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Posts Tagged ‘Maurice Jarre’

GHOST – Maurice Jarre

July 16, 2020 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The unexpected box office smash hit of 1990, Ghost is a supernatural romantic drama-thriller about the power of love transcending death, which had millions of people weeping in cinemas across the world. Patrick Swayze stars as Sam Wheat, a successful banker in New York City, who has just moved into a new apartment with his beautiful girlfriend Molly (Demi Moore), and is renovating it with the help of his best friend and co-worker Carl (Tony Goldwyn). Life is perfect for Sam – until he is shot and killed on the street during a mugging gone wrong. Sam discovers he is now a ghost, invisible and unable to interact with the mortal world; after trying and failing multiple times to contact Molly from beyond the grave, Sam instead tries to solve his own murder – which leads him to a startling revelation, and renews his need to contact Molly. To this end, Sam begins to ‘haunt’ Oda Mae Brown (Whoopi Goldberg), a fake psychic medium, who is shocked to discover that she can really hear Sam; eventually, Sam convinces Oda Mae to talk to Molly on his behalf, to warn her that she too is in danger. The film was written by Bruce Joel Rubin and was directed by Jerry Zucker, making his solo directing debut after a decade of comedy work as part of the Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker trio. As I mentioned it was an enormous commercial success, grossing more than $500 million at the US box office; it was also critically successful, and went on to receive five Oscar nominations, winning for Best Original Screenplay and Best Supporting Actress for Goldberg. Read more…

DEAD POETS SOCIETY – Maurice Jarre

June 13, 2019 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

There have been a lot of great movies about inspirational teachers over the years, from Goodbye Mr. Chips in 1939 (and its musical remake in 1969), to Dangerous Minds and Mr. Holland’s Opus in the 1990s, but for my money the best of them all is Dead Poets Society. Directed by Peter Weir and written by Tom Schulman, the film is set at an elite all-male New England prep school in 1959, a stuffy establishment whose school motto – tradition, honor, discipline, excellence – tells you everything you need to know about the faculty. Everything changes when a new English teacher, John Keating, joins the school, bringing with him a brash and innovative philosophy that teaches students to think for themselves. Keating has a particular influence on a group of seven young men who, having been inspired by Keating’s love of classic poetry, form the eponymous society and begin to embrace their lives, loves, and ambitions more than they had ever done before. The film is anchored by an utterly astonishing lead performance by Robin Williams as Keating, who brings depth and emotion and sincerity and manic energy to what is, to my mind, the greatest role of his entire career. The young men of the society are also superb, notably Robert Sean Leonard as a boy whose passion for acting is constantly crushed by his overbearing father, and Ethan Hawke, who overcomes his crippling shyness as a result of Keating’s encouragement. Read more…

GORILLAS IN THE MIST – Maurice Jarre

November 21, 2018 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Dian Fossey was a conservationist and animal expert whose special focus was to study and protect African mountain gorillas. Having been inspired by another famous anthropologist, Louis Leakey, Fossey left her job in San Francisco and relocated to the remote jungles of Congo and Rwanda, where she established a research center in order to study these endangered creatures. As the years passed Fossey made several important breakthroughs and became world famous for her work, but also made many enemies, including poachers who hunted for gorilla artifacts, and members of the Rwandan government who opposed her increasingly violent responses to the poaching. Eventually, after more than twenty years working in Africa, Fossey was found dead in her cabin, apparently having been murdered; her assailants still have never been positively identified or tried. The film Gorillas in the Mist tells the true story of Fossey’s life and death; it stars Sigourney Weaver in the lead role, features Bryan Brown and Julie Harris in supporting roles, and is directed by Michael Apted. 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…

LAWRENCE OF ARABIA – Maurice Jarre

October 9, 2017 Leave a comment

100 GREATEST SCORES OF ALL TIME

Original Review by Craig Lysy

David Lean and Sam Spiegel purchased the film rights to T. E. Lawrence’s book “The Seven Pillars of Wisdom” and hired Robert Bolt to write the screenplay on the enigmatic war hero. A stellar cast was hired that included Peter O’Toole (T.E. Lawrence), Alec Guiness (Prince Feisal), Anthony Quinn (Auda Abu Tayi), Jack Hawkins (General Allenby) and Omar Sharif as Sherif Ali. The film centers on Thomas Edward Lawrence, a complex and insolent British Lieutenant assigned to Cairo during World War I. He is ordered to assess the possibility of recruiting Prince Feisal of Arabia as an ally in their struggle against the Ottoman Turks. On his own initiative he instead chooses to rally the recently defeated Arab army for an audacious trans desert assault against the port city of Aqaba. He succeeds and returns to Cairo in triumph where he is promoted and ordered to return and lead the Arab revolt. His guerrilla army harasses the Turks with surprise desert raids and train line assaults that disrupt their command and control. Along the way the war violence and his complicity in a massacre serves to plague his conscience and forever scar him. Eventually, he leads his army northward captures Damascus and helps end the control of the Ottoman Empire. With his mission complete, he is sent back to England only to die young at the age of 46 in a motorcycle accident. The film was a stunning success winning seven Academy Awards including Best Score for Maurice Jarre. Read more…

FATAL ATTRACTION – Maurice Jarre

September 28, 2017 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

One of the smash hit movies of 1987 was the thriller Fatal Attraction, the film which made a multitude of men think twice abut cheating on their wives, and which gave rise to the term ‘bunny boiler’. Directed by Adrian Lyne, and based on the 1980 British film ‘Diversion’ written by James Dearden, the film starred Michael Douglas as Dan Gallagher, a successful lawyer, happily married to his wife Beth (Anne Archer). One weekend, while his family is away, Dan has an unplanned one-night stand with Alex Forrest (Glenn Close), a publishing company executive. Immediately regretful of his infidelity, Dan insists that the night was a one-off and a mistake, and vows never to see Alex again, but she refuses to accept it, and continues to pressure Dan into a relationship. In the months that follow Alex becomes gradually more and more deranged, her obsession with Dan gradually turning to violence and murder. The film was nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Director, and Best Actress, but failed to win any, although the legacy of the film is arguably greater than those to which it lost (notably The Last Emperor and Moonstruck). Read more…

IS PARIS BURNING? [PARIS BRÛLE-T-IL?] – Maurice Jarre

August 29, 2016 1 comment

isparisburningMOVIE MUSIC UK CLASSICS

Original Review by Craig Lysy

Is Paris Burning? is based on the bestselling novel Paris brûle-t-il? by Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre. Producer Paul Graetz liked the novel and secured film rights as he felt the story had to be brought to the big screen. For his passion project he hired a remarkable team to write the screenplay, which included Gore Vidal, Francis Ford Coppola, Claude Brulé, Jean Aurenche, and Pierre Bost. Graetz then brought in respected director René Clément to manage the project, and they assembled a stellar cast for the ages, which included Alain Delon as Jacques Chaba-Delmas, Jean-Paul Belmondo as Morandat/Pierrelot, Charles Boyer as Monod, Gert Fröbe as Gen. Dietrich von Choltitz, Leslie Caron as Francoise Labe, Orson Wells as Consul Raoul Nording, Kirk Douglas as General Patton, Anthony Perkins as Sergeant Warren, Simone Signoret as Café Owner, Glenn Ford as General Omar Bradley, Robert Stack as General Edwin Sibert, Billy Fick as Adolph Hitler and Yves Montand as Marcel Versini. Read more…

MAD MAX BEYOND THUNDERDOME – Maurice Jarre

July 16, 2015 2 comments

madmaxbeyondthunderdome-expandedTHROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The third in director George Miller’s series of Mad Max movies, Beyond Thunderdome once again starred Mel Gibson and continued the adventures of the former Australian Highway Patrol officer Max Rockatansky, as he tries to survive in a post-apocalyptic society. Fifteen years after the events of Mad Max II, Max finds himself in Bartertown, a vicious society of scavengers and opportunists overseen by the ruthless Aunty Entity, played by Tina Turner. In exchange for returning to him his vehicle – which she has scavenged – she forces him in to conflict with Master Blaster, a dwarf and his hulking masked bodyguard, who control Bartertown’s fuel supply; to resolve the conflict, Max finds himself taking part in gladiatorial games inside the ‘thunderdome’, an enormous metal arena where people duel to the death. The film was an enormous success – the highest grossing film of the original trilogy – and further cemented Mel Gibson’s box office bankability as a leading man; his next film would be the smash hit buddy-cop action movie Lethal Weapon, two years later. Read more…

DOCTOR ZHIVAGO – Maurice Jarre

February 16, 2015 1 comment

doctorzhivagoMOVIE MUSIC UK CLASSICS

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 Sharif 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…

WITNESS – Maurice Jarre

February 12, 2015 2 comments

witnessTHROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Witness is a thriller set in Pennsylvania’s Amish community. The film stars Harrison Ford as John Book, an honest cop, who is forced to travel to rural Pennsylvania to protect a young Amish boy named Samuel, played by Lukas Haas, who unintentionally witnesses a murder while visiting the big city with his mother Rachel, played by Kelly McGillis. To keep his witness safe, Book tries to maintain a low profile within the community, which shuns modern conveniences and technology, but unexpectedly begins to develop romantic feelings for Rachel, causing friction among the elders, who view Book as an interloper and outsider. Worse still, the murder suspects have discovered the whereabouts of the one eyewitness to their crime, and are coming after the young boy. The film was directed by Peter Weir, and was one of the major cinematic successes of 1985, receiving critical acclaim and eight Oscar nominations, including nods for Best Picture, Best Actor for Ford, and Best Score for the film’s composer, Maurice Jarre. Read more…

LAWRENCE OF ARABIA – Maurice Jarre

May 29, 2014 2 comments

lawrenceofarabiacompilationMOVIE MUSIC UK CLASSICS

Original Review by Craig Lysy

David Lean and Sam Spiegel purchased the film rights to T. E. Lawrence’s book “The Seven Pillars of Wisdom” and hired Robert Bolt to write the screenplay on the enigmatic war hero. A stellar cast was hired that included Peter O’Toole (T.E. Lawrence), Alec Guiness (Prince Feisal), Anthony Quinn (Auda Abu Tayi), Jack Hawkins (General Allenby) and Omar Sharif as Sherif Ali. The film centers on Thomas Edward Lawrence, a complex and insolent British Lieutenant assigned to Cairo during World War I. He is ordered to assess the possibility of recruiting Prince Feisal of Arabia as an ally in their struggle against the Ottoman Turks. On his own initiative he instead chooses to rally the recently defeated Arab army for an audacious trans desert assault against the port city of Aqaba. He succeeds and returns to Cairo in triumph where he is promoted and ordered to return and lead the Arab revolt. His guerrilla army harasses the Turks with surprise desert raids and train line assaults that disrupt their command and control. Along the way the war violence and his complicity in a massacre serves to plague his conscience and forever scar him. Eventually, he leads his army northward captures Damascus and helps end the control of the Ottoman Empire. With his mission complete, he is sent back to England only to die young at the age of 46 in a motorcycle accident. The film was a stunning success winning seven Academy Awards including Best Score for Maurice Jarre. Read more…

A PASSAGE TO INDIA – Maurice Jarre

February 24, 2014 3 comments

passagetoindiaMOVIE MUSIC UK CLASSICS

Original Review by Craig Lysy

A Passage to India is a novel by English author E. M. Forster, which unfolds against the backdrop of the British Raj and the Indian independence movement in the 1920s. David Lean became enamored after watching the stage presentation of the story and immediately sought and obtained the movie rights. He adapted the screenplay himself and secured a stellar cast, which included; Judy Davis (Adela), Alec Guiness (Godbole), James Fox (Fielding), Peggy Ashcroft (Mrs. Moore) and Victor Bannerjee (Dr. Aziz). The story revolves a fateful trip to the Marabar Caves where a recently engaged Adela finds herself captivated and aroused by the beauty and sensuality of Indian culture. One day on a day trek and while alone with Dr. Aziz in one of the caves, she experiences conflicting emotions towards Dr. Aziz, panics and flees. It is assumed that Dr. Aziz had attempted to assault her and he is brought up to trial for charges of rape. The trial serves as both a commentary and a volatile catalyst that unleashes the pent up racial tensions long simmering between the indigenous Indians and the British colonialists who rule India. When Adela finally relents and withdraws her charges, Aziz is set free, but friendships are ruptured and Aziz seems irreparably harmed. Years later Aziz and his dear friend James reconcile, which brings the sad tale to a pleasing closure. The film was both a critical and commercial success, earning eleven Academy Award nominations, which included a Best Score Oscar for Maurice Jarre. Read more…

A WALK IN THE CLOUDS – Maurice Jarre

October 26, 2012 3 comments

MOVIE MUSIC UK CLASSICS

Original Review by Craig Lysy

The screenplay for A Walk in the Clouds was adapted and updated from the original 1942 Italian film Quattro Passi Fra Le Nuvole. In this incarnation the setting is California following the end of WWII. Paul Sutton (Keanu Reeves), a veteran adapting to civilian life, boards a bus and by chance meets Victoria Aragon (Aitana Sanchez-Gijon). She is headed home from college to help her family with the autumnal grape harvest of their estate called Las Nubes, or “the clouds.” Victoria is unmarried and with child and fears for her fate when she breaks the news to her traditionalist and old world Mexican father Alberto (Giancario Giannini). A sympathetic Paul proposes to masquerade as her husband in order to assist her in her time of need. As fate would have it, Paul and Victoria fall in love, weathering countless obstacles, including Alberto’s fierce opposition in the process. A crisis that threatens Las Nubes overcomes all opposition and serves to bring the lovers and family together for the quintessential happy ending. While not a critical success, the movie resonated with the public and also earned Maurice Jarre a Golden Globe win for best Film Score. Read more…

ISLAND AT THE TOP OF THE WORLD – Maurice Jarre

July 13, 2012 Leave a comment

MOVIE MUSIC UK CLASSICS

Original Review by Craig Lysy

The screenplay for Island at the Top of the World was based on the novel “The Lost Ones”, which was written by Ian Cameron and set in the location of Prince Patrick Island. The film is a classic adventure and discovery tale set in London circa 1907. British nobleman Sir Anthony Ross organizes a rescue party to the Arctic in a desperate search to recover his lost son Donald, who had embarked on an expedition in search of the fabled isle – the “Graveyard of Whales”. Joined by famous archaeologist Professor Ivarsson and Captain Brieux, an aeronaut who pilots the expedition, the team sets off in the Hyperion, an incredible mechanized French dirigible. Fate would have it that they discover an uncharted island named Astragard, or “Garden Of The Gods”, which is home to a lost colony of Vikings separated from humanity for centuries. The team ultimately must contend with a romance between Donald and the Viking Freyja, xenophobic Vikings who are unwilling to let their existence be revealed to the outside world, a fanatical High Priest Godi intent on executing these “invaders”, and lastly, killer whales that defend their sacred Graveyard. The film regretfully was neither a critical or commercial success. It suffered from inferior production quality, rare for a Disney film, and just did not resonate with the public. Read more…

SUNSHINE – Maurice Jarre

December 17, 1999 1 comment

sunshineOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

It seems to have taken forever, but Maurice Jarre is finally back in the scoring saddle again. After enduring the least-productive decade of his entire career, and after taking the longest sabbatical of all the top film composers, Jarre’s return to form has been cemented with his score for Sunshine, an epic drama tracing the social and political history of a Hungarian family before, during and after World War II. Director Istvan Szabó’s film traces the lineage of the Sonnenschein family, Hungarian Jews whose lives alter forever with the onset of the Anschluss and the Nazi take-over of what was then Austro-Hungary. The three male members of the family are all played by Ralph Fiennes (with varying degrees of facial hair, both in quantity and success): firstly Ignatz, a lawyer and pharmacist whose “miracle tonic” makes the family a fortune; then Ignatz’s son Adam, a lawyer and Olympic fencing champion who falls victim to the Holocaust; and finally Adam’s son Ivan, whose influential role in post-War politics allows him to bury the ghosts of his past. With a supporting cast that includes William Hurt, Jennifer Ehle, Rachel Weisz and Deborah Kara Unger, Sunshine is every bit an “epic period drama”, running for almost three hours in length and featuring stunning production values. Contributing immeasurably to the latter is Jarre’s captivating orchestral score, easily his best work in years. Read more…