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Posts Tagged ‘Throwback Thirty’

RUSSKIES – James Newton Howard

November 16, 2017 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

One of my favorite things about the Throwback Thirty series is the opportunity it gives me to take a look back at the very beginnings of certain composers’ careers, and examine how they started and where they came from. In 1987 James Newton Howard was still very new to the film scoring world. After studying at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, and at the University of Southern California, he started out as a session musician for various pop artists, which eventually led to him touring with Elton John as a keyboardist during the late 1970s and early 1980s. He arranged the strings for several of John’s most popular songs of the period, and subsequent collaborations with pop artists such as Cher, Bob Seger, Randy Newman, and Olivia Newton-John, led to him becoming one of the most sought-after arrangers in the music business. The film world started calling Howard’s name in 1985 when he was asked to score director Ken Finkleman’s comedy Head Office; he enjoyed some minor box office success in 1986 with the Goldie Hawn vehicle Wildcats, and the Burt Lancaster/Kirk Douglas comedy Tough Guys, but it was not until the end of 1987 that he would score a film that also had an accompanying score album released at the same time. Read more…

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CRY FREEDOM – George Fenton and Jonas Gwangwa

November 9, 2017 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

It’s difficult to look back at South Africa in the 1970s and 80s and remember that, for decades following the end of World War II, the country operated under a legal political system called apartheid, whereby white South Africans held all the power and black South Africans were second class citizens, subjugated by a minority in their own country. This systematic racism was decried all over the world until 1991, when the policy was formally abolished. Director Richard Attenborough’s film Cry Freedom is a look at one of the most notorious events of the apartheid era: the death of activist Steve Biko at the hands of the local police in Pretoria, and the complicity of the South African government, who tried to cover it up. The film starred Kevin Kline and Denzel Washington, and was a major critical success in the winter of 1987, eventually receiving three Academy Award nominations: one for actor Washington, and two for the music by George Fenton and Jonas Gwangwa. Read more…

HOPE AND GLORY – Peter Martin

November 2, 2017 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Hope and Glory is a semi-autobiographical film written and directed by John Boorman, which takes a look at the experiences of a young boy and his family living through the Blitz, the nightly bombing of London by the Nazi German Luftwaffe air force at the height of World War II. Despite the very serious subject matter, Hope and Glory is a quite wonderful film due to its perspective; much like Steven Spielberg’s Empire of the Sun, it is told from the point of view of a young boy who sees the world with an idealized innocence, and for whom the terrors of air raids are an adventurous game. It’s a clever and effective mix of a coming-of-age drama, a children’s action film, a social and familial comedy, and a nostalgic celebration of the resilience of wartime London, and was a huge critical success, being nominated for five Oscars, including Best Picture. The film starred David Hayman, Sarah Miles, Sammi Davis, Ian Bannen, and young Sebastian Rice-Edwards as the lead character Bill, and has an original score by British composer Peter Martin. Read more…

LIONHEART – Jerry Goldsmith

October 26, 2017 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Lionheart is a perfect example of how a film studio can utterly ruin a film’s commercial success with poor distribution. A rousing historical action-adventure, the film is loosely based on the story of the Children’s Crusade of the year 1212, in which children from all over Europe adopted the cause of King Richard the Lionheart to protect Christianity from Muslim invaders. This story concentrates specifically on a young knight named Robert (Eric Stoltz), who finds himself becoming the protector of a group of children who are being threatened by the evil ‘Black Prince’ (Gabriel Byrne), a former crusader who became disillusioned with his cause and is now selling children into slavery. The film was an epic and lavish production – it was directed by the great Franklin Schaffner, was written by Menno Meyjes, and executive produced by Francis Ford Coppola – but it was hamstrung by its own production company, Orion Pictures, who delayed and delayed the film and eventually only released it in cinemas in Canada in the late summer of 1987 (it didn’t play in the United States at all). As a result, the film is virtually unknown these days, and is likely best remembered for Jerry Goldsmith’s rousing, epic score. Read more…

THE PRINCESS BRIDE – Mark Knopfler

October 12, 2017 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Is there a more beloved, more quotable 1980s movie than The Princess Bride? If we’re talking about pop culture consciousness, then director Rob Reiner’s 1987 romantic-comedy-fantasy-adventure may be the cream of the crop. Based on the novel by William Goldman, the film is basically a story about a grandfather reading to his sick grandson, and the way in which great literature can inspire us, enthrall us, and move us in equal measure. In the film’s framing story, the grandfather (Peter Falk) reads the story of The Princess Bride to his computer game-obsessed grandson (Fred Savage), and the tale unfolds before us: it’s a classic adventure about a handsome and heroic stable boy named Wesley (Cary Elwes), who falls in love with the beautiful Buttercup (Robin Wright); years later, with Buttercup betrothed to be married to the odious Prince Humperdinck (Chris Sarandon), Westley must team up with a gang of adventurers to save her. 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…

HELLRAISER – Christopher Young

September 14, 2017 2 comments

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

In the early autumn of 1987 the movie world was introduced to its newest horror franchise: Hellraiser, based on the acclaimed novella ‘The Hellbound Heart’ by British author Clive Barker. It was directed by Barker himself, making his filmmaking debut, and contains sinister themes involving sexual experimentation and sadomasochism, dressed up with a darkly romantic sheen of gothic horror. The plot involves an ancient puzzle box which falls into the hands of the amoral Frank Cotton (Sean Chapman) and which, once solved, releases a group of demonic figures known as Cenobites, who then abduct and subject their unwitting victims to endless torture. Years after Frank’s disappearance his brother Larry (Andrew Robinson), Larry’s daughter Kirsty (Ashley Laurence), and Larry’s new wife Julia (Clare Higgins) move into Frank’s old house; Larry is unaware that Julia had a passionate affair with Frank before he disappeared. A common household accident results in the skinless corpse of Frank somehow being resurrected in the attic; in order to finalize his reincarnation, Frank needs a fresh supply of human blood, which the still-obsessed Julia agrees to provide. However, the Cenobites have found out about Frank’s escape from ‘hell,’ and their terrifying leader, Pinhead (Doug Bradley), resolves to bring him back – at which point Kirsty finds herself caught in the middle of the nightmare. Read more…