in a town literally named Ennui, and involves such things as the life of an artist in the local prison, a sexual liaison between a reporter and a subject during a student revolution, and kidnappings and murders during a private dinner, all of which are narrated by a man on a bicycle who charts the history of the town. Read more…

THE RAINMAKER – Alex North

November 8, 2021 Leave a comment

GREATEST SCORES OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY

Original Review by Craig Lysy

Producer Hal B. Wallis took notice of the success of “The Rainmaker” play by N. Richard Nash, which had a 125-performance run on Broadway. He believed that its story would translate well to the big screen and so entered a bidding war with RKO Pictures in which he outbid them and secured the film rights for $300,000. Paramount Pictures agreed to finance and distribute the film, and N. Richard Nash was hired to adapt his play. Joseph Anthony was tasked with directing and a stellar cast was assembled, which included; Burt Lancaster as Bill Starbuck, Katherine Hepburn as Lizzie Curry, Wendell Corey as Deputy Sheriff J. S. File, Lloyd Bridges as Noah Curry, Cameron Prud’Homme as patriarch H.C. “Pop” Curry, and Earl Holliman as Jim Curry. Hepburn, who was forty-nine, was terribly miscast as the young Curry daughter Lizzie who was supposed to be in her late twenties. Despite this, she turned in a stellar performance that earned her an Academy Award nomination. Read more…

THE HANDLER – Grant Kirkhope

November 5, 2021 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The Handler is a low-budget action thriller written and directed by Michael Matteo Rossi. It stars Chris Levine as Ryker Dune – what a name! – a mercenary-for-hire who turns against his boss Vinnie Fiore (Michael Pashan) after a job pushes his morality buttons one too many times. Ryker looks for a way out of the contract killer life for good, but Vinnie has other ideas; eventually Ryker finds himself holed up in a house as wave after wave of Vinnie’s men try to kill him. Cue the gun fights, fist fights, and bone-crunching action. Normally this is the type of film that would pass under my radar entirely; the director is a relative newcomer, the cast is full of unknowns, and the plot makes it sound like a cut-price version of any number of video-on-demand action thrillers that are released in a seemingly endless stream. The difference is that The Handler marks the mainstream theatrical film music debut of Grant Kirkhope, one of the most high-profile and acclaimed composers from the world of video games. Read more…

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST – Alan Menken

November 4, 2021 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

When looking back at the period now, considering their enormous success and influence, it’s easy to forget that Disney was a film studio in trouble in the 1980s. Their first four animated films during the decade – The Fox and the Hound, The Black Cauldron, The Great Mouse Detective, and Oliver & Company – had not been particularly well-received, while the success of the fifth, The Little Mermaid in 1989, was certainly not seen as a guarantor of future achievement. Everything changed with the 1991 release of Beauty and the Beast, which became the first animated film ever to be nominated for an Oscar for Best Picture, and subsequently set in motion a decade of almost unparalleled cinematic dominance for the house that Walt built. Read more…

LAST NIGHT IN SOHO – Steven Price

November 2, 2021 1 comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

London in the 1960s was arguably the coolest place in the world at that time. Michael Caine and Sean Connery on the silver screen. The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who, Dusty Springfield, and Petula Clark on the radio. Twiggy and Jean Shrimpton sashaying down Carnaby Street wearing fashions by Mary Quant. At least that’s how it seems to Eloise, the protagonist of Edgar Wright’s new psychological horror/thriller Last Night in Soho. Eloise (Thomasin McKenzie) is an aspiring fashion designer obsessed with the Swinging Sixties who moves from her country home to London to attend college. After a rocky start, she eventually settles into a bedsit flat owned by Miss Collins (Diana Rigg), but before long strange things start happening. Eloise had always had a connection to the supernatural – she has visions of her deceased mother – but now she is having vivid dreams where she travels back in time to Soho in the 60s, and observes a beautiful young nightclub singer named Sandie (Anya Taylor-Joy) and her roguish boyfriend/manager Jack (Matt Smith). Although she is initially charmed and excited to be “living” in the time period she adores, things quickly turn sour as Eloise experiences the seedy underbelly of London through Sandie’s eyes, and her dreams quickly turn into nightmares. Read more…

GIANT – Dimitri Tiomkin

November 1, 2021 Leave a comment

GREATEST SCORES OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY

Original Review by Craig Lysy

Renowned author Edna Ferber sought to have her 1952 novel “Giant” brought to the big screen. She found willing partners in producer Henry Ginsberg and director George Stevens, and they formed Giant Productions to produce the film. They sold their film idea to Warner Brothers Studios who provided a budget of $2.0 million and agreed distribute. Stevens collaborated with screenwriters Ivan Moffat and Fred Guiol to write the screenplay, with some edits by author Ferber. Stevens took the reins to direct the film and assembled a magnificent cast including Elizabeth Taylor as Leslie Lynnton Benedict, Rock Hudson as Jordan “Bick” Benedict Jr., James Dean as Jett Rink, Carroll Baker as Luz Benedict II, Jane Withers as Vashti Hake Snythe, Chill Willis as Uncle Bawley, Mercedes McCambridge as Luz Benedict, Sal Mineo as Nagel Obregón, Dennis Hooper as Jordon “Jordy” Benedict II, Elsa Cárdenas as Juana Villalobos Benedict, and Earl Holliman as Robert “Bob” Dace. Read more…

THE EYES OF TAMMY FAYE – Theodore Shapiro

October 29, 2021 Leave a comment

Original Review by Christopher Garner

The Eyes of Tammy Faye tells the true story of the rise and fall of televangelists Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker (played by Andrew Garfield and Jessica Chastain). It follows the pair from their humble beginnings running a local tv station’s Christian-themed puppet show, to becoming superstars within the world of Christian televangelism (even opening a big Christian theme park), to Jim Bakker’s fall from grace due to rape allegations and accounting fraud (he was convicted for the latter and spent nearly five years in prison). The film is directed by Michael Showalter (of The Big Sick fame). Critics have been mostly positive about the film, with particular praise being lavished upon Jessica Chastain, whose transformation to play Tammy Faye across multiple decades has generated some Oscar buzz. Read more…