Saturday, November 12, 2005

I like bolding things....

A while back, Scott Spiegelberg took a stab at launching a film-and-music related meme-thing, since he's teaching a course on film music (and I'd love to see some blog entries from him on that subject!). Then, figuring that his original list was too long, he shrank it down, and still I managed to procrastinate about it. Well, no more. Here's a list of over two hundred films, and what I've done here is bolded the titles of the films whose scores I have heard. (Note that I do not believe that it is necessary to see a film to appreciate its score.) No, those are not Scott's original "rules", but I figure that it's a film music meme, not a film theme, per se.

(Note to self, and, er, others: Scott also links this blog, which appears to be by a fellow who has a more-than-passing interest in film music. Consider that blog bookmarked for future consideration.)

Not all of the films contain "traditional" scores as such, and I'd be interested to see what relevance some of these titles have in a discourse on film music, unless we're taking the topic to very broadly discuss "the use of music in film", whether it's diagetic or non-diagetic. Those are fancy terms meaning roughly this: "diagetic" music is music that the characters in a film are aware of, like, say, the "Cantina Band" tunes in Star Wars. Regular scoring, however, is non-diagetic -- it's doubtful that Luke Skywalker actually hears his own theme in the background as he's homing in on that thermal exhaust port. This is a tripping point for a lot of people regarding filmed musicals: music that starts off as non-diagetic, such as the underscore in Singin' In the Rain as Don Lockwood says goodnight to Kathy, suddenly becomes diagetic when the actors start singing. Some people have a really hard time getting past this.

Anyhow, here's the list. It's fairly long, obviously, so I'm shrinking the font size.

L'Assassinat du Duc de Guise
Queen Elizabeth (1912)
The Birth of a Nation [I haven't seen all of this yet]
The Fall of a Nation
Broken Blossoms
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
Battleship Potemkin
Napoléon (1927) (I'm not sure what I heard for this film -- if it's a score that is traditionally performed for this silent film, or what. As a general rule, I know stunningly little about silent films. I would have learned more had I attended college a few years later: the orchestra director there is a big silent film buff, and after I graduated she actually led the college orchestra in accompanying silent films for a few years. I would have loved to participate in that.)

The New Babylon
Don Juan (1926)
The Jazz Singer (1927)
City Lights
Lights of New York
Steamboat Willie (You watch this now, and it's utterly astounding that this was the spring from which All Things Disney then flowed.)

In Old Arizona
The Broadway Melody
The Hollywood Revue of 1929
The Blue Angel
King Kong (1933)
42nd Street
Mutiny on the Bounty (1935) (I'm claiming this one, but I'm honestly not sure about it. I'm sure I've heard it, but I can't remember where.)

The Informer
The Bride of Frankenstein
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
The Adventures of Robin Hood (Ahhh, Korngold!)

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
The Wizard of Oz
Gone With the Wind
(I watched the movie a couple of years back, and I swear that the only thing keeping it from falling totally out of fashion is Max Steiner's score.)

Wuthering Heights
Citizen Kane

Things to Come
Alexander Nevsky
Of Mice and Men
Our Town
The Devil and Daniel Webster

Hangmen Also Die
La Noche de los mayas
Casablanca (To this day it amazes me how good this film's score is, spun as it is around a popular song that Max Steiner absolutely hated and almost managed to get cut from the movie.)

Double Indemnity

The Lost Weekend
A Double Life
The Red Shoes
The Heiress
The Best Years of Our Lives
An American in Paris
A Streetcar Named Desire
Singin' in the Rain
High Noon

The Man with the Golden Arm
Blackboard Jungle
Sunset Blvd.
La Ronde
A Place in the Sun
The Day the Earth Stood Still
Seven Samurai
East of Eden

Rebel Without a Cause
Forbidden Planet
On the Waterfront
Around the World in 80 Days
The Bridge on the River Kwai

The Seventh Seal
Big Country
North by Northwest

Anatomy of a Murder
Some Like It Hot
Touch of Evil
Ben Hur
Quo Vadis
The Robe
The Ten Commandments (I watched a fascinating interview with Elmer Bernstein on TV once, in which he described how, in scoring the scene when the Exodus begins, he noted the scene's heavy and ponderous pacing and wrote underscore that was equally heavy and ponderous. Cecil B. DeMille told him to redo it, saying that he'd directed the scene too slowly and it was Bernstein's job to speed it up with music!)

The 400 Blows
Hiroshima mon amour
Last Year at Marienbad
Spartacus (This is the most infamous title on the list of great filmscores that have not seen a really good CD release.)

The Magnificent Seven
West Side Story
Breakfast at Tiffany's
El Cid

Days of Wine and Roses
Dr. No
Lawrence of Arabia
Doctor Zhivago

Wait Until Dark
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
The Hustler
To Kill a Mockingbird
The Manchurian Candidate

Tom Jones
The Pawnbroker
The Umbrellas of Cherbourg
Bonnie and Clyde
The Graduate
Planet of the Apes
2001: A Space Odyssey (Here's an interesting case: Many film music fans insist that the film would work better had Stanley Kubrick not discarded the score that Alex North wrote in favor of his classical music temp track, but I've never agreed with that view. The classical music is absolutely iconic.)

Midnight Cowboy
Easy Rider
The French Connection

Shaft (1971) [But I have the soundtrack]
Clockwork Orange
Dirty Harry (Huh -- did this movie even have music? Seriously, I don't remember hearing one single note in this movie.)

The Godfather
The Godfather: Part II
The Sting
American Graffiti
(Again: not a note of underscore. The film's music consists entirely of 50s and early 60s rock-n-roll tunes. George Lucas even pitched the film to Universal execs as a non-traditional musical.)

Mean Streets
The Exorcist
(God, Jerry Goldsmith was a freaking genius.)

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
Jaws (Shut up with the "Williams ripped off Dvorak!" crap. I'm serious.)
Taxi Driver
Star Wars
(More by me on this one here.)

Close Encounters of the Third Kind (The last half hour of this score is absolutely miraculous -- how Williams takes motifs which, to that point in the movie, had been dark and mysterious and recasts them in brilliant light always moves me to no end.)

Superman: The Movie (The best superhero score ever.)

Star Trek: The Motion Picture (The first Goldsmith score I ever heard. Wonderful, wonderful work.)

The Empire Strikes Back (More by me on this one here.)

Raiders of the Lost Ark
Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan
(James Horner's big break, from before Rigor Artis set in.)

Return of the Jedi
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
(I will forever wonder just how John Williams managed to channel the Will of the Gods during the period from 1975 and ending in 1984. I mean, the man wrote one stunner after another in that period. It's astonishing.)

Saturday Night Fever
Midnight Express
Apocalypse Now
A Little Romance
The Shining
Chariots of Fire
(A mix of Wagner, Orff, and Trevor Jones. I like the movie.)

Blade Runner (Great score by Vangelis. Overrated movie, in my opinion.)

Amadeus (The amount of care that went into selecting the music that was heard in this film is amazing.)

Gandhi (Is this film relevant for ethnic-music reasons?)

The Year of Living Dangerously
The Right Stuff
A Passage to India
Once Upon a Time in America
The Natural
Out of Africa
The Mission
The Last Emperor
Empire of the Sun

The Untouchables
Beverly Hills Cop
Back to the Future

'Round Midnight
Top Gun (Huh?!)

Hoosiers (OK, as much as I love Jerry Goldsmith, I can't get behind the near idolatry that regularly surrounds this score.)

Lethal Weapon
Rain Man
(Michael Kamen wrote the score, but the last bit where it turns out that Karl isn't actually dead yet is tracked with music from James Horner's Aliens, which isn't on this list. Hmmmm.)

The Milagro Beanfield War
Who Framed Roger Rabbit
Dances with Wolves
Home Alone
The Last of the Mohicans
Schindler's List
Jurassic Park

Blue (from Three Colors)
Braveheart (More by me on this one here.)

The Little Mermaid
Do the Right Thing
The Silence of the Lambs
Beauty and the Beast

Boyz n the Hood
Forrest Gump
The Lion King
The Shawshank Redemption
Pulp Fiction
Shakespeare in Love

Run Lola Run (Lola Rennt)
American Beauty
Star Wars: Episode I
The Matrix
Star Wars: Episode II
The Red Violin
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

The Hours
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (More by me on all three of these here.)

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Black Hawk Down
Pearl Harbor
Monsters, Inc.
Moulin Rouge
(I think that Danny Elfman really dropped the ball with this one.)

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
(Greatest film scores of the last fifteen years, as far as I am concerned.)

Finding Nemo
The Triplets of Belleville
Kill Bill: Vol. I
Spider-Man 2
Kill Bill: Vol. II
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Whew! That's quite a list.

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