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Posts Tagged ‘John Barry’

DANCES WITH WOLVES – John Barry

January 28, 2019 Leave a comment

100 GREATEST SCORES OF ALL TIME

Original Review by Craig Lysy

Kevin Costner had long wished to produce and star in a western and, after several years of searching, finally came upon a script by his friend Michael Blake that piqued his interest. Set in the post-Civil War era, the tale explored the clash of civilizations between the indigenous American Indians and the westward expanding white Europeans. Costner asked Blake to expand his script into a novel to improve its chances of being adapted to the big screen. He did so, and Dances With Wolves was published in 1988. Costner immediately purchased the film rights and set his plan into motion, using his own Tig Productions Company to finance the film. He would audaciously produce, direct and star in the film. He began with a production budget of $15 million dollars, which ballooned to $22 million due to his insistence on geographical, linguistic and cultural authenticity. To support him in the lead role of Lieutenant John Dunbar he hired Mary McDonnell as Stands With A Fist, Graham Greene as Kicking Bird, and Rodney A. Grant as Wind In His Hair. Read more…

OUT OF AFRICA – John Barry

September 3, 2018 Leave a comment

100 GREATEST SCORES OF ALL TIME

Original Review by Craig Lysy

Notable directors such as Orson Welles, David Lean and Nicolas Roeg had long sought to bring to the big screen the 1937 novel Out of Africa by Isak Dinesan (Karen Blixen). None were successful in adapting the story into a cogent screenplay. Sydney Pollack however was determined to succeed, and after two years of struggle managed with the assistance of screenwriter Kurt Luedtke to fashion a screenplay drawing from Blixen’s “Out of Africa”, but also her novel “Shadows on the Grass” and Elsbeth Huxley’s novel, “The Flame Trees of Thika”. Mirage Enterprises agreed to fund the project, which would be produced by Kim Jurgensen and Sydney Pollack, who would also direct. A fine cast was assembled, which included the dashing Robert Redford as Denys Hatton, Meryl Streep as Karen Blixen, and Klaus Maria Brandauer as Baron Bror von Blixen. The story offers a sad testament to the life of a wealthy Danish woman Karen Blixen, and the love of her life, Denys Hatton. After she is spurned by her Swedish lover, Karen relocates to British East Africa and enters into a loveless marriage of convenience with his brother, Baron Bror Blixen. They plan to start a dairy cattle farm, but on the wedding day Bror informs her that he plans to instead start a coffee plantation. His infidelity leads to her contracting syphilis, which requires that she return to Denmark for treatment. She returns to find Bror more interested in Safaris than her and they separate. Read more…

MASQUERADE – John Barry

March 29, 2018 1 comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Masquerade is a now long-forgotten mystery-thriller directed by Bob Swain and written by Dick Wolf, just before he took over television with his expansive Law & Order franchise. The film is set in and around an elite New England yachting community, and tells the story of Olivia, a naïve, recently orphaned millionairess who returns home after many years away, and falls in love with a dashing young yacht racing captain named Tim. However, Olivia soon becomes embroiled in a labyrinthine plot of lies, deceit, and murder, the scope of which apparently extends to the entire community. The film stars Rob Lowe and Meg Tilly as the central pair, features Kim Cattrall, John Glover, Dana Delany, and Doug Savant in supporting roles, and has a lovely original score by John Barry. 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…

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…

THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS – John Barry

August 10, 2017 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The Living Daylights is the fifteenth entry in the James Bond film series and the first to star Timothy Dalton as the British secret agent. Dalton took over the role from Roger Moore, who had retired from the part after A View to a Kill in 1985, but only after a long and protracted period of negotiations in which the original choice, Pierce Brosnan, was eventually blocked by producers of the American TV show Remington Steele. The film was intended to be a return to the grittier feel of Ian Fleming’s original novels after Moore’s previous few films were criticized for being too tongue-in-cheek and self-aware. The plot initially concerns the defection of KGB officer Georgi Koskov, which Bond helps facilitate, but quickly turns into an international conspiracy involving a beautiful Czech cellist named Kara Milovy, a megalomaniacal American arms dealer named Brad Whittaker, and an attempt to undermine the slowly thawing relationship between the Soviet Union and the West with nuclear weapons. Directed by John Glen, the film co-stars Maryam d’Abo, Joe Don Baker, Jeroen Krabbé, and Art Malik as an Afghan mujahedeen leader who helps Bond in his hour of need. The film was generally well-received, and I personally have always felt that Dalton was an underrated Bond, who successfully captured the darker, more dangerous side of Fleming’s character which had been missing from the franchise for too long. Read more…

PEGGY SUE GOT MARRIED – John Barry

October 20, 2016 1 comment

peggysuegotmarriedTHROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Although he is best known for his epic gangster Godfather trilogy, and for the classic war movie Apocalypse Now, Francis Ford Coppola has made many other movies in his career, and some of them are much less dramatic and shocking. One of those is the 1986 film Peggy Sue Got Married, a romantic comedy-drama wish fulfillment-fantasy written by husband and wife team Jerry Leichtling and Arlene Sarner. Kathleen Turner stars as Peggy Sue Bodell, who attends her 25-year high school reunion shortly after separating from her unfaithful husband Charlie (Nicolas Cage), her former high school sweetheart. Peggy Sue regrets many of the decisions she made in her life, such as getting pregnant by Charlie in high school, and feels that her circumstances would be different if she had the chance to do it over again. Peggy Sue faints at the reunion, and when she wakes up she magically finds herself in 1960, back in high school, and with the chance to right the wrongs of the past. The film, which co-starred Barry Miller, Catherine Hicks, Joan Allen, and a 24-year-old Jim Carrey, was both a commercial and a critical success, and was nominated for three Academy Awards, including one for Turner as Best Actress. The film also features an original score by the legendary John Barry, the second and last of his collaborations with Coppola after The Cotton Club in 1984. Read more…

HOWARD THE DUCK – John Barry

July 28, 2016 Leave a comment

howardtheduckTHROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Howard the Duck was one of the most critically lambasted films of 1986, and probably represents the low point of George Lucas’s entire career as a filmmaker. The film was adapted from a cult comic book by Steve Gerber and Val Mayerik by screenwriters Willard Huyck and Gloria Katz, and was originally intended to be an animated film, but became live-action because of a contractual obligation, a decision which rendered much of the original comic book’s surrealist imagery difficult to convey. Despite being about a walking, talking, anthropomorphic duck, the comic book was essentially a satire on the human condition; desperate to appeal to a larger audience, Huyck and Katz stripped away most of Gerber’s scathing social commentary and adult story elements, and reduced it to an absurdist action-buddy-comedy – as such, it failed to satisfy fans of the original comic, nor did it have any real crossover appeal with the general public, and unsurprisingly it failed miserably at the box office. Read more…

THE LION IN WINTER – John Barry

March 21, 2016 2 comments

lioninwinterMOVIE MUSIC UK CLASSICS

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…

BORN FREE – John Barry

March 7, 2016 Leave a comment

bornfreeMOVIE MUSIC UK CLASSICS

Original Review by Craig Lysy

Producers Carl Forman, Sam Jaffe and Paul Radin came across the book “Born Free: A Lioness of Two Worlds” (1960) by renowned naturalist Joy Adamson, and believed her heart-warming tale could be brought to the big screen. They purchased the film rights and hired screenwriter Lester Cole to forge the screenplay. For the cast, Director James Hill brought in veteran British actors Virginia McKenna (Joy Adamson) and Bill Travers (George Adamson) to lead an ensemble, which included Geoffrey Keen (John Kendall), Peter Lukoye (Nuru), Surya Patel (the Doctor) and Geoffrey Best as (Watson). Read more…

OUT OF AFRICA – John Barry

December 24, 2015 Leave a comment

outofafricaTHROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The winner of seven Academy Awards – including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay, and Best Cinematography – Out of Africa is generally considered one of the greatest romantic dramas in cinema history. Directed by Sydney Pollack, it is based on the semi-autobiographical writings of aristocratic Danish author Karen Dinesen, specifically the period in the 1910s when she moved to live on a coffee plantation in colonial Kenya with her then-husband, Baron Bror von Blixen-Finecke, and had an affair with a rugged and handsome big game hunter, Denys Finch Hatton. The film is a sumptuous, visually magnificent love letter to the unspoiled African savannah, reveling in the majestic vistas of the country, and using them as a backdrop to the affair Karen engages in, as her husband becomes increasingly distant and neglectful. Anchored by the three central performances of Meryl Streep as Karen, Robert Redford as Denys, and Klaus-Maria Brandauer as Bror, the film explores such challenging themes as marital fidelity, the expectations and conventions of aristocratic society, the role of women in the 1910s, and the differences between European and African tribal cultures, as well as the threat of World War I that loomed over everything. Read more…

A VIEW TO A KILL – John Barry

May 14, 2015 Leave a comment

aviewtoakillTHROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

A View to a Kill is the fourteenth official film in the James Bond canon, and the seventh and last to star Roger Moore as the fictional British secret agent. In this wide ranging story which spans the globe from Siberia to Paris to San Francisco, Bond locks horns with the psychopathic industrialist Max Zorin, played by Christopher Walken, who hatches a plan to destroy Silicon Valley in order to gain a monopoly in the worldwide microchip market. Bond is assisted in his assignment by wealthy geologist Stacey Sutton, played by Tanya Roberts, who helps uncover Zorin’s dastardly plan after he tries to strong-arm her into selling her family’s oil company, and there is the usual cast of supporting characters, evil henchmen, beautiful women, and ingenious gadgets. The film was directed by John Glen, co-stars Patrick Macnee and singer Grace Jones, and has an original score by John Barry, the tenth of his eleven works in the series. Read more…

UNTIL SEPTEMBER – John Barry

September 18, 2014 Leave a comment

untilseptemberTHROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Until September is a romantic drama directed by Richard Marquand – his first film after completing Return of the Jedi – written by Janice Lee Graham, and starring Karen Allen and Thierry Lhermitte. Allen plays Mo Alexander, an American tourist traveling through Europe, who misses a plane connection and gets stuck in Paris. While her new visa gets approved she goes to stay at the apartment of a friend who is away for the summer; there she meets her friend’s neighbor, Xavier, a wealthy French banker who is married but estranged from his wife and family. As Mo and Xavier spend time together in that most romantic of cities, their mutual attraction is overwhelming, and they eventually fall in love. Despite being a simple, uncomplicated story of passion and romance, Until September was not a major box office success in 1984, and today is known mainly for its sumptuous score by John Barry. Read more…

THE BLACK HOLE – John Barry

September 11, 2011 1 comment

MOVIE MUSIC UK CLASSICS

Original Review by Craig Lysy

The Black Hole was to be Disney’s effort to take the successful disaster movie genre into outer space. Conceived in 1975 as a “Poseidon Adventure in Space”, the film was never able to germinate until the Star Wars phenomenon served to catalyze a resurgence of the space epic genre. Gary Nelson was hired to direct with Jeb Rosebrook given the task of adapting the earlier disaster in space script to a more epic adventure tale involving a monstrous black hole. The movie had a stellar cast that included Ernest Borgnine, Yvette Mimieux, Anthony Perkins and Maximillian Schell, as well as Roddy McDowall who provided the voice of the robot VINCENT. Set in the year 2130 C.E. aboard the USS Palomino, the story details the discovery of the lost USS Cygnus, which is seen apparently derelict, orbiting a massive black hole just beyond its event horizon. An investigation into the mystery that was the Cygnus leads to a grim discovery that threatens to end the lives of all involved. Although Disney conceived the film as an epic much in the mold of 2001: A Space Odyssey and provided a story replete with symbolic references to Dante’s Inferno, uninspired directing and a truly poor script resulted in critical failure. The film was nevertheless a commercial success due to its amazing special effects and myriad of robots that won the hearts of the audience. Read more…

John Barry, 1933-2011

January 30, 2011 Leave a comment

John BarryComposer John Barry died on January 30, 2011, at his home in Oyster Bay, New York, after suffering a heart attack. He was 77.

John Barry Prendergast was born in York, England in November 1933, where his father owned a chain of cinemas. He played the organ at York Minster and, after spending some time as a classical pianist, formed a jazz band, The John Barry Seven in 1957. The Seven had a number of popular instrumental hits in the UK, including a cover of “Walk Don’t Run” and the theme from the TV show Juke Box Jury, “Hit and Miss”, before moving into cinema.

Barry made his film music composing debut in 1960 writing music for the Adam Faith film Beat Girl at the age of 27, before establishing himself as a major force in the British film industry when he wrote the score for the second James Bond film, From Russia With Love, in 1963. Barry wrote music for 10 more Bond films, including Goldfinger, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and Diamonds Are Forever, while simultaneously establishing himself as one of the pre-eminent composers in American and British film from the 1960s through to the early 1980s through popular and successful films such as Zulu, Born Free. The Lion in Winter, Midnight Cowboy, Walkabout, King Kong, Robin and Marian, The Black Hole, Somewhere in Time and Out of Africa. Read more…